Issue 58

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Issue 58


Features 6

Adventure in Coromandel - The Yakity Yak Club converge on Hahei.

Kayak Fishing 12

Fishing 101 - Fishing for beginners.

White Water Kayaking 48

Thailand 2010 - With Josh Neilson.

Sea Kayaking 14 18 21 34

Kayaking for Child Cancer - A charity drive from Leigh to Great Barrier. Who you gonna call? - Coastguard! A family that plays together, stays together. - The joys of paddling with the family. Once bitten twice shy - A lesson to be learnt

Technical 22

Skills Update - Developments in paddle technique

Multisport 28

Speight’s Coast to Coast - Final preparations.

Product Reviews 24 31 35

Tahe kayaks have arrived. Barracuda SOT - Todd Shewan looks at the new fishing kayak. New Sharkskin Performance

Regulars 5 37

Editorial Buyers Guide

EDITOR: Peter Townend Ph: 0274 529 255 / (09) 476 7066 Email:

necessarily agreed to by the editors or publisher of New Zealand Kayak Magazine.

PUBLISHER: New Zealand Kayak Magazine is published five times per year by Canoe & Kayak Ltd. PRINTING: MHP Print

CONTRIBUTORS: We welcome contributors’ articles and photos.

DISTRIBUTION: Gordon & Gotch SUBSCRIPTIONS: (see page 33) New Zealand – 6 Issues = $40 Overseas – 6 Issues = $60 Copyright: The opinions expressed by contributors and the information stated in advertisements/articles are not

Pricing: At the time of printing the prices in this magazine were accurate. However they may change at any time.

Refer to New Zealand Kayak Magazine ‘Contributors Guidelines’ for more details. ALL CONTRIBUTIONS TO: James Fitness Email: New Zealand Kayak Magazine

Editorial Three things for this summer Look out for your mates. When venturing into the great outdoors it is always safer to be in a group. It is also prudent to have someone who knows what to do and whom to call if you are not home on time. To be safe make sure everyone has the skills to complete the paddle you have planned and that you have the correct equipment. This must include at least one of the following in a dry case attached to your PFD, Cell phone, VHF radio, EPIRB. Attach these to your PFD so if you lose your kayak in a ‘stuff up’, you can still get the help you want or urgently need. Make a plan and frequently check that it is still ok. For instance a great trip on a nice calm day needs to be altered when the weather looks likely to deteriorate. Look out for other vessels, Remember the rule of the sea, it is eminently practical. ‘Might is Right’. In simple terms, if the vessel that is likely to hit you is bigger, it makes good sense to get out of the way. It makes even better sense always to be well clear of bigger vessels. Remember the old ‘promo’ for bikes “be seen be safe” . This is also

prudent for us kayakers when other vessels are nearby. Make sure you have a flag (with light at night), bright clothing, which includes a bright hat, PFD, paddle jacket and reflective tape on your paddles. These can be seen by others to make your day and theirs, safer. Look out for some new kayaks and gear. This summer there are new composite sea kayaks from Tahe Marine, a fishing boat from Barracuda and accessories galore! You’ll enjoy checking them out. Have a great summer and a happy Xmas and remember to look out for your fellow kiwis as you would like them to look out for you. Then everyone will have a better, safer and fun time. Cheers Peter Townend

Front cover photo: James and Ian try out the new Tahe boats. Photo by Peter Townend Content Page Photo: NZOIA Sea Kayak 2 assessment Great Barrier Island Photo by Andy Thompson

AN ADVENTURE IN COROMANDEL By Helen Maddox In response to an earlier invitation to join a Wellington Yakity Yak club trip, the Hamilton club invited the Wellington team to join a trip to the Coromandel. The word soon spread and many Yakity Yak clubs in the North Island got wind of a great adventure. The promise of sun, white sandy beaches and no wind was too much to ignore. Bright and early on Thursday morning 18 Wellie clubbers packed up the vans and soon were on the road, reaching Hamilton just on dusk after Navman diversions. A further seven hardy Wellie souls joined the convoy during the evening which brought the total to 25.

Hours were spent exploring, especially around the islands off the coast of Hahei. (Helen Maddox in foreground)

Hamilton Tony had said that the next leg of the trip to Hahei would take 2.5 hours, but little did he know our secret ability to find the longest way to anywhere. We admired lovely countryside, patted or posed with the Paeroa bottle, picked up supplies, and arrived at the Hahei Holiday Camp. It was only midday. We had hours of daylight left. Over the next few hours Club members from Auckland, North Shore, Manukau and Taupo joined the combined Hamilton & Wellington members. On Saturday there were about 40 of us. Amongst the wide range of craft was an incredibly lovely, varnished wood, three man canoe and a very nifty foldaway kayak. Tents of various sizes, colours and forms soon dotted the camp ground while the clever few luxuriated in their cabins and caravans. There was time for a quick bite of lunch before Tony & Neil counted heads three or four times, apparently to establish an average, and the mob was off, paddling to Cathedral cove (Te Whanganui-A-Hahei) past lovely limestone cliffs and rock formations. A fleet of red, orange and yellow plastic boats, and the odd fancy fibreglass special, beached in front of surprised, sunning tourists! Some of us, keen to explore Narnia, attempted to pass through the tunnel to Mare’s Leg Cove before the return trip to Hahei Beach. There we had the fun of combining kayaks and wheels with soft sand and a steep slope to the tents. The ever increasing gang gathered on the beach front to tackle the next adventure to Hot Water Beach. Neil and Tony wisely divided the crowd into four pods, co-opting the services of Jim, Simon, Mark and Shawn to assume the responsibility of 8 to 10 souls each, and the pods were christened. Shawn led Team Jaffa: the name due to the Auckland contingent or maybe the love of small orange balls of chocolate. The on-line funky music lovers formed Team iPod, later renamed by vote to reflect the number of comfort stops, headed by Jim. Lovers of vegetables and organic gardening comprised Team Runner Bean headed by Mark. Simon bravely managed the terrorists of the trip labelled the ‘Osama been kayaking’ pod. On a leisurely three and a half hour trip we travelled past reefs of hard rock and textured cliff faces showing layers of sediment. Intricately

shaped caves provided amazing opportunities for exploration. Jellyfish, blue penguins and black string rays of varying sizes appeared in the clear water. John met a large sting ray gliding close to his kayak. A lucky few also spotted a small pod of dolphins close by. At Hot Water Beach some paddlers practised their wet exits to cool down before lunch. We enjoyed a soak in the pools and some very hardy Wellie lads braved the hottest pool to win the prize of an ice cream each. It was worth every penny to see the nearby tourists attempt to emulate, with little success, their feat. Huge underground reservoirs of superheated water heat the beach. The water rises to the surface, fortunately cooling on the way. Temperatures of 64 degrees Centigrade have been measured at the two fissures. Ouch! Our return paddle to Hahei took only an hour and a half which illustrates how long we had spent exploring caves and communing with nature on the way there. For the evening’s laughter filled entertainment Neil, aka the Quiz Master, tortured us with the most obscure questions known to Google. There was a huge range of scores. The ‘lucky’ winners walked away with a grand chocolate prize. On Sunday we journeyed through the nine square kilometres of Te Whanganui- A-Hahei (Cathedral Cove)

John Crimp shoots the gap off the coast of Hahei.

It was a mottly crew from all parts of the North Island.

Marine Reserve, to Cooks Bay. Keen eyes spotted crayfish in underwater grottos, leaping schools of small silvery fish, dive bombing gannets and shags swimming expertly plus one or two bikinis. On a low tide we navigated the Purangi River at Cooks Beach and had an opportunity to witness how not to navigate a river in a power boat. Apparently brown water and grit exiting a motor is bad. It was good timing. Tony had just finished warning the pods that motor boats had difficulties in low tides with boat control. I wonder if the ten dollars Tony slipped the boatie was worth the damage, and I’m not sure why the chap on the far side of the river was yelling and waving his arms. Perhaps he was the owner of the boat. Lunch at Cooks Beach included time for a spot in sun or shade, depending on personal preference, and an opportunity to excel at orienteering to the local dairy for an ice block. The local radio station was running a sun smart promotion.

We were delighted to score a free bottle of sun screen – definitely needed with a daily average temperature of 24 degrees. Six caffeine devoted lads, who journeyed to sample a fresh brew, then formed Pod Whitianga. Powered by the humble bean, these lads powered back to Hahei in 90 minutes while the rest of us enjoyed a slower, leisurely potter.

Tony, not wanting to be outdone by Neil’s effort with the Quiz the night before, officiated at the dessert making competition. Entries included a potent damson plum jelly, a divine apple pie, heavenly crepes and a number of novel but well talked up entries. Well deserving truffles provided by Rachel won. An honourable mention for artistic merit and clever use of available resources went to the ‘Ode to a beverage with a hint of citrus’ supplied by Alan. In a gentlemanly start at nine-ish the pods left the beach bound for the local islands. We explored rock gardens, examined rock structures and visited even more caves. Simon and Helen discovered the interesting combination of tides in narrow caves and how to turn a kayak in the dark. They stimulated a few giggles amongst the watchers. We investigated schools of large fish jumping on the surface and wondered what was chasing them, as did some divers who hurried onto their boat! Hmmm, maybe not a dolphin? A rather sad mob returned to the Hahei Holiday camp to dismantle tents, pack vehicles and say fond farewells to friends old and new. The Wellington team again enjoyed a number of diverse routes from Hahei to Rotorua, a feast at the local Pork and Whistle Pub or yummy takeaways and then a well needed soak in the

Hahei on a fine and calm Labour weekend.

KASK FORUM - ANAKIWA April 1st, 2nd & 3rd 2011 Held at Outward Bound, Queen Charlotte Sound near Picton. This is a great opportunity for Sea Kayakers of all levels to participate with others at this great location, with guest speakers, training and paddling opportunities.

