Australians make first successful kayak crossing to New Zealand

Click to follow
The Independent Online

By Jastinder Khera

Two Australian adventurers have become the first people to cross the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand by kayak.

James Castrission, 25 and Justin Jones, 24, travelled more than 2,050 miles across "The Ditch" in 62 days in a custom-built fibreglass kayak.

Not everything went to plan. They had to fight strong winds and tides and were forced to change their original plans.

"It was meant to be 2,000 kilometres (1,240 miles), but we took a detour in the middle," said Mr Jones. "It was obviously frustrating being stuck in the cabin and going in circles after two weeks in the Tasman, but we were going to get here, it was just a matter of time," he said.

On arrival at Ngamotu Beach on New Zealand's west coast, the two were greeted by a crowd of around 2,000 kayak enthusiasts and paid tribute to Andrew McAuley, an Australian kayaker who attempted the same feat but vanished last February after a desperate mayday call. "We have only got a small, small idea of what Andrew went through out there," Mr Castrission said. "Some nights when we were out there, we had each other to hold through the difficult moments."