Kayaker to battle Cook Strait
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.’’
Canon Larsen, who is about to undertake a gruelling 300km paddle.