For more information see and go to the events page or contact Evan at

ISSUE FIFTY Eight • Summer 2010/11


camp’s hot pools. Team Simon/ Osamas had taken time out on their way to show Liz the man-made highlights of the Martha open pit gold mine on the outskirts of Waihi. There was a timely, well organised exit from Rotorua and the Wellie explorers returned to the lovely windy city, hot showers and comfy beds. Now for the compulsory statement, which I do hope is correct – just joking! Our thanks to Neil and Tony for arranging such an awesome trip, including booking such great weather, uncommonly flat water and stunning paddling conditions. I hope the hair grows back. I would love to share a number of lessons from this trip - Navman toys are cool but not as useful as those big green road signs which point in the right direction. - Men never calculate enough time for comfort and shopping stops. - If there is a longer alternative route then we can find it if we try hard enough. - The sun is a yellow thing that floats in the sky. - Tim Tams do not float on melted ice cream. - It pays to empty your wet gear from the kayak straight away as it gets interesting after a couple of days in the sun. - Cabins with fridges are worth their weight in gold – Thanks Alan. - The Yakity Yak Kayak club is made up of a wonderful variety of awesome people.

A final note to everyone, please check out the trips each of the clubs post on their section of the web site and feel free to join up and join in. It is lovely to meet new people and share experiences. I hope to see you at either the Xmas trip to the Marlborough Sounds (which includes a competition for the best dressed kayak or Christmas costume), and/or the upcoming Abel Tasman trip in January.

Jude Sherning exploring the coast line.

Piyush Mistra shoots the gap.

Hahei to Hot Water Beach

Does it get any better than this? Full Moon from Hereheretaura Pa.

ISSUE FIFTY Eight • Summer 2010/11


Kayak Fishing 101 Part 1: Catching the fish

By Todd Shewan

K a y a k f i s h i n g i s o n e o f N e w Z e a l a n d ’s f a s t e s t growing recreational activities because it is relatively cheap, extremely successful and a lot of fun.

Going about it First find a spot. Look for irregularity in the sea floor. Reefs, rocks, holes and weed attract and hold fish, especially in water deeper than five metres. Secondly a good current flow is helpful. Information can be gained from paper or digital marine charts.

Use the good old Bait and Burley technique.

Basic Soft Bait Techniques Remember that a soft bait imitates an injured fish, when either actively, passively or drift fishing. Active rod fishing, casting the bait forwards, retrieving it in a vertical zig zag motion, creates lots of movement. The jiggling ‘fish’, rising and dropping, makes many species strike aggressively. This takes practice, but is lots of fun, more effective than passive fishing and is extremely convenient in a kayak - no more smelly bait. When fishing passively you drag the bait astern from your rod in the rod holder. Caused by kayak movements and the rod flexing, the bait flutters and kicks up sand. It is surprising how many fish you will catch with this method.

Anchor up-current of a significant marine feature and start a burley trail. It pays to be careful! Attach the burley bag to your ground anchor using cotton or twine, or to a remote anchor and buoy - not directly to the kayak! (Sharks love burley) It is easier to pre-cut your bait at home. My favourite is pilchards, cut in half, or whole, which all our target fish love. Because this bait is soft you’d be wise to use the trace to fix it on the hook. Put the hook through the eye socket or base of the tail, thread the line through the body a few times, and then leave the hook’s barb exposed. This will work well with other big baits such as squid, or bonito fillets. Use a large hook, 5/0 and up, to reduce the number of small and undersize fish you’ll hook. You’ll need a small bean sinker and a swivel. Cast the lot down current and hang on! Fish will either nibble at the bait, or take it and run. Striking on a big run is most effective. A nice winter John Dory caught whilst passive soft baiting. Good feed of snapper from 30 to 55 cm, caught on Auckland harbour.

Dealing with your catch. Once your fish is on your lap a Pelagic fish (kahawai, trevally, kingfish etc) requires bleeding to preserve eating quality. Slice the artery at the bottom of the gills to pump the blood out of the flesh and leave nice white fillets. Then put your catch in an insulated bag out of the sun. At home you can fillet, smoke or cook them whole. Filleting is trickiest, but with practice you will become a pro! To smoke, split the fish in half, rub with salt and sugar, and place in a smoker. Cooked whole just gut the fish, remove the scales, and wrap in tinfoil with some butter, herbs and garlic. About 20 minutes in a 150 degree oven should do it. I have had great success with these methods. You’ll become a better fisherman through reading, going fishing, being patient and enjoying the scenery. It is always best to go fishing with others. Your local Canoe & Kayak Centre will be helpful with club trips and information evenings all year round.


ISSUE FIFTY Eight • Summer 2010/11

Kayak Winners at the Hamilton Boat Show

It all started off when dad got the tickets to the boat show from someone at his work. My whole family went on the Sunday. We entered heaps of competitions that’s how I won the kayak. The next day when I got home from school dad said: “There is a message for you on the phone.” So I listened to it. It said that the Jepson family had won the Squirt Kayak, but it didn’t say whose name got drawn out. I was jumping up and down. The next day dad picked it up from Canoe & Kayak and they said my name got pulled out. It’s a Blue Squirt that is 2.7 metres long. That next weekend my family went to the beach. My dad, brother and I tested out the new kayak. It was really wavey out on the water, we paddled into some little caves which when you look up, it has no roof, just heaps of trees. There was one patch that the sun shone through and looked like Fiji water because it was really clear, we even saw some big crabs. It was much calmer in the caves than out in the open. We had fun exploring. I love the kayak because it is the perfect size for me and it is fun. Thank you to the kayak shop for giving me the chance to win this kayak. By Alice Jepson (8 years old)

The Jepson family making the most of their new kayak at Cooks Beach

Adrian Jepson collects Alices’ kayak from Tony Barrett at Canoe & Kayak Waikato.

New Skua From Q-Kayaks!

For all the kayak specs. and stockists, visit or phone 06 326 8667

1st Plastic Sea Kayak -Trans Taupo Race 2010.

ISSUE FIFTY Eight • Summer 2010/11


Kayak for Child Cancer “Congratulations and Jubilations”

By Ruth E. Henderson

Chris lives a dream

They did it! On Saturday 13th November fourteen paddlers on surf skis and in sea kayaks paddled nonstop, across open water, 62km from Leigh to Tryphena, Great Barrier Island as a fund raiser for Child Cancer. Since I was only able to be there in spirit, I thought I’d ask a few people for a few words or photos to fill the quarter page I’d asked James Fitness to hold for a ‘newsflash’. A few became a flood. I should have known better. When participants were still on a high it would be a bit like trying to stem the flow of a waterfall or foolishly asking a bus load of excited children to talk one at a time! Luckily we were granted more page space! So, this is the equivalent of an embroidery sampler made by four friends – perhaps one of the paddlers will gather together enough material do a full patchwork quilt for the next magazine. Key instigator, organizer and sea kayak paddler Chris Dench deserves first word “It was a relief to have finally made it onto the water after two weeks of delay. It was a very special day as the idea of not being able to complete the paddle to honour the struggle the cancer kids have to endure would have left us all very


flat. We are elated!” Paddler Natasha Romoff was ‘over the moon’. “Oh, you can’t imagine the buzz, the high, the warm feelings of having a blast and all for such a great cause! What a team, what a cause and in the finish… on the third attempt … what WEATHER!

Support crew

The sun rise was stunning, pink with grey clouds scattered on the water horizon. What a destination, the Gulf is alive with amazing birds, dolphins, fish, and whales!” Some paddlers camped at Leigh the night before. One nutter (Greg Dunning) paddled from Takapuna to Leigh, effectively doubling his kms, over the two days prior… to warm up for the event. Some rose at 0300 hours on the Saturday for the drive north. Kayaks were on the water at 0500.

ISSUE FIFTY Eight • Summer 2010/11

Sue Levett starts at dawn “The sun rise was stunning, pink with grey clouds scattered on the water horizon. When the sun came up the light broke on the water into millions of tiny mirrors, spiking the eyes through sun glasses. It didn’t take long till the sun rose higher and the light eased off. Thank goodness for sun glasses. Then it didn’t take long for the layers of clothing to come off. Our pod overall average speed was 3.5 knots. At the half way point, Charlie’s starboard rudder line broke & he had to paddle rudderless. Prior to that our speed was a lot higher. The tide and wind were gentle on us and we were never more than 150 m off the chart plotted course. We stopped and ate every two hours with an informal stop on the hour – someone had to re-jiggle something. The support boats kept in regular contact with us, the radio chatter kept the amusement level high.”

We were no more than 150 metres at any time off the chart plotted course. Natasha Romoff agreed “The people - great friends and strangers alike on the support boats, provided endless amusement as they tried to catch up with each other: We paddlers needed to keep our hands on the paddles and keep going rather than put the support boat skippers out of their misery to tell that we could see them both. Clanger of the day – Norman on ‘My MBA’ said he was coming in soon, was just waiting on a few stragglers in the last pod. Steve Levett forgetting all radio etiquette as he defended his pod’s mana said “What do you mean, Stragglers!!?? There were no stragglers – we all romped home in amazing time and the handicapping of the surf skis was so good that we arrived maybe 10 minutes after them.” Paul Hayward reckoned “There is more competitiveness in those three paddlers than in an entire All Black rugby team” as surf ski pros Katie, Tracy and Dene roared by with Mike Hall in hot pursuit! Dai Williams on the support boat ‘Fat Boy’ said “The surf ski paddlers were a joy to be with. Cheerful and professional on the day and throughout the buildup. I am very pleased that they were part of the adventure.”

Perfect conditions off Little Barrier

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The obligatory eam Photo.

Surf skis catch up (Mike Hall)

Join Us For An Adventure - Family Tours

Twilight Tours

Glow Worm Kayak Tour

Departs from one of your local beautiful beaches. Enjoy the scenic trip with the sun setting as you paddle along the coastline.

Join us for a picturesque paddle on Lake McLaren to view glow worms by night or beautiful waterfalls by day. This trip takes about 1.5-2hours and is suitable for paddlers with no experience. All gear, hot drinks and nibbles are supplied. Price $75 per person.

