Otherwise know as river kayak anti-swimming insurance. Or – keeping your event competitors alive a little longer. Or – if they do survive – hoping that they will return to future events. Many dont. They have been scared witless after learning the true force of the river water – and withdrawn from the expensive event by the provided Jet Boat – suffering hyperthermia. Very very sad.
The NZ Multisport Association has been trying to work out a better way to the future. Their intensions are honourable. I remember when some of them were beginners too. They clearly forget how it went for them.
It is a fact that in 1987 Anna Keeling (in full jest) ordered a 67 km long kayak off me. She quite rightly figured that she would be better to run the Waimak gorge – along the deck. And Nathan Fa’avae, was much the same when I was his friend, mentor and sole support crew at the 1993 Mountains to the Sea race. He had the choice of a loan Trident or an Eliminator. Testing proved that Nathan, at that time a tramper who excelled in mountainbike racing, was faster in the ‘slower’ boat. Not unusual at all! He used an Eliminator in the event.
For many Grade 2 instructors there is a problem. They live where real rivers are 500km+++ away. How can their clients learn about big-river currents like I did on my Buller River saga? The very best instructors can be hampered by lack of water. And the poor instructors may have the water – but just be driven by $$$$ signs. “Pay me $900 and in 3 days you will be Grade 2 qualified”. MMMMMM. MMMMMMMMMM. Tui Breweries said it first – Yeah right!
The prime reason that beginners swim in the Waimak is the fact that they are not in beginners kayaks. In fact – most multisport kayak manufacturers are the same as Anna and Nathan. They cannot remember what it was like to be a beginner. Their beginners kayaks looks similar to a Sisson Kayaks mid-range boat – Nucleus or Centrix.
How many other multisport kayak manufacturers make a model comparable to our Eliminator? And we used to make a model that was even more stable – but just as fast – The Delaware.
Why do these true beginners kayaks not sell like they used to? Some people substitute them for similar plastic sea kayaks = drag = slow. Some people need to have long-and-sleek-and-carbon on the roofrack – outside their local cafe. Sadly many people have absorbed the false advise written in the outdoors magazine multisport suppliments. Like “The Eliminator is only just fast enough not to be laughed at”. Disgusting mistruth – that has played a large part in .
My advise to all beginning Coast to Coasters – buy yourself a true beginners multisport kayak. Take some instruction on the strange ways that river currents work. Do some surfing at the beach in 400mm high waves – just to get used to the terrifying (but harmless) noise. Relax and go and enjoy yourself. Preserve your energy in the kayak – and have a strong final bike ride to the finish. Above all – finish. Dip your toe in both oceans!
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