Mata­mata made him the way he is

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By ABBY BROWN

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.

Photo: TERESA HAT­TAN Photo: ABBY BROWN

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.

Photo: TERESA HAT­TAN

FEA­TURED ARTIST: Jim Cot­ter, cen­tre, with Mata­mata Art So­ci­ety mem­bers, Jim Ay­ers, left, and David Stan­ley at Jim’s birth­day cel­e­bra­tions ear­lier this year.

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