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New Zealand blues
Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Back at my desk in Wales, I'm struggling to concentrate on 'work'. it's not just the jetlag preventing me from focussing, my mind is still full of New Zealand. What a lovely country! I couldn't possibly do it justice in 2 weeks but I'm fortunate to have spent almost 3 months there before.

I was delighted to meet Paul Caffyn, someone who every seakayaker should have heard of. Paul has circumnavigated all of New Zealand, Japan, Great Britain, Alaska, New Caledonia, a chunk of Greenland and Australia. Yes, all of it. It was a pleasure to spend a few days with Paul getting an insight into a pioneering paddler and hearing about some of his incredible adventures. My favourite story is about when a bear ripped a hole in his tent in the middle of the night in Alaska. Closely behind that is the tale of when he paddled for 36 hours continuously to pass a 120km section of sheer cliffs in Australia. By the end of the marathon journey a headwind had reduced his progress to 3km/ hour but he was feeling happy because by then he knew he would succeed.

Paul took me on a 3-day paddling trip in the beautiful Marloborough Sounds at the top of the South Island. I did some filming with him for 'This is the Sea 3' - probably the last in the 'This is the Sea' series. I also hope to include footage of Paul's Alaska trip in the feature.

Another highlight of the trip was surfing in seakayaks with Steve Knowles at Tauranga, on the East coast of the North Island. Steve runs the 'Canoe & Kayak' store with his wife Karen which is 5 mins away from consistant surf on a beautiful sandy beach. A few small offshore islands mean that even when the surf is HUGE, there are smaller broken-up sets behind the islands. I had a bit of a surf and then did some filming of Steve.

My last weekend was spent at the 'Coastbusters' symposium, where I was the Saturday night speaker. No-one threw any tomatoes at me so I think I did OK! It was great to meet a big chunk of the seakayaking community and chat to lots of friendly people. I also had the pleasure of meeting Greenland-style paddlers Cheri Perri and Turner Wilson for the first time, aswell as seeing Greg Stamer and Freya Hoffmeister again. I've already filmed with Greg in 'This is the Sea' and Turner gave me a hard time becuase I chose to film with the 2 girls for 'This is the Sea 3'. Cherri is a lovely kind person who has been to Greenland twice to compete in the rolling, paddling and rope tricks competitions there. Look out for my underwater footage of her doing her what is widely regarded as the hardest roll, the straight-jacket roll. Freya has taken to Greenland-style paddling fairly recently, but due partly to a gynmastic background she has quickly picked up many of the rolls. Having had an attempt at her famous 'handstand in the kayak' my admiration for her balance and strength has multiplied!

New Zealand is a beautiful country with many friendly paddlers. I am sure it's only a matter of time before I return!!

Singapore Sling?
Thursday, March 02, 2006

OK, so it's a bit cheeky but I thought I'd try to take advantage of this blog network. I'm flying to New Zealand on Monday and I get to spend a whole day in Singapore on Tuesday 7th March. I do have a friend there but he's working most of the day, so I was thinking.... wouldn't it be nice to go paddling in Singapore!?

I know this is pretty late notice - aswell as plain pushy - but if anyone from Singapore would like to take me paddling next Tuesday then please get in touch!! I arrive at 7am and leave again at 9pm.

I'm going to New Zealand to attend the Coastbusters symposium in Aukland, and to do some filming for my next DVD. Yes, there will be 1 more in the 'This is the Sea' series! I'm lukcy enough to be paddling with Paul Caffyn for about a week and filming him for the video, aswell as a fantastic foursome of Greenland-style paddlers - Cheri Perri, Turner Wilson, Greg Stamer and Freya Hoffmeister. I also hope to meet up with Graham Charles, one of the Kiwis who paddled around South Georgia Island last year.

I'm bringing a few copies of Paul Caffyn's book "Obscured by Waves" back with me and am selling them on my website in the UK/ Europe Store. This book is not avaliable anywhere else in the UK or Europe. I'm not offering it for sale in the States because postage will be too much, but if anyone in North America would like one then email me, or reply to this post and providing you are happy to pay for the postage aswell as the book price then I'm sure either myself or Paul will send you one.

Happy Paddling!

The photo follows on from the one in the last blog and shows the aftermarth! The good news is that I got my 'North Face' hat back!

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