Matamata made him the way he is
Extreme kayaker Scott Donaldson, who is well known for his attempt to kayak from Coffs Harbour to Taranaki, told a sell out crowd at a Matamata Lions event that his positive attitude and habit of pushing himself both physically and mentally started as a young boy growing up in Matamata.
Donaldson’s mum got him into swimming at a young age to help with his asthma.
He said he didn’t think his mum, Charmaine, could foresee what she was getting into in terms of his later sports endeavours.
Football was another big that started in Matamata.
Donaldson said the ball never left his foot including at dinner, around the house and the bathroom.
‘‘ It was just the way I did things, I got keen and made the skills come.’’
Talking to audience members at the November 12 event reminded Donaldson of another anecdote that was a pretty fair indication of the man he would become.
From Matamata he biked to and from a football game he played in in Otorohanga. His brother lived in the Bombay hills and Donaldson would bike from New Years festivities in Tauranga to help him with the hay and then bike back to the party in Tauranga. ‘‘It was normal for me to do that and it started here.’’
Donaldson said the first ques-
love tion most people asked about his ‘‘wee paddle’’ across the Tasman was what motivated him to do it.
Before he spent five years planning the Tasman trip, he spent 12 years coaching triathletes, ultra distance runners, Coast to Coasters and ultra distance cyclists.
‘‘It was too much yap and not enough do,’’ he said.
He wanted to put his coaching theories, like physical limits and control, planning from the worst case scenario, nutrition and technique, to the test.
He emphasised that all his decisions had been planned for and that no emotions, including depression, boredom while riding out storms or homesickness, was allowed to influence him.
He said his wife and his 4-yearold son had the harder end of the deal as they could not control anything that happened during his trip.
‘‘I was happy 100 per cent of the time out there,’’ he said.
‘‘At no stage did I go, ‘what am I doing?’ and that’s the planning and also the attitude and that attitude started here.’’
He hoped his presentation would inspire people to choose a goal and develop a passion.
He said many people asked how he kept a positive attitude during the trip and he attributed that to a positive perspective.
‘‘I might be in storm with six or eight meter waves, it might be blowing 50 knots, I might be getting bounced around like some kind of washing machine ride but I’m not lying in a hospital bed, I’m not suffering any serious ailments; I’m out here doing an amazing thing.’’
A friend of his was suffering from cancer at the time and has since passed away.
Donaldson said he didn’t just have a plan B, he had a plan C for everything and had three of every piece of equipment.
When he had to turn to plan C because of the once in a 40 year storm he followed his protocol and ended the trip.
Donaldson thanked the Matamata audience for helping create his positive attitude which he said could have only been developed in this town.
Donaldson did reveal that, if he could get sponsorship , then he would give the trans-Tasman trip one last crack.
SHOW AND TELL: The day after his presentation at a Lion’s event, Scott Donaldson spoke at the Matamata Intermediate School’s assembly and showed the students his kayak. INSPIRING KAYAKER: Scott Donaldson and his mum Charmaine in front of the kayak he used in his transTasman attempt.
FEATURED ARTIST: Jim Cotter, centre, with Matamata Art Society members, Jim Ayers, left, and David Stanley at Jim’s birthday celebrations earlier this year.