Sam Sutton lost $15,000 in one day last summer.
The four-time Extreme Kayaking World Champion has been running his own business, Rotorua Rafting, since 2011.
But it's facing an unexpected threat.
Frequent, unplanned closures of the Kaituna River are forcing him to cancel trips.
He estimates he would have refunded more than $450,000 worth of bookings in the past 18 months.
Sutton knows the river tributaries have had unusually high rainfall in that time - the Edgecumbe (2017) and Rotorua flood (2018) civil defence emergencies both happened within a 30-minute drive of his office.
However, Sutton wants the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to consider river management alternatives to keep businesses like his afloat.
The regional council's data shows the Kaituna River was closed to rafting for 185 days between April 2017 and March 2018, including the river's annual "flush" or "drawdown" when the Ōkere Gates were opened into Lake Rotoiti for 20 days.
Sutton believes Rotorua's five rafting companies would have lost $1.8m collectively from cancellations caused by the extreme rainfall since March 2017.
He told the Rotorua Daily Post that in his opinion the regional council was not "open to ideas".
In 2012, the regional council was granted resource consent to operate the Ōkere Gates and the Ōhau Weir at Lake Rotoiti after an $1.8 million consultation process.
Director of MDA Experiences, and fellow rafting operator Tak Mutu said he understood why the operating limits were changed that year.
"But that has caused massive issues, I mean that river would have closed more in the last two years than it had altogether before that.
"We just need to find a solution that works for both the businesses and everyone else because right now it's not. Right now, raft companies are really struggling."
Mutu wants scientific proof of the water quality benefits from the 24-hour open gate system introduced in 2012.
He said the river water level management used to work well for rafters when the Ōkere Gates were only ever risen at night, allowing rafting during the day.
River Rats and Raftabout owner Justin Hutton hopes the disrupted Kaituna River access in the last 18 months has been a "weather anomaly" rather than "global warming".
He said the effect was "pretty significant".
"Our turnover last year was down by a third at a time when most other tourist companies were up."
Hutton also believed opening and shutting the gates at night would help rafters, while causing minimal harm to water quality, and he said he was yet to see scientific proof disputing this.
Hutton said in his opinion "BOPRC are juggling lots of competing parameters" but "could be a bit more understanding".
"There is the occasional decision that I think is not necessary and affects us a lot."
Bay of Plenty Regional Council survey team leader Graeme O'Rourke said, for now, the consent was "set in stone".
"Regional council is bound by it. But the rafting industry can seek a consent variation or a new consent."
He said in terms of weather conditions, lake levels and river flows "2012-2015 were ideal years for the rafting companies... Recent years have been much wetter".
O'Rourke said the regional council had talked "at length" with the rafting industry about only opening the gates at night.
"That would take the drawdown period out to around a month. It is almost certain there would be some rain during a one month period, which would raise lake levels only to drop again over several nights only to rise again with the next rain. [Regional] council would almost inevitably be in breach of the consent."
Overall, Te Maru o Kaituna Group chairman Dean Flavell said as part of the June 2018 Kaituna River Document, "there are few sacrifices that river users will have to consider when we are promoting a more holistic approach to caring for our rivers and lakes".
Kaituna River (Okere River):
- 53km long
- Famous for Ōkere Falls, rapids and fish pools in the upper reaches where Ngāti Pikiao settled
- Home to Tutea Falls, the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world, with a 7m drop
- Traditionally a rich source of fish, shellfish, eels and koura for iwi
- 'Kai' means food and 'tuna' means eel