$1000 re­ward for Olympic hope­ful’s stolen kayak

Rotorua Daily Post - - Local News - Saman­tha Ol­ley

A Ro­torua kayaker hop­ing to qual­ify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is of­fer­ing a $1000 re­ward for his cus­tom­made, $4500 kayak, that was stolen from an O¯ kere Falls river­bank on Fri­day.

Zack Mut­ton is des­per­ately search­ing for his kayak ahead of the New Zealand ca­noe slalom team trial this week.

“We have to qual­ify top three in New Zealand to go and race in the world cham­pi­onships. If I’m not able to race, I miss out on points.”

Mut­ton be­gan kayak­ing be­fore he could walk and has aimed for the Olympics for as long as he can re­mem­ber.

“I have ded­i­cated my life to this sport,” he told the Ro­torua Daily Post.

On Fri­day morn­ing, Mut­ton fin­ished train­ing, put his kayak on the bank and went to get his car.

When he re­turned, it was gone, leav­ing the 18-year-old “gut­ted”.

“I’ve trained for the last few years to get there [the Olympics]. It’s my whole life.”

Mut­ton’s mother, Amanda, told the Ro­torua Daily Post yes­ter­day they had “no clues yet”.

“We are of­fer­ing the re­ward to hope­fully bring more in­for­ma­tion for­ward. We can’t re­place years of work, it’s so dev­as­tat­ing . . . we are hop­ing the coun­cil gets back to us on Mon­day with sur­veil­lance footage from the site.”

Mut­ton is go­ing to try rac­ing in an­other kayak this week­end. He used it last year, but it is cur­rently in the Czech Repub­lic, in a dam­aged state, and it takes a month to get used to an­other kayak. “He’s hop­ing to get it flown back to New Zealand and re­paired here. He feels that’s his best chance of a ‘plan B’.

“Even though it will be slower as it’s been bro­ken and got a bit of wa­ter in it, and ex­tra fric­tion, we are still hop­ing it comes to­gether.”

Amanda Mut­ton said the whole or­deal had been “crazy”.

A Ro­torua man ap­proached the Ro­torua Daily Post to of­fer fi­nan­cial sup­port to the Mut­tons after the theft. Amanda said that was “amaz­ing”. “It’s been very ex­pen­sive, not only los­ing the kayak but of­fer­ing a re­ward and try­ing to get the bro­ken one flown back here via Am­s­ter­dam.”

Zack Mut­ton’s stolen 3.5m kayak was made in the Czech Repub­lic a month ago.

He de­scribed it as “use­less to oth­ers but it’s price­less to me”.

“Ev­ery kayak is cut to the style of the pad­dler, the weight of the pad­dler, the per­sonal pref­er­ence of the pad­dler.”

He said rac­ing in a dif­fer­ent kayak “could be the dif­fer­ence be­tween win­ning or com­ing dead-last”.

A po­lice spokes­woman con­firmed po­lice¯had re­ports of a kayak stolen from Okere Falls some­time be­tween 10.30am and 12pm on Fri­day.

Photo / Jamie Troughton / Dscribe Me­dia Ser­vices

Zack Mut­ton’s kayak has been stolen.

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