Paddleboarders complete marathon journey

By Kiri Gillespie

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Kirsten Wilton, Ross Parker and Brent Bourgeois, of Tauranga, exhausted after 
paddling 350km on the Waikato River.
Kirsten Wilton, Ross Parker and Brent Bourgeois, of Tauranga, exhausted after paddling 350km on the Waikato River.

A team of Tauranga paddleboarders have made history by navigating the Waikato River to raise money for a sick Papamoa boy.

Ross Parker, Kirsten Wilton and Brent Bourgeois paddled for four days and four hours from the river's entrance at Lake Taupo though to Port Waikato, arriving on Saturday afternoon.

Ms Wilton said the 350km stretch of water was the longest to be paddled on stand-up paddleboards (SUP) in New Zealand.

"You start getting aches and pains and things like that. You say to yourself, 'what would Harrison be saying right now? He's got aches and pains, too'," Ms Wilton said.

Ten-year-old Harrison Mundy is being treated for Ewings sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.

Harrison and his parents Allan and Hayley Mundy are well known in the Bay of Plenty for their work through Surf Life Saving New Zealand.

Efforts to raise money to help pay for Harrison's treatment have now hit $36,000, including the $8000 through the SUP for Harrison page on a Give a Little website.

But the team would like to raise more.

"We know we can't fix it but if we can at least help take some of the pressure off for them," Ms Wilton said.

The team was assisted by five support crew.

Anyone interested in donating can do so at www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/supforharrison.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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