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Round NZ Kayaker Aims to be Home in Days

Immediate Release Thursday 23-2-2012

Round NZ Kayaker Aims to be Home in Days

Long-distance kayaker Tim Taylor is hoping to reach Tauranga to complete his circumnavigation of New Zealand by about the middle of next week.

Tim left his Tauranga hometown on November 27th 2010 aiming to make history with the first continuous circumnavigation of the country by sea kayak.

He had hoped to complete the gruelling 5,500km clockwise trip around the country in three to six months, but big swells forced him to postpone his paddle when he reached Ninety Mile Beach in May last year.

Tim had needed a window with several days of fine weather and calmer seas to safely round the tip of the North Island.

Tim resumed his journey in his trusty 5.4m plastic kayak Waverley at Ahipara on February 12. He successfully rounded Capes Reinga and Maria van Dieman and has paddled down the coast as far as Waipu Cove, south of Whangarei.

A cheerful Tim is enjoying being back on the water describing it as “a routine he knows really well.”

“I like getting up early and setting out on the water - and I enjoy meeting new people.”

Tim is philosophical about not being able to set a record for first continuous circumnavigation, saying he’s come to terms with this. He notes that when he finishes, he’ll still be the youngest to complete the ‘circum kayak’ in the shortest time.

It’s a matter of “getting it done,” he says.

On the challenges which lie ahead down the East Coast, Tim says that “on its day, anything can be bad.”

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He says that he still has to safely paddle 40km across the Hauraki Gulf to reach the top of the 80 km long Coromandel Peninsula, and is not taking anything for granted until he gets home.

Tim has nearly reached the 100kms-in-a-day milestone on two separate days paddling.


Tim Taylor’s Paddle - Background:

Tim’s plan was travel in a clockwise direction around the country to make the most of tidal flows, covering an estimated 60 to 100 kms a day, and around 5,500 kilometres overall.

His aim was to break his day into two six hour sessions, pulling into shore for lunch and to camp each night, if no other accommodation was available. To monitor his progress he carried a SPOT, a GPS gadget which sends a continuous signal to satellites, so that his journey could be plotted on his website.

Tim’s journey took him all the way down the East Coast of the North Island, and across Cook Strait.

He passed the half way mark of about 2,700 kilometres in Fiordland where, at Landing Bay in Chalky Inlet, he suffered one of the worst lows of his paddle.

Bad weather forced him into his tent in the bush for about four days, under siege from the local sandflies. The stony beach he was on offered no flat spots so he had to camp in the bush, his tent so uneven on rocky ground he couldn’t sleep properly.

By this half-way stage of his journey Tim had battled huge seas, vicious currents, and biting winds – been shadowed by a shark – and tumbled into heavy surf several times.

In 52 days of actual paddling – not counting rest days or time stuck ashore with bad weather – he had achieved a creditable average distance of 49.5kms a day. Some days however, rough, dangerous conditions had forced him ashore after a mere 10 or 15kms.

By the beginning of June, his mother and support crew person, Lyn Taylor, reported that while Tim had reached Ahipara at the bottom of Ninety Mile Beach, “just two day’s paddling away from reaching the northernmost part of New Zealand, he can’t move an inch!”

“There's just one word for it...swell. Tim tried getting off the bottom of Ninety Mile Beach in a two metre swell...and he couldn't get out past the surf. Further up the beach at The Bluff, the swell was even bigger, and the breaking surf was absolutely enormous. We were there, and it scared the pants off me.”

After two and a half weeks stalled at Ahipara, Tim Taylor reluctantly postponed the completion of his paddle.


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