Phone Canoe & Kayak on 0508 529 2569 for details


Phone Canoe & Kayak BOP for bookings 07 574 7415

ISSUE FIFTY Eight • Summer 2010/11

Paddle to the Pub Kayaking to a local pub is a unique way of spending an evening, bringing your group of friends together by completing a fun activity before dinner and making a memorable experience. Phone Canoe & Kayak on 0508 529 2569 for details

Sugar Loaf Island From Ngamutu Beach harbour we head out on the open sea to Sugar Loaf Island Marine Reserve. View the scenic & rugged Taranaki coastline as we draw closer to the Islands. Enjoy the seal colony and experience the thrill of close up views of these fascinating marine mammals. Allow 3 hours subject to weather. $70.00 per person. Phone 06 769 5506

Letting Sue continue the tale “We had a great welcome! What a support team! Arriving at Tryphena we were thoroughly spoilt to a waiting cold beer and BBQ. Among other things the Child Cancer Society provided stunning salads. The Mulberry Grove School on Great Barrier opened their doors to us with access to kitchen, shower, and toilet facilities. As well as using a class room to sleep in, they also provided mattresses. Small communities do give! We were also given a 10 seater van to use. This allowed several keen kayakers to go and find the nearest big screen to watch NZ league and then early in the morning to watch the rugby.” Natasha and Co “had a very quick tiki tour over to Medlands and Claris, saw some views, and vowed to return soon to take in more.” Obviously the hours of training and conditioning paid off, as Sue commented “It was the easiest 10 hour paddle I have ever done. We arrived surprisingly still full of energy and not tired out. We certainly did not come off the water totally shattered.” “Momentous success has a supreme support team – this is what we had. I believe we [the paddlers] had the most pleasurable and easiest assignment of all.” Thanks are certainly due to the hardworking, attention to detail and safety guys and girls, the support boat skippers and crew, and the folk on the feeding and fundraising frontline. Final word has to go to Chris Dench “The experience of the achievement is put in perspective by its association with a great and meaningful cause.” At the end of the weekend the money raised stood at $16,620 but this total will swell as sponsors and pledges continue to roll in. If you have yet to put in your promised $1 a km or other donation go to

The Rasdex Multisporter PFD has had another successful Speight’s Coast to Coast, taking wins with both Gordon Walker and Emily Miazga. A good number of the other top 10 finishers in all classes also chose it. Why? Because it is the most complete multisport PFD on the market: quick side entry, light weight, plenty of pockets, comes with bladder and routing for 3 tubes via our innovative block system. Why compromise your race? Use what the winners use! RRP $295.95

Paddling Pods were: A) Sue Levett, Steve Levett, Robbie Banks, Graeme White, Charlie Barker B) Chris Dench, Guy Folster, Natasha Romoff, Paul Hayward, Greg Dunning C) Surf skis - Katie Pocock, Tracey Wilson, Dene Simpson, Mike Hall Support boats were: ‘Black Boat’ – skippered by Nick Webb, lent by John Hill of The Insurance Centre ‘Fat Boy’ – skippered by Tony Fox ‘My MBA’ – skippered by Norman Holtzhausen

The new Hydra PFD has been tested to NZS 5823:2005. It is also approved for night time use. Available in high viz yellow (see Auckland harbour bylaws) and red, and in 2 sizes. Features large front pocket and key clip, plus hidden side pockets which allow extra foam to be fitted so it can be used for canoe polo. RRP $152.95

Support team members: Yakity Yak club members Dai & Anneke Williams, Nick Webb, Neil Watson, Jane Brockies, Dianne Scoones, Renee Olivier plus Donna Mitchell and Amber West from Child Cancer Foundation Photos supplied by: Paul Hayward, Robbie Banks and Dai Williams.

ISSUE FIFTY Eight • Summer 2010/11


“Who you gonna call?” By Ruth E. Henderson “If there’s something weird and it don’t’ look good, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!” If you’re bounced off of your boat and now afloat, who you gonna call? Coastguard! American comedy and paranormal experiences aside when something unpleasant does hit the fan and you need rescuing at sea, most likely it will be Coastguard who comes to your aid. If you call Channel 16 on your VHF or dial*500 on your cellphone you’ll get Coastguard. If you dial 111, the emergency communications centre will send the most appropriate and closest ‘first response’ team, and if you’re in the water – that will be Coastguard. Rather like St Johns Ambulance, or the Fire Service, Coastguard are manned by an enormous number of volunteers who are there when we need them regardless of whether you are a member or make a hefty annual donation or not. But, if you are not a member, expect a bill. Hopefully, with good preparation and planning, (and practice) you or members of your party will never need to be rescued, but statistics show that some of us do! On 18 November, Don Scandrett, Business and Marketing Manager of Northern Region Coastguard reported “Since July 1 this year, we have attended to eight kayak related incidents in the Northern Region area (Kawhia to Thames north) alone. That is out of 551 incidents that we have attended in total for that period. In a typical year we would be attending to about 30 - 40 incidents out of a total of about 2,500.” It is comforting to know that guardian angels, ‘people passionate about their work and their desire to help others and to make boating safer for all,’ do exist. As Joe Davis, President of Coastguard Northern Region says “24 hours a day, every day of the year, Coastguard volunteers are ready to drop everything and risk their lives to save those in need.” Their slogan ‘The charity saving lives at sea’ neatly encapsulates Coastguard’s philosophy. However, you need to have the ability to communicate with them. As Coastguard says, “If you can’t contact us, we can’t rescue you”. It is recommended that you have at least two methods of communication with you – preferably in or attached to your life jacket, e.g. a VHF radio and cell phone in dry-bags. As a member, you are entitled to an unlimited number of rescues with the proviso that you’re within the 12nm limit and 30nm of a Coastguard Rescue Vessel base. Membership provides peace of mind, not just to you, but to those who care about you: an excellent reason for joining up! As avid recreational paddler Christine Watson puts it - “We’re experienced kayakers, but you just never know. It’s cheap insurance. I’d not consider, not paying [our membership fee]. I’m grateful for it.” Apart from rescuing or assisting you when you do get into trouble, Coastguard help you stay out of it with their information and safety services. Most kayakers use their free, continuous VHF weather forecasting and Nowcasting, before hitting the water. This service is now also available to members by text. To register go to and look under the Safe Boating heading. After checking the forecast and deciding that the weather gods are in your favour, sensible folk then call Coastguard up on their VHF or dial *500 and make a trip report (TR).


ISSUE FIFTY Eight • Summer 2010/11

That way, if you are reported overdue, or you call them for help, they have on record where you are supposed to be, or where last heard from, making rescue faster and easier. All this for only $95 per year!

“If you’re seeing things running through your head, who you gonna call?” Ghostbusters! If you’re on a trip and take a dip, get lost, at no cost, who you gonna call? Coastguard! Coastguard also runs a range of marine boating education courses, both theory and practical. To make your boating safer (a kayak being a small boat) – consider doing a Day Skipper course. A bit over the top? Not really – the ability to second guess or anticipate what power boats or yachts are up to by recognising their lights and direction of travel, and by correctly reading buoys and beacons could be invaluable. Nadia Lehmann , a Coastguard member and Operational Crew Volunteer (and a kayaker), recommends the course saying “It has given me an excellent foundation to build on with further knowledge and although a few years ago, the class, its tutor and details about the days spent at Mechanics Bay are still vivid in my mind.” And as a Commercial Skipper she’d “like anyone out there to do the course, not just small craft, not just kayakers, but anyone spending time out on the water. Everyone should know the rules of the road at sea.” All it takes is 15 hours and $180 or if you are a new member, you are eligible for a $100 discount. Don’t live in Auckland? No excuse as the venue varies from Whangarei to Helensville to Raglan for the Northern Region Coastguard. Prefer a women’s only course? They have these too. Operations Manager for Coastguard Northern Region, Ray Burge, suggests that by doing a Day Skipper course you will “gain an awareness of what everybody’s responsibilities are and with the basic knowledge of navigation, lights and markers, at the very least if needing help you’ll be able to recognise and describe what you can see.” Already done a day Skipper’s course? The next step up, perhaps for kayak leaders or expedition paddlers, would be to do the 30 hour Boatmaster Course.

If you’re all alone, pick up the phone and call Ghostbusters! If you’re not a member yet, make a safe bet, and call Coastguard! 0508 RESCUE, 09 303 4303 Your call!! “Ghostbusters” lyrics written by Ray Parker, Jr as the theme song for the 1984 American comedy movie. Coastguard’ lyrics’ by Rudolph ZMS4968

MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS • • • • • • • • • • •

24/7 Search and rescue Unlimited number of assists Marine & boating course Trip reporting VHF weather forecasts Nowcasting: real time wind strength & direction Ship to ship VHF channels Members handbook and news Discounts at Caltex, Baileys Insurance, Trade a Boat 10% Discount at Coastguard’s Bosun’s locker 50% Discount off life jacket rental from Coastguard

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ISSUE FIFTY Eight • Summer 2010/11


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Join Us For A Kayaking Adventure - River Tours


River Tours

Mokau River

White Water Paddling

Waitara River Tours

Exploring beautiful estuaries. Enjoy a scenic trip with wildlife and wonderful views.

Enjoy this beautiful scenic river which winds through some of New Zealand’s lushest vegetation. Camping overnight and exploring some of New Zealand’s pioneering history. A true Kiwi experience.

Need some excitement? Take a kayak down a wicked Grade Two river run... this is a whole day of thrills and fantastic scenery down some of New Zealand’s best rivers.

For those who are slightly more adventurous at heart, this is a scenic trip with the excitement of Grade Two rapids. Midway down, we paddle under the historic Betran Road Bridge where we will stop for a snack.

Phone Canoe & Kayak on 0508 529 2569 for details

Phone Canoe & Kayak 06 769 5506

Phone Canoe & Kayak on 0508 529 2569 for details

Allow 2 hours paddle only. Priced at $70. Phone: 06 769 5506

ISSUE FIFTY Eight • Summer 2010/11

A family that plays together stays together... By Diana Austin Luke and Anita

rafted up for a


Three generations in the same boat!

