Matthew Theunissen

Matthew Theunissen is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Kayaker adjusts to life on land

Transtasman solo kayaker Scott Donaldson with his wife Sarah after being rescued. Photo / Glen Jeffrey
Transtasman solo kayaker Scott Donaldson with his wife Sarah after being rescued. Photo / Glen Jeffrey

Long-distance kayaker Scott Donaldson has never appreciated having a shave or a hot pie so much, but it's being able to move around in more than a metre of space that he's enjoying most.

Donaldson was forced to abort his epic trans-Tasman paddle on Friday due to bad weather after three months at sea.

He came agonisingly close to the Taranaki coast - he estimated he was about 55km away when he was winched onto a rescue helicopter.

Speaking from the comfort of the Devon Hotel in New Plymouth, Donaldson said he was taking a while to adjust to life on solid ground.

"The brain's still out there really. I'm still a bit wobbly, I'm certainly not firm on the ground, but the body feels really good and it's just incredible to be able to move around in space, considering I've been living in a metre by a metre."

The first thing he did when he got back on land, after devouring two hot pies, was to have a shave for the first time in over two months.

"The beard came off in the hospital, I couldn't stand it. I would have got rid of it ages ago if I had the opportunity. I don't know how guys do it, I really don't."

The disappointment of not completing his journey was yet to sink in, but he remained philosophical.

"It will probably grind me a bit later but at the end of the day there's nothing I could have done to get here. If I couldn't do it then I couldn't do it."

He was yet to consider making another attempt at the journey, which no-one has completed.

"The paddle I'd probably do again quite quickly, but the five years preparation I certainly wouldn't," he said.

"The more funding you have the easier it is. It'd take a bloody good deal to make me do it again."

- Herald on Sunