Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tim Taylor on last leg of kayaking marathon

Tim Taylor is looking forward to finishing his circumnavigation of New Zealand.

Tim Taylor is looking forward to finishing his circumnavigation of New Zealand. Photo / Supplied.

As Tauranga kayaker Tim Taylor nears the City of Sails on the last leg of his solo circumnavigation of New Zealand, his mind is on what it will feel like to complete this mammoth feat.

Mr Taylor, 24, left Tauranga on November 27 in a bid to make history with the first complete solo circumnavigation of New Zealand by sea kayak.

To date he has paddled 4470km of the 5500km journey. He's spent 91 days paddling and 76 days stuck on shore waiting out bad weather or rough seas.

His journey is about 80 per cent complete - he has less than 1100km to go and expects to paddle into Tauranga in about a month.

His support team, parents Paul and Lyn Taylor, have been following their son around the country. Lyn said her son was looking forward to the end of the trip.

"I saw him last weekend when he was in Kawhia.

"I took his nana over and he's in a really good frame of mind. Even though the weather's held him back a bit, he really wants to finish and he knows it's close."

Mr Taylor paddled from Port Waikato to Piha this week and was greeted by a local surf lifesaving crew, as well as TV3. He attempted this leg earlier in the week, however rough conditions saw him turn back and wait for the sea to settle.

When Mrs Taylor spoke to Piha surf lifesavers on Thursday morning, they told her the conditions were "close to perfect" and Mr Taylor would have no trouble with the usually-large swell.

On his blog, Mr Taylor said: "I'm really looking forward to getting this thing finished, but there's still a ways to go yet so I hope you all enjoy the last leg of my trip as much as I do."

Mr Taylor is paddling anti-clockwise around New Zealand to make the most of tidal flows.

On a good day, he could cover as much as 100km, if he was lucky enough to have ideal tail-wind conditions, his father said.

He averaged a little over 6km per hour.

Cellphone coverage around the remote areas of the South Island was limited but he used a satellite telephone to keep in contact. He also has a GPS SPOT device which monitors and updates his journey.

He has an emergency locator beacon and wears a lifejacket as he paddles his 5.4m Mission Eco Bezhig kayak.

Follow Mr Taylor's progress at

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