We have all heard the saying “A family that plays together stays together.” Is it true? I don’t know but I hope so. For the here and now though, there are heaps of benefits in getting the whole family out paddling on the water together. It creates a very large memory box of adventures that will keep us going no matter what the future holds. Action photos galore that make great screen savers, decorations for the wall, school brag photos… Transporting boats for more than yourself puts up a really good excuse for the bloke to buy the trailer he has always wanted – for the good of the family of course. No-one notices the lack of housework if we are all on the water We now have gift ideas for those hard to buy for relatives: a guided trip up the Matakana River: a paddle down the Puhoi River and Mum even got a voucher to do her skills course. And then there is nothing like washing four lots of gear to rub off a few rough edges and refine the ‘working together’ ethic. Yes, I know I am dreaming – we will always argue. Hard core, roughing it camping/ kayaking trips are not everyone’s idea of fun, but kayaking is a sport that you can modify to suit your family. Auckland has plenty of sheltered waterways that are great for those who like a flat ride. We have paddles like the Panmure Basin that can involve playground hopping and even a train ride. It’s not necessary to go out rain or shine: My kids will be finding it hard to believe I just said that.


g Anita

the b




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Pick the distance, location and weather to suit the least confident (or most reluctant). Bribe them with some chocolate in their buoyancy aid, take some photos for morning talk at school and if Mum or Dad really need it there are plenty of cafes by the water. Before you know it you will have children Eskimo rolling better than you and asking to go whitewater kayaking down the Mohaka!

Join Us For A Kayaking Adventure - Specialty Tours

Taupo Maori Carvings Half day guided trip to the rock carvings, Lake Taupo... only accessible by boat. A leisurely paddle of about 3 km to the rock carvings. The largest is over 10 m high and from below in a kayak it is imposing.

$85 per person (bookings essential). Phone 0800 KAYAKN for details.

Waikato River Discovery 2 hour guided kayak trip. Experience the magnificent upper reaches of the mighty Waikato River - Soak in the geothermal hot springs - Take in the stunning environment... a perfect trip for all the family...

Adult $45, Children $25 Special group and family rates. Call 0800 KAYAKN for details.

Customized Tours Whether it’s an afternoon amble, a full day’s frolic or a wicked weekend adventure we can take you there. If there’s somewhere you’d like to paddle we can provide you with experienced guides, local knowledge, safe up to date equipment and a lot of fun.

Phone Canoe & Kayak on 0508 529 2569 for details

Join the Yakity Yak Club We’d love to tell you more and get you hooked on the wonderful sport of kayaking and probably the best kayak club in the world! So give your local Canoe & Kayak centre a call or better, come and see us.

Phone Canoe & Kayak on 0508 529 2569 to find out more or send the form on page 33.

ISSUE FIFTY Eight • Summer 2010/11


A skills update By Peter Townend

I had the good fortune to attend a recent Sea Kayaking Level 2 Instructors assessment run by NZOIA. Three days at Great Barrier Island, what a great experience. There is a huge amount of knowledge and skills that are available to the kayaking sector these days. We stayed at the OPC base and the team there are the people to talk to about paddling on the island. They have the infrastructure and team to help set up your Great Barrier Island experience. This is only my second time on the island and I am going back. “Old NZ” says it all for me. Friendly people, stunning scenery, great camping and accommodation and wilderness and yet more wilderness to explore. Here are a couple of the new ideas I picked up from the three days. The first of these is a change in how we do the sweep stroke. The sweep stroke is used to turn the kayak and if used well needs minimal effort. The change recommended is to keep the top hand at shoulder level rather than dropping it down to the side of the kayak. This has the effect of allowing more power through body rotation getting to the paddle blade. Testing this however made little difference to how effectively we could turn the kayak, but made for a stronger body position and protected the muscles and joints more. It also has the added advantage of linking quickly to the stern/ rudder draw which is superior in controlling the kayak on a wave over the old stern rudder. The following are some coaching points for these two strokes.

Sweep strokes - for turning the kayak 1. Box position: this refers to the hand position when holding the paddle and that if you rest the paddle shaft on your head, your arms should be in a rectangular box shape. 2. Paddle blade enters by your toes.

3. Sweep the paddle blade in a half circle away from the kayak’s bow around towards the stern. 4. Trunk rotation: this is where all the power comes from, the body not the arms. 5. Blade totally immersed, just below the water surface 6. Head facing forward. 7. Rail kayak to assist turning when the kayak is moving. (See note) 8. Top hand keeps at shoulder height. Both hands end on the same side of boat 9. Bottom arm keeps bent holding the box shape. Note. A kayak has three turning surfaces that can help you turn. These are the rocker which is the amount of banana along the keel of the kayak. The others are the two sides, known as the rails. Sit your kayak on a flat surface, the rocker will show as gaps between the ground and kayak at either end. It allows the kayak to seesaw with the bow and stern rocking up and down as you push them. Now put your kayak on its side and you will see that the kayak will have a far greater curve with a much more pronounced banana shape to the sides/rails. So, when you are moving in your kayak and you wish to turn, you can use the shape of the kayak to help your sweep stroke. This is achieved through applying a sweep stroke to start turning you in the direction you wish to travel and at the same time leaning/railing your kayak. The shape of your kayak helps the turn. You are probably thinking well that’s great, but which way do I lean/ rail? The slightly mystifying answer is it will work either way. If you want to turn fast then lean on the sweep stroke and this will put the side/rail which has the most pronounced banana shape into the water. This will turn the kayak aggressively; stability is sacrificed so a high level of kayak control and skill is required. Leaning/railing the other way uses the rocker as the turning surface, which is softer and more stable but turns you a lot slower. This technique is known by many different names including, carving or hip steering. It is sometimes referred to as railing or leaning. However those terms are used when crossing eddy lines on moving water and refers to lifting one side of the kayak to allow water in an eddy to flow under the hull. They are also used in surfing when your kayak broaches on a wave and you need to rail or lean your kayak so you slide down the wave towards the beach allowing the water to pass under your kayak. So leaning or railing is the skill of tilting your kayak on its side and carving and hip steering uses railing and sweep strokes combined to turn a kayak. Lastly, it is important to forget mum and dad’s stern warnings about tilting and balancing chairs on two side legs, as this is the absolute correct body position you require when railing your kayak. Your head has to be always on top to balance the rail.

Gavin Palmer shows us the Sweep stroke.


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Stern/ rudder draw stroke - for controlling the kayak on a wave 1. Box position holding the paddle. (as before). 2. Blade placed behind the hip parallel to the kayak, vertical and totally immersed. 3. Forearm forward and across in front of shoulders. Top hand at shoulder height, lower hand controls the blade. 4. Pull blade towards kayak (draw), push away from kayak to steer. 5. Rotate body to supply the power and reduce stress on shoulder joint and muscles. 6. Blade is never dry. 7. Both hands across centre line of boat. 8. Bottom arm keeps bent holding the box shape. 9. To slow the kayak down, twist the paddle in the water. This will increase drag and slow you down. It is fun to develop these skills and it makes the kayaker increasingly more skillful and confident in turning the kayak. In rough conditions and surf the paddler becomes much more in tune with their kayak.

Gavin demonstrates the stern/ rudder draw stroke.

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ISSUE FIFTY Eight • Summer 2010/11


Tahe Kayaks have arrived. This is what Pete Townend said about them... My first look at these kayaks was in Sydney were I borrowed one and had a paddle in the harbour and out to the Sydney Heads on a calm day (for the area). There is always enough swell, chop and wind here to make it entertaining and I really enjoyed the paddle. In fact I thought that the kayak handled so well and was such fun paddling that I wanted one and now I have it. The Tahe Greenland T is my sports car. I am

completely at one with it and it is so easy to roll that my left hander is working (which it has not for a while) and I pulled off a hand roll for the first time ever in a sea kayak. The sleek lines look amazing and everything works well. Hatches are press-on types and they are firm but easy to fit and dry inside. The skeg is cool, so far only at Sydney Heads did I need it, as the boat is so well balanced that it hardly feels the wind. However, when you want a straight line across the wind or when running down wind, just drop the skeg a bit and the track is achieved with little or no drag. Stability is deceptive. You look at the kayak and think ‘whoa this is going

to be hard work’, however when you get into it, it is stable and friendly, never feeling as if you will lose balance. The construction is carbon/ aramide (Kevlar) and she is beautifully built, ridged with no flex and detailed to perfection. Packing gear will be a bit more of a challenge, as I usually take everything I might want rather than everything I need. But when compared to backpacking there is heaps of room. All in all if you like the idea of a sports car for your Sea Kayaking, this baby will be on the rack before you know it, and you will be excited every time you near the water. The Tahe Revel Midi has great balance.

Pete (taking the photo), Ian & James had a great time trying out these new boats... and they call this work!


ISSUE FIFTY Eight • Summer 2010/11

It is stable and quick through the water. The rudder is probably a waste of time for all but the very new beginner. The kayak’s shape gives balanced paddling. A nice sweep stroke and rail (lean) on the sweep stroke and the kayak carves an easy turn. The hull is so smooth, it glides through the water. It is well set up with three hatches, great easy adjusted foot pegs and a comfortable seat. This is an ideal starter kayak or upgrade

for any paddler and will allow you to continue to develop great skills and enjoy paddling it forever. The Tahe Revel is somewhat longer than the Midi. It has a bit less primary stability, but tons of secondary, which means it becomes more stable as the boat leans over. It is absolutely a paddler’s kayak, quick through the water, turns like a dream and is finished like all the other Tahe Kayaks, perfectly!

These are the ultimate Sea Kayaks with the paddle-ability that makes you pine for the weekend and dread Sunday evening because the kayak will be on the roof rack or in the garage again for the week. Come in and have a look and have a paddle, but bring your eftpos card as you won’t want to leave without one.

See Ian’s & James’ reviews at

European manufactured composite Carbon Aramide sea kayaks Tahe Marine, one of Europe’s largest kayak manufacturers. Traditionally selling mostly in Scandinavia. Vacuum Infused Carbon Aramide Construction is one of the most advanced construction methods used in the kayak industry. It ensures the best strength/weight ratio possible while increasing durability and stiffness which transfers more of your paddling energy into forward motion.

TOP Greenland T - This kayak is a direct descendant of the traditional canoe inspired kayaks of Greenland. Speed, lightness and one very relaxed paddler. L:545 cm - W:53 cm Carbon/aramide 22-24 kg - Retractable skeg

MIDDLE Reval is a “pureblooded” sea kayak with stability and predictable behaviour. Low rear deck reduces weathercocking and provides easier rolling. L: 555cm W: 54cm Carbon/aramide: 21-23 kg. Retractable skeg + rudder BOTTOM - Reval Midi provides speed, stability, predictablity and good storage. L: 525cm - W: 54cm - Carbon/aramide: 21-23 kg. Retractable skeg + rudder

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ISSUE FIFTY Eight • Summer 2010/11






YAKITY YAK CL Get into it!

UB - JOIN NOW! phone: 0508 5292569 e-mail: website:

Kayaking is not just a sport it’s a lifestyle. The Yakity Yak Club is all about getting away from the maddening crowds and stresses of day to day life. Camaraderie, friends and fun are the spice of life. All this while getting a bit of a work out. Membership in the club encourages the new comer to get out there, confident in paddling with more experienced members. Before long you will be leading trips too. All our leaders are given extra training to help them with the demands of group leadership. Safety is paramount in any water sport, and kayaking is no different. When you join the Yakity Yak Club, there is a two day induction course to ensure all members have the basic skills to be safe and to keep their paddling buddies safe. The course covers more than just ‘how to paddle’. Rescues, trip planning & gear are also covered. With this extra knowledge, you’ll become a more confident, safe paddler. Which means you’ll enjoy kayaking that much more. Thanks to the Canoe & Kayak crew, all the work is done for you. There are no club rooms to paint and no committees to join. A ‘wine & cheese’ evening is laid on once a month, to organize the coming months activities with input from all members. If there is a trip you’d like to do, put it forward and the club will see it happens. Easy! Come along and join in, meet the people & see what goes on. You’ll be made to feel very welcome. Give us a call today on 0508 529 2569 or call into your local Canoe & Kayak Centre.

Photos by Tony Barrett

Speight’s Coast to Coast Prepare for the greatest day of your life!

By James Kuegler

The Speight’s Coast to Coast is the world’s premier multisport event. It is the benchmark by which all other multi-sport events are judged, in New Zealand and overseas. The event traverses the South Island of New Zealand from Kumara Beach on the Tasman Sea to Sumner Beach on the Pacific Ocean. Over two days, or the one-day event, competitor’s cycle 140 kms, run 36 km (crossing the Southern Alps) and kayak 67kms of the Grade Two river that passes through the Waimakariri Gorge. Because of the huge amount of time and energy athletes devote to preparing for this event it is imperative that the final weeks of preparation and race day go smoothly to allow you to fully focus on the task at hand. I intend to offer some vital information, which I hope will be useful

whether you are looking to compete or complete the Coast to Coast. Tapering The idea of tapering for an event is a process that is largely misunderstood. For many, tapering means reducing training volume and intensity over the two or three week period before an event. This scheme tends to lead to a final week of what could best be described as a sedentary state. This is indeed an effective way of rebuilding the body’s nutrient stores, which become depleted during endurance training. But it is not overly conducive to performing at your best come race day. In 1992, Shepley et al studied a group of middle distance runners, prescribing each of them one of three tapering methods. The runners were tested on a treadmill before each completing four weeks of training, followed by that individual’s prescribed tapering method. The researchers found that there was a significant increase in the running time/fatigue ratio as a result of a high intensity/low volume method. Interestingly, however, the ratio was unchanged in those who followed a low intensity/moderate volume taper, and those who followed a restonly taper. This is of particular interest in relation to the running and cycling components of the Coast to Coast. With respect to kayaking, García-Pallarés et al (2010) found that a period of reduced training was an effective way to maintain maximal strength, although it led to no further increase in mean or maximum

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ISSUE FIFTY Eight • Summer 2010/11

strength. The authors admit, however, that in terms of kayaking “there is a paucity of literature on the effects that typical tapering and/ or short term detraining periods could have on neuromuscular and performance markers”. It is also worth considering the psychological changes that occur to in an athlete during the course of race preparation, with particular attention to how the taper affects mood and self-assessed physical conditioning, as well as the way in which psychological and physiological changes directly affect each other. What does all this mean for you in the lead up to the Coast to Coast? All the research seems to suggest that speed and strength will be unchanged as a result of a rest only taper. But you will more than likely notice a significant increase in performance as a result of a low volume/ high intensity taper over a two to three week period. I suggest a schedule that includes five running sessions, four cycling sessions, and five kayaking in the two week period leading up to the Coast to Coast. Each of these sessions should be between 30 – 60 min running and in the kayak, and between 60 – 90 min on the bike. A great running session is a 60 min run including 5 x 1000 m at 5 km race pace with 1min rest between each repetition. For cycling you might like to include 4x5min at a high moderate intensity, or a fast paced bunch ride, sitting at or near the front for periods of 5-10 min. In the boat you will likely get some gains by doing a 45 min session including 10 x 1 min at faster than race pace with 30 sec rest in between. Whatever you decide to do, “once you decide to taper, do as little as your mind will allow, but do that little training at a fast pace” (Noakes, ) Organisation To ensure you are ready for this iconic event, it is important to be well,

so that scenery, the camaraderie, and the spectacle can be enjoyed for what it is. It would be criminal to have given a year or more to the event, only to endure any array of possible problems, or worse, have to pull out of the race. Organise everything before you leave home. I highly recommend writing a list of everything you will need from toilet paper to bike pumps, and meticulously checking that you have everything on the list. I have combined the checklists in the Coast to Coast handbook, with some things that are not mentioned, to create a list of everything that I need for the Coast to Coast (I would be more than happy to send you a copy). I go through this list a number of times before I leave home to make sure I have everything I need. If you have everything organised well in advance of the event, you will hopefully prevent waking up at 11:30 the night before the race wondering if you have packed your kayak helmet. When the weather turned sour at the 2010 Coast to Coast it became very evident who had and who had not prepared well. For some athletes their lack of adequate clothing made for a less than pleasant day. Before the race It is important to keep yourself busy, particularly during the last few days, so you are not conjuring up worst-case scenarios and reinforcing negative behaviour. When you catch yourself thinking about the event, spend a few minutes visualising the feeling of bobbing up and down through the wave trains as you manoeuvre down the Waimakariri river; imagine the taste of blood, sweat and tears in your mouth, and the smell of your sweat-soaked body through the Deception. Make it as vivid as possible, and then go and do something else. Check out the greenstone in Greymouth or read a book, though it might pay to avoid

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ISSUE FIFTY Eight • Summer 2010/11


Steve Gurney’s “Lucky Legs” until after the race. Most people will go for a short run or ride on the day before the event. My advice would be to do this in the clothes that you plan to race in. Make sure you sweat in them, and whatever you do don’t wash them. The same goes for you: the more natural oils you have on your clothes and body before the race the less likely you are to get chafed. I give you permission to refrain from showering the day before the event (just don’t sit next to me at the briefing). Let’s face it, you’re going to smell pretty average by the end of a day’s racing, so a little body odour at the start is a small price to pay for a chafe-free race. Likewise, on race morning I would advise you to apply liberal amounts of chafe cream to any areas of the body that might be prone to rubbing. Fuel In my opinion there is a huge amount of misinformation out there about food and nutrition. If it is brightly coloured, comes in an equally radiant bottle or packet, then chances are it is not good for you. Anything made in a laboratory is definitely not good for you, and if you

have to look on the back of the packet to find out what it contains, it is again, probably not good for you. Wheat-based foods, oats, bread and pasta may be excellent to bulk out your meal with carbohydrates, but what we know is that those foods provide you with negligible amounts of essential nutrients and phytochemicals that are required to support your joints, detoxify the body of the free radicals that are produced by endurance training and to maintain a healthy immune system. You might like to try fuelling your body on the foods that your ancestors ate. Nuts and seeds are an excellent source of essential fats, which act as a slow burning source of energy. Fruit and vegetables are a source of carbohydrates, which provide a fast-burning source of energy. Red meat and eggs are an excellent source of protein, which are the building blocks for new muscle. Water is an excellent form of hydration. Drink plenty of water in the build up to the Coast to Coast: you want all the cells in your body to be plump, so much so that you might need to relieve yourself every hour as you travel to Kumara. Do this well, and your need for hydration come race day will be greatly diminished. Likewise, eat plenty, you want all of your energy stores to be bursting at the seams. But just remember, you wouldn’t put diesel in your Ferrari. Convenience becomes a factor on race day. It would be challenging to haul a basket of fruit and vegetables from one side of the South Island to the other. Energy foods are fantastic, though it is important to realise that not all energy foods are created equal. Search out those that work best for you. I will race on a diet of Mule Bars (100% natural, fair trade and organic energy bars) and energy gels courtesy of Discover Health. The best piece of advice I can offer is to consume food and drink early in small amounts often. There is no worse feeling than trying to run after gulping half a bottle of water or eating a whole energy bar. Whether you are hoping to compete or complete the Coast to Coast, best wishes, I look forward to seeing you at the finish. “If you’re going to dream, dream big, it takes no extra effort”

Speight’s Coast to Coast 2011 Entries Still Open! Now’s the time to get some training and make an educated choice -

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Designers & Manufacturers of Multisport & Adventure Racing Kayaks 30

ISSUE FIFTY Eight • Summer 2010/11

Phone 021 273 0550

Barracuda SOT

Review by Todd Shewan

After years of development the Barracuda kayak enters a market where many top end fishing kayaks have become extremely heavy, 35 – 45 kg. At 16 kg the Barracuda SOT is half the weight of most! The tri-hull design is unique, very manoeuvrable, extremely stable and fast through the water. With a raised bow to make surf landings a breeze, and a well rounded stern for extra buoyancy it copes with a full cargo of fish. It has pronounced rocker throughout. The glossy hull makes cleaning easy. The storage options galore should tick the boxes for any kayak fisho’. The Barracuda can be built to your specifications with up to 8 rod holders, a variety of seats, and your choice of fish finder transducer sockets. Barracuda boats, made in New Zealand, are market leaders in the use of technologically advanced plastics.

