Thought an overnight kayak trip was a big deal? Well spare a thought for Scott Donaldson who is about to embark on an epic journey to be the first person to kayak from Australia to New Zealand and Ecosure will be right there with him as a keen sponsor.
He was winched to safety after 84 days at sea in 2014, but adventurer Scott will take off from Coffs Harbour in an attempt to become the first person to kayak from Australia to New Zealand solo.
Hopefully it will be second time lucky for Scott who previously came incredibly close to landfall in Taranaki when heavy winds forced him to abandon the mission. After paddling half the Tasman with an irreparable rudder and enduring a once-in-40-year storm just 80 km off the coast of New Zealand, Scott’s protocol dictated it was unsafe to continue. But now, when NZ weather guru Bob McDavitt gives the word later this month, Scott, 47, will set off on his 2,200km journey from Coffs Harbour to Taranaki.
Scott is a former athlete in multisport, triathlon, cross country and adventure racing and represented NZ in several including at the Commonwealth games in triathlon. For 12 years, he owned a coaching business that centred on swimming. That expanded to various sports, particularly endurance and ‘outside the box’ events.
“This kayak attempt was fairly obvious to me as I’ve got the skill set to do it. There have been 15 attempts in the past, which have all finished in various forms of failure from the worst type through to my last attempt which got very close.”
Once he sets off, Scott said his biggest hurdle will be Mother Nature. The tricky part of the Tasman is the weather, you generally get two days of good progress followed by two to four days of the Tasman trying to push you back. If weather conditions are favourable, Scott aims to paddle for about 16 hours a day. Though he will be alone, communication is by satellite phone with his shore team, with text messages exchanged from weatherman McDavitt and daily check-ins with his team leader Nigel Escott at base.
With design improvements made to his boat from the original craft, Scott’s new vessel has a length of 6.3m and 0.76m wide, is half the weight and has a bigger cabin for extra comfort and shelter.
During the attempt, he will initially burn roughly 11,000 calories per day, but his body is expected to become more efficient at around 6,000 calories. He will get his nutrition via a mixture of protein shakes and Radix dehydrated food. Drinking water is from a small desalinator – a device that makes clean drinking water from seawater.
An asthma sufferer, Scott has teamed up with Asthma New Zealand to raise awareness of the condition.
Ecosure wishes Scott well. You can follow all the action on his website or facebook page as he expects to leave before the end of this month.