Kayaker to bat­tle Cook Strait

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - VIR­GINIA FAL­LON

A Ti­tahi Bay teenager is kayak­ing from Waikanae to New Ply­mouth th­ese school hol­i­days as train­ing for an even tougher chal­lenge.

Canon Larsen is packing 40kg of food into his kayak and pad­dling 300km up the North Is­land dur­ing term break.

‘‘It’s go­ing to take about five days. At least I hope it is,’’ he said.

The 17-year-old is pre­par­ing to cross the Cook Strait in a kayak as part of a year-long school project.

Larsen had to choose a topic with prac­ti­cal and writ­ten com­po­nents as part of his NCEA cred­its.

He had lots of ideas for his project but kept com­ing back to the same thing.

‘‘I just wanted to kayak my heart out,’’ he said.

Larsen, who at­tends Ru­dolf Steiner School in Lower Hutt, ini­tially planned to cir­cum­nav­i­gate the North Is­land, but changed his plans when he mapped the dis­tance.

‘‘It was go­ing to take three months of con­stant row­ing, so I chose the strait in­stead.’’

Larsen has kayaked for as long as he can re­mem­ber, but started sea kayak­ing only last year.

Bat­tling the open seas re­quires a spe­cial boat, which he is bor­row­ing from friend Andy Blake.

Blake, who has been kayak­ing for 20 years, said the key to a suc­cess­ful mis­sion was be­ing pre­pared.

‘‘I’m para­noid to the point of be­ing in­sane,’’ he said.

Blake kayaks thou­sands of kilo­me­tres a year and said Cook Strait was a for­mi­da­ble stretch of wa­ter,

‘It’s one of the worst in the world.’’

‘‘When things go wrong out there they go very wrong.’’

Blake kayaked around Ste­wart Is­land in 2010, a 450km trip that took 18 months to plan.

He said Larsen should ex­pect to spend at least 10 hours in his kayak dur­ing his Cook Strait cross­ings.

As well as lend­ing Larsen his boat, Blake has pro­vided him with a ra­dio and safety bea­con.

Larsen said all he needed now was some­one with a boat to fol­low him through the strait.

Hir­ing a safety boat isn’t an op­tion – Larsen has been quoted $3500 for the day.

‘‘I hope I don’t ac­tu­ally need it, but I need it in case some­thing goes wrong.’’

PHOTO: VIR­GINIA FAL­LON

Canon Larsen, who is about to un­der­take a gru­elling 300km pad­dle.

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