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ISSUE FIFTY Eight • Summer 2010/11


If you want a canoe that will handle a month’s worth of supplies to head out on a wilderness adventure, this is the canoe for you. In the Outfitter 16 or 17 you’ll find all the great things that have made these canoes a paddling legend in places like the Yukon and the Canadian Arctic.

Or use that space and stability for some quiet fishing or family fun. Add good tracking and hull speed plus durable materials and you have a canoe for all seasons. A quality canoe made in Canada.

Nova Craft canoes are available at leading kayak retailers and distributed in New Zealand by Great Stuff Limited. For further information on your closest retailer, email:

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Once Bitten Twice Shy Robenanne hopes we all learn something from her birthday trip on Lake Tarawera. Geoff and I had an interesting weekend planned in Rotorua for my birthday, the highlight to be a combined kayak and tramping trip across Lake Tarawera to the spectacular Tarawera falls. At the Landing the wind was decidedly unpleasant so we drove the van to Kawerau, purchased the required forestry permit and continued with the rest of our adventure minus the kayak journey. We had an absolutely delightful three hour tramp with fascinating underground rivers and beautiful swimming holes. We returned with time up our sleeves for a quick paddle in the yaks before the forestry gates lock down at 7 pm. However, feeling the trip had been rather tame for a birthday adventure, I had a sudden thought. I asked Geoff to return to the van and meet me at The Landing, while I would solo kayak the 10 km across Lake Tarawera. I had no previous experience of crossing a lake.

Geoff objected strongly. “You don’t have safety equipment, PFD, marine radio, cell phone or PLB.” They were all in Geoff’s van! But he gave me his buoyancy aid, and I promised to memorise his mobile number, find some kind person with a phone, and call him when I landed. Out of the shelter of the bay, it dawned on me that this might not prove much fun. Extreme southerly winds on my left were creating mega waves with surf cresting their top lines. Periods between each wave were short with ghastly steep ascents and a weird unpredictable landing. In my lightweight Barracuda Beachcomber I frequently had no paddle contact with water on my right side. The sun was low on the horizon and I lost sight of reflections from windows at The Landing. Estimating that the lake’s wilderness coastline was 3 km to my right I struggled for two hours to stay afloat, edging towards a headland, which promised civilization, 8 km

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away. I knew from my triathlon experience that I could swim 3 km, probably not 8, and not in cold water. Russell and Larraine’s instructions from their awesome surf management course, and this years Wanganui river trip through THOSE rapids, helped me to survive. “Keep paddling, be prepared to brace, keep paddling, lock your knees in tight, keep paddling, relax your hips, KEEP PADDLING!” Frozen and shaking I struggled to shore 2 km short of The Landing and gate-crashed a lakeside house where a lovely bunch of men were having a ‘boys only’ war game weekend. They kindly gave me the use of their phone, shower and coffee machine  Tarawera was my life changing experience in preparing for outdoor adventures. My humbling account will I hope help other adventure junkies to think twice before paddling without safety equipment.

ISSUE FIFTY Eight • Summer 2010/11

2.5 & 4.0mt lengths Available from all Canoe & Kayaks stores Roof Rack Centres And Thule Dealers Nationwide NZ Distributors Roof Rack Systems NZ Ltd 03 381 8141

Kiwi Association of Sea Kayakers N.Z. Inc. (KASK)

New Shark skin for summer Sharkskin is 100% windproof to allow you to enjoy your watersports all year round in any weather. The new ‘performance garments’ use compression technology in the arms and shoulder area which is great for muscle recovery. The new material is lightweight, SPF30+ and breathes, making it perfect even during summer. “The new Sharkskin Performance is the perfect summer sea kayaking/ training paddling top. “It is constructed with a combination of Sharkskin three layer windproof fabric around the body core and UV Lycra on the arms, shoulders and across the upper back (across your lats). These tops are warm in the right places, comfortable, yet cool in the summer sun. It looks damned sexy too.” – Rob Howarth “This top is lightweight with lots of mobility,

KASK is a network of sea kayakers throughout New Zealand KASK publishes a 200 page sea kayaking handbook which is just $15 to members: the handbook contains all you need to know about sea kayaking: techniques and skills, resources, equipment, places to go etc. KASK publishes a bi-monthly newsletter containing trip reports, events, book reviews, technique/equipment reviews and a ‘bugger’ file. KASK holds national sea kayaking forums.

Website: UV protection and nice high neck. The zip front is great when you are working hard and need to cool down.” - Steve Smith Available in store now.

Annual subscription is $35.00.

Kask PO Box 23, Runanga 7841, West Coast

proud sponsors of the speight’s coast to coast 2011

speight’s COAST TO COAST 11TH & 12TH FEBRUARY 2011 still taking eNTRIES ! We look forward to seeing you THERE.

see us for all your training and equipment requirements. freephone 0508 529 2569

ISSUE FIFTY Eight • Summer 2010/11


The first of these boats the Navigator based on the popular Explorer model is an ideal recreational fishing hybrid, longer than the typical “fun” boat it has ample deck space for all your gear. It has excellent tracking for a boat of these dimensions and handles wakes and small waves well head on, the bow easily directs water to the sides allowing for a very dry ride.


3.82 m


787 mm

Weight Capacity

22 kg 204 kg

Last but definitely not least is the Re-vision described by Warren Aitken (the original owner and designer of Cobra Kayaks) as “this is the best paddling boat of the whole range”. Originally designed as a surf rescue craft, it is in fact the “longboard version of the Cobra Strike, the Re-vision features a large open cockpitand a unique overlap flange, allowing for both a drier ride and improved hold on waves. The rocker design and unique flange combines for excellent wave riding and, while the sleek hull design allows for a fast, smooth quiet ride on flat water.


3.97 m


680 mm

Weight Capacity

The Double + 1 is an excellent family kayak with two main seating positions and plenty of room for a child or small adult to sit comfortably in the centre seating position. At 91cm wide there is loads of stability, yet the Cobra Double + 1 is also easy to paddle and maneuver. This model also provides ample room for two fisherman, and their gear, to fish quite comfortably.

DOUBLE+1 Length

4.42 m


910 mm

Weight Capacity

36 kg 340 kg

The Triple the largest boat in the Cobra family is the first ever sit on top designed to carry three adults with ample supplies of fishing or drifting gear. The Cobra triple V hull with its wide beam provides for excellent tracking and stability. The narrow beam and stern, coupled with clean lines, allows paddlers to slice through the water quickly and smoothly.

TRIPLE Length Width Weight

5m 910 mm 36 kg


385 kg


3.18 m


740 mm

Weight Capacity

17 kg 108 kg

21 kg 136 kg

Buyers Guide Summer 2010/11 Qualified - Our staff are the experts.

Service - We’ll do a regular check on your purchase for free. (1, 6 & 12 month)

Passion - Kayaking is our passion. It is what we do in our spare time. Talk to us for first hand advice.

NOVA CRAFT OUTFITTERS CANOE 16ft and 17ft The Nova Craft 16ft and 17ft Outfitters SP3 canoes are ideal suited for lake and river exploring and those extended canoe trips of many days. The load carrying capability of canoes is legendary and this makes them ideal for our camping and exploring life style. Nova Craft Canoes are the chosen by many commercial operators, because they are great to paddle and built tough.

New to New Zealand!

*Note: NZ models have plastic seats.

Sponsor or Member of: Josh Neilson - White Water Adventurer A 44km paddle race across the pure crystal mountain fed waters of New Zealand’s

3rd annual

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sea kayakhave now conquered the Over 200 paddlers waka ama lake crossing. ocean See rower for more information, results, video footage and photos.

Sea Kayaks, Surf Ski’s, Waka ama and Ocean Rower. From Tokaanu to Taupo.

New class for 2010 5km fun race - Wharewaka Point to the Taupo Yacht club - for plastic sit on top kayaks -

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The pinnacle of open fresh water paddling.

Kayak Courses: Start Sea Kayaking

Our most popular course. Come and learn all the skills you need to become a confident and competent kayaker. Over the weekend you will learn paddle skills, rescues and what’s more you’ll meet other awesome people like you! All paddlers who complete this course become members of the ‘Yakity Yak Club’. Don’t have a kayak? Don’t worry, all paddling gear and even a yummy lunch is supplied for the weekend.

Buyers Guide

Learning to Eskimo roll is easy, with the right techniques you’ll be rolling in no time. Learn in a heated pool over four evening sessions, starting in a white water kayak and progressing to a sea kayak. If you’re learning to surf, having a confident Eskimo roll will double the fun! And you’ll look impressive too.

There’s not always a T.V where we end up, so knowing how to understand the weather is an important skill. You will learn how to forecast weather using maps and the clouds. Navigate using charts and a compass over four evening sessions. Another essential course for paddlers getting right out there.

Surfing is fun when you know how, and guess what? It’s easy! We’ll start you in small surf sit-ontops and build your skills until you’re a pro. Surfing builds confidence for all kayakers, plus it is a great way to spend a day at the beach. All paddling gear provided, just bring a smile.

This weekend course will build on your skills in a realistic environment, based at a remote camping site. Along with paddling technique we cover trip planning, preparation and decision making on the water. A must for paddlers planning overnight trips or multiday expeditions.

Paddlers need to know a range of rescues to look after themselves and their kayaking buddies in adverse conditions. The rescues you will learn on this course will put a lot more tools in your toolbox so you can be prepared and ready in any situation.

Phone 0508 529 2569 for

Your Adventure Here White Water Kayaking


White Water paddlers must have a solid base of skills and this is the course to get you started. This weekend course starts in a heated pool, progressing from flat water to moving water, always at a pace you are comfortable with. It’s a great way to meet paddlers and build your skills together.

This course is a comprehensive package of instruction and coaching designed to progressively build your kayaking skills to Grade Two racing certificate level. Run over three weekends, your confidence on the water and river reading skills will help make your day a huge success.

Designed to build on skills learnt on the Intro Course, this weekend focuses on building your confidence on fast moving water and culminates in a Grade Two river paddle on the Sunday. The course will help you fine tune eddie turns, ferry gliding, rolling, surfing and introduces new skills in river rescue and river reading techniques.

Ready for Grade Three Rivers? Sharpen up your white water skills and be prepared to negotiate higher Grade Three rapids with confidence. Learning some simple rodeo moves, advanced paddle technique and playing in holes will help you achieve your goals in advanced white water paddling. This weekend course has a strong focus on safety and sound decision making.

From Our Family to Yours * Family Run Businesses * Low Student / Instructor ratios. * Flexible - We can tailor the day * Well Structured Courses

Are you a confident paddler in Grade Two rivers? Before you make the big move to Grade Three you must have the skills covered in this two day River Rescue Course. We will teach you the skills required to cope with entrapments, kayak wraps, swimming kayakers and their equipment.

* Progressive Learning * Teaching Kayaking since 1994

more info & booking

Buyers Guide

to suit you.

Selection - Knowledge - Experience


escapee Probably the closest you will come to finding one kayak that does it all. Surfing, fishing, snorkelling. Escapee is stable and easy to paddle. A boat the whole family can enjoy.

Prices start at $775

Length: 3.3 m, Weight: 23 kg, Width: 740 mm


The fantastically stable and manoeuvrable Kiwi has two dry compartments for gear. Light, super comfortable and fast for its length. It’s an awesome, all round kayak.

Prices start at $1365

Buyers Guide

Length: 3.75m, Width: 740 mm Weight: 20 kg Std, 23 kg Excel & 18 kg Light.

squirt A Sit-on-top for the family. Able to seat an adult and a small child. The Squirt is easy to paddle and is very stable. Easily carried by one adult or two kids.

Prices start at $479

Length: 2.7 m, Weight: 17 kg, Width: 760 mm

escapade An extended Escapee for the larger paddler. You’ll fish, dive and have fun in the sun. There’s a storage hatch behind the seat for easy access and wells at the front and rear.

Prices start at $975

Length: 3.5 m, Weight: 27 kg std, Width: 750 mm

Fire Fly Here is a little cracker! The Firefly is designed so the kids can have fun. Little and light, easy to handle and stable. The kids will love it, if they can get Dad off it!


Length: 2.4 m, Weight: 16 kg, Width: 700 mm

flow Stable and easy to paddle, Flow handles surf with ease. Simple for the beginner to use, yet exciting for the more experienced paddler.

Prices start at $899

Length: 2.95 m, Weight: 19 kg, Width: 750 mm

You’ll find it all at Canoe & Kayak




Play is great for the paddler who wants a fun fast surf and flat water kayak. Kids love this Sit-on- top as it is not too wide for them to paddle and yet is very stable.

Explorer is ideal for fishing and exploring and one of the driest ‘Sit-on- tops’ you will find. Great hatches for storing your goodies are available.

Navigator The Navigator is faster, sleeker & longer than the Cobra Explorer, with many of the same features. With a longer cockpit, it is ideal for the taller paddler.

Prices start at $995

Length: 3.8 m, Weight: 22 kg, Width: 790 mm

XStream A true fast tracking hull, upswept bow, storage area within easy reach, rear tankwell, transducer scupper hole, adjustable footrests, moulded backrest & seat pad & an optional retractable rudder.

Prices start at $1340

Length: 4.2 m, Weight: 28 kg, Width: 730 mm

Prices start at $895

Length: 3.4 m, Weight: 18.2 kg, Width: 790 mm


A ‘two person’ kayak, ideal for fishing, surfing and exploring. Tandem has two 6” hatches to store your adventure equipment. Room for three, often paddled by one.

Prices start at $1145

Length: 3.8 m, Weight: 26 kg, Width: 915 mm

surge Double the fun of the Flow with a contoured mid seat means you can paddle this sit on top kayak with your friends or just simply use it on your own, and there is lots of storage area in the back.

Prices start at $1089

Length: 3.9 m, Weight: 28 kg, Width: 850 mm

0508 5292569

Buyers Guide

Prices start at $545

Length: 3.1 m, Weight: 18 kg, Width: 710 mm

Sea K Shearwater A comfortable performance orientated sea kayak which will suit all sizes of paddlers with plenty of foot room for the bigger ones. The Shearwater handles well in rough conditions. A fun boat to paddle.

Prices start at $2650

Length: 4.8 m, Weight: 26.5 kg std, 23 kg lite, Width: 610 mm

Skua The Skua has a low deck profile enabling it to perform extremely well in windy conditions, while its longer hull gives it greater speed and allows it to respond in a following sea to surf the waves.

Prices start at $2890

Length: 5.2 m, Weight: 27 kg std,24 kg lite Width: 600 mm

Tasman Express Its low profile and flared bow enables the Tasman Express to perform well in adverse conditions. It gives the paddler maximum comfort, with adjustable footrests, backrest, side seat supports and optional thigh brace.

Prices start at $2890

Length: 5.3 m, Weight: 29 kg Std, 25 kg light, Width: 620 mm

Foveaux Express Foveaux Express, is a very responsive and playful sea kayak. Comes with a moulded thigh brace. The dolphin nose with flair, allows lift in the ocean swell. A fun, nimble kayak.

Prices start at $4460

Length: 5.0 m, Weight: Kevlar19 kg, Width: 600 mm

Southern Skua The Southern Skua has a low deck enabling it to perform extremely well in windy conditions. Its longer hull gives it greater speed and allows it to surf in a following sea. It gives maximum stability in the open sea.

Prices start at $4590

Buyers Guide

Length: 5.4m, Weight: Kevlar 22kg, Width: 600mm

bEACHCOMBER The Beachcomber combines the latest design with cutting edge technologies to create an ultra light, thermo-formed, manoeuvrable sea kayak, perfectly suited to New Zealand conditions.

Prices start at $3099

Length: 4.9 m, Weight: 17 kg, Width: 600 mm

ayaks Eco Bezhig

Eco Bezhig is an enjoyable sea kayak, fast and nimble with huge storage, great features and the most comfortable seat your butt will ever meet.

Prices start at $2999

Length: 5.4 m, Weight: Std 27 kg, Width: 590 mm


A stable, cruiser that someone who wants security will love. It resembles a Sea Bear with its V hull, large hatches and full volume bow. Performance is stable, with no suggestion it wants to get any wetter than it has to. For such a small boat it surfs the choppy waves on the harbour with ease.

Prices start at $3425

Length: 4.0 m, Weight: Fibreglass 21.5 kg, Kevlar 19 kg Width: 630 mm

Sea Bear Waitoa

A highly stable craft provides an ideal platform in rough or challenging conditions, allowing you to complete your plans for the day and reach your destination in safety. Ideal for camping trips or expeditions on lakes or sea alike. The Sea Bear is the pedigree blue-water tourer’s choice.

Prices start at $3950

Length: 5.5 m, Weight: Fibreglass 26 kg, Kevlar 24 kg Width: 600 mm

Reval Midi

Stability and predictable behaviour are the main characteristics of this kayak. plenty of storage space for all your goodies. It is light and stiff and it isn’t afraid of even the toughest waves. It covers long distances with little effort.

Prices start at $3750

Length: 5.2 m, Weight: Carbon/ Aramide 21 - 23 kg, Width: 540 mm


The Reval’s streamlined “banana shaped” hull with a noticeably lower back is fantastically stylish. The Reval is an ideal choice for adrenaline seekers, as these kayaks perform well even in breaking waves and strong winds.

Prices start at $3850


Greenland T

Inspired by kayaks of Greenland, this modern reincarnation uses the same classic low volume hull with a V-shaped bottom. At the same time it delivers unmatched speed and performance on both calm waters and in the face of breaking waves.

Prices start at $3950

Length: 5.45 m, Weight: Carbon/ Aramide 22 - 24 kg, Width: 530 mm


Buyers Guide

Length: 5.5 m, Weight: Carbon/ Aramide 21 - 23 kg, Width: 540 mm

Multi Hurricane

The hurricane gives you the very best balance of speed and stability. The sleek deck is less vulnerable to strong cross winds, while the raised bow provides lift to prevent the front of the kayak being submerged in rapids and small waves.

Prices start at $3170

Length: 5.9 m, Weight: Kevlar 12 kg, Width: 490 mm


Fast ocean going Racing Sea Kayak. The broad bow allows this kayak to ride over waves like a surf ski without losing speed and is easy to control while surfing. A low profile reduces buffeting by the wind in adverse conditions.

Priced at $3890

Length: 6.4 m, Weight: Kevlar 16 kg, Width: 510 mm

adventure duet

Adventure Duet is a lightweight, very fast Adventure Racing double kayak. It continues to dominate adventure racing in NZ and is a great recreational double.

Priced at $5760

Length: 7.0 m, Weight: 24 kg Kevlar, Width: 550 mm

rebel kevlar

The Rebel is designed for paddlers of both genders up to 75 kg. At 5.7 metres long, the Rebels’ length is between the Swallow and the Firebolt and is faster than both.

Priced at $3210

Length: 5.7 m, Weight: Kevlar 11 kg, Width: 450 mm

eco niizh xlt

Double S This model is proving a hit for its lighter weight and excellent features. This is a plastic double sea kayak that is great for all those amazing expeditions and adventures.

Prices start at $4350

Length: 5.65m, Weight: 45 kg Std, Width: 760 mm

incept pacific The Incept Pacific inflatable sea kayak is perfect for spur-ofthe-moment day trips or multi- day expeditions. The deck covers and spray skirts are easily removed, giving easy access to gear.

Prices start at $3670

Length: 5.35 m, Weight: 20 kg, Width: 670 mm

sport Swallow

The next step up from the entry level racing kayaks. Fast with good stability. Medium skill ability is required to enjoy racing this kayak. A very popular Speight’s Coast to Coast kayak.

Priced at $3000

Length: 5.4 m, Weight: 12 kg Kevlar, Width: 480 mm


Intrigue is ideal for the beginner/entry level kayaker who is looking for a quick, light kayak with great stability. Also suitable for first time Coast to Coasters.

Priced at $2900

Length: 4.95 m, 12 kg Kevlar, Width: 540 mm


Gladiator with its larger cockpit, is built for the bigger paddler looking for a longer, fast and stable kayak for Speight’s Coast to Coast etc.


Priced at $3210

Length: 5.9 m, Weight: 13.5 kg Kevlar, Width: 530 mm


This very user friendly kayak with an excellent combination of speed and stability is suitable not only for the intermediate/ advanced paddler, but also for the busy, but keen ‘Weekend Warrior’.

Priced at 3250

Length: 5.9 m, Weight: 12.5 kg Kevlar, Width: 455 mm

ea Kayaks

Beachcomber Duo The ‘Beachcomber Duo’ has used all the features people rave about on the ‘Beachcomber’, with super light weight, durable plastic construction, internal glove boxes and Barracuda’s balanced rudder system.

Prices start at $4299

Sea Bear 2 Packhorse This is the choice of tour operators and keen doublepaddlers. Large central hatch and bow and stern storage; perfect for extended expeditions. Easy and stable handling for kayakers of all levels.

Prices start at $5695

Length: 5.9 m, Weight: Fibreglass 40 kg, Kevlar 38 kg Width: 850 mm


Buyers Guide

Length: 5.8 m, Weight: 26 kg, Width: 700 mm

Inflatables helios i This kayak is designed for cruising on protected waters, moderately flowing rivers, lakes and bays. It has considerable storage space in the bow and stern.

Prices start at $1630

Length: 3.1 m, Weight: 13.5 kg, Width: 710 mm

helios ii

Helios II is a double inflatable kayak with the same features as the single with slightly smaller stowage. Both single and double kayak can be fitted with optional rudder.

Prices start at $1935

Length: 3.8 m, Weight: 17 kg, Width: 750 mm


The Sunny is a simple design stable two person kayak. The Sunny can also be easily paddled solo by the moving of the slot in inflatable seats. Heavy duty construction will mean the Sunny is ideal for use on holiday, at the beach, etc.

Prices start at $1935

Length: 3.9 m, Weight:15 kg, Width: 820 mm

incept Tasman These inflatable kayaks have a stiff frame, excellent speed, high stability and good handling. The Incept Tasman kayak will handle big seas and survive impacts which would break rigid hulls.

Prices start at $3036

Length: 4.35 m, Weight: 15 kg, Width: 670 mm

twist i

The Twist I is an economical choice of inflatable canoe. It comes with a comfortable backrest and grab handles for easy handling. The tracking fin helps to keep you on course.

Prices start at $1015 Length: 2.6 m, Weight: 6 kg, Width: 790 mm

twist ii The Twist II is the double version with the same features of the Twist I. Both kayaks come with shock cord on the stern for storing gear.

Prices start at $1325

Length: 3.6 m, Weight: 9 kg, Width: 830 mm

Fishing Kayaks marauder

The Marauder is for the serious kayak fisherman. It is fast, stable with loads of deck space. Performs excellently in surf. Also available with an optional rudder.

Prices start at $1345

Length: 4.3 m, Weight: 24 kg, Width: 780 mm

fish n’ dive

Fish n’ Dive is the ultimate fishing/diving kayak. A large well located in the stern holds loads of fish. You can customize it with hatches, fish finders and rod holders.


ra F ish n ,D ive

Prices start at $1145

Length: 3.8 m, Weight: 28 kg, Width: 915 mm

Tourer The low profile hull of the Cobra Tourer cuts down on windage. Paddlers maintain high speed and straight tracking with easy handling in all conditions.

Prices start at $1345

Length: 4.6 m, Weight: 23 kg, Width: 710 mm

catch 390 Catch 390 features satisfy the keenest angler, beginners & experienced alike. Front & rear bulkheads. Watertight fishing rod chute. Flush mount rod holders behind the seat.

Prices start at $1699

Length: 3.9 m, Weight: 28 kg, Width: 850 mm

catch 420 The 420 features a true fast tracking hull, upswept bow, peaked deck, electronics storage area within easy reach whilst paddling, paddle parks, moulded in rod holders, moulded in anchor points, large rear tankwell, transducer scupper hole, adjustable footrests, moulded backrest & seat pad & an optional retractable rudder.

Prices start at $1790 Barracuda SOT Barracuda has brought together their breakthrough vacuum thermoforming technology and a wealth of kayaking knowledge, to produce the revolutionary Ultralight SOT kayak. This Kayak is great for anyone, whether you just want to get out and enjoy the water or you are the ultimate kayak fisherman.

Prices start at $2250

Length: 4.2 m, Weight: 18 kg, Width: 700 mm


Buyers Guide

Length: 4.2 m, Weight: 28 kg, Width: 730 mm

Thailand 2010

by Josh Neilson

On August 2nd 2010, with flights and the Bangkok hotel booked, Lou and I learnt “There is a high risk to your security in Thailand because of ongoing criminal and politicallymotivated violence. We advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel. Since 2004 there have been over 4,000 deaths as a result of terrorist and other violent attacks. The Thai Government’s Emergency Decree is in force.” We were stunned! I searched the internet to learn more.

It seemed clear that away from major cities we would be fine. So, against the government warning, we packed our kayaks. Lou and I, from Auckland met Toni, flying from California, in Bangkok Airport. Tyler, coming from Canada, was expecting to meet us in downtown Bangkok. Driving to our hotel the government’s warning was real and my eyes were peeled for trouble. But all seemed to be in order and our taxi driver, delivering us at midnight, said , “It’s very safe. You’ll struggle to find a problem.” In the morning we searched for a vehicle, shopped for essentials and

Lou Urwin & Tyler Fox taking a local taxi elephant Photo Josh Neilson

got stuck into the amazing food. Tyler joined us in the evening, but without his gear. While waiting for it to turn up, we sorted out our car. Unlike 2007 when we had taken the overnight train to Chiang Mai to find a car, this time we drove and looked for rivers along the way. Our first stop was Khao Yai National Park which I knew, from a few years of online searching of the best destinations, had great whitewater. The problem was, we were not welcome! Tourists flock to the waterfalls and over the years some have hurt themselves jumping into the waterfalls’ pool. The authorities do all they can to stop this and of course kayaking the waterfalls is no exception. Walking away from a clean 15 metre waterfall with perfect flow was a bad start! Moving slowly North toward Chiang Mai, we ticked off some sweet new drops and rivers. This type of kayaking can be frustrating! Some days we’d drive for 12 hours, finding nothing and thinking it would have been easier, with more kayaking, to have stayed on the Kaituna. The crew gets a bit edgy, but this makes everyone more determined, plans are adapted and you find something new with thoughts of home and mainstream kayak destinations forgotten. We paddled a bunch of first descents and also repeated some of the runs we paddled in 2007. After some time in Chiang Mai we loaded the car and travelled North West. We were on the road for 12 hours and barely saw a flowing river. Tired and ready for bed we found a nice hostel in the village of Mae Chaem. While waiting for our dinner we heard the welcome sound of rain on the tin roof. It continued throughout the night. We woke early, anticipating what we might find in the nearby Doi Intanon National Park, home of the clean 15 metre Mae Pan Waterfall. We drove to the base of the falls where water flow was still on the low side, but good to go.

Lou Urwin running the Mae Pan Waterfall Photo by: Toni George

One by one we hauled our kayaks up the rock face to the top. Tyler and Toni went first while Lou and I filmed and ran safety. After good lines run by Tyler and Toni, Lou and I climbed to the top. It was steep and slippery. Spray from the 100m waterfall pounded our faces. I went first and in a hard hit lost my mounted waterproof camera. It’s in the river forever. Next Lou had a sweet line into the pool. Further drops were entertaining and all good. Then Lou and I had the next few days in bed with food poisoning, while Tyler and Toni took on more runs. Exploring in exotic countries away from regular tourist paths involves local culture. It’s always a marvellous paddling experience. On one occasion the map suggested a waterfall on a small river with a bit of water. Looking for it, but distracted by Black Forest Cobras, we walked for a while and reached the top of a hill. With the river still undiscovered, we gave up on the mission and turned back. In the bush we met a couple picking mushrooms. Attempting to speak Thai I asked, “Nam Tok te nae?” They laughed and pointed at the opposite hill. We resumed searching, went over the hill and down a track. Soon we could hear rushing water and couldn’t believe it! We had found a sweet waterfall on a different river and we had something to paddle. We hurried back to the car, thanked the locals again and headed back in with the kayaks for a great day running the drop. We named the waterfall ‘Cobra Falls’ in recognition of the area’s Black Forest Cobras. On our return journey to Bangkok from Chiang Mai we found some cool stuff but nothing with enough water to paddle. In Khao Yai National Park my ongoing shoulder difficulties caused me to drive shuttle for the others to make a satisfactory break for the river. We reached Bangkok in time to fly home to NZ. We had met amazing people and a very different culture to our own. This type of mission doesn’t usually give you quality paddling everyday, but it is an adventure, and when you find good runs long days of driving feel worthwhile! I am very pleased we did not cancel our trip as advised. We didn’t see any sign of problems. The Thai people were super friendly and helped us out when they could. I would like to thank Tyler, Lou and Toni for an amazing trip. I’m looking forward to many more missions with you guys! For more information on kayaking in Thailand check out

Tyler Fox bursts out of the bush on Cobra Falls Photo Josh Neilson

For all your roof rack requirements


(excludes permanent fittings)


0508 529 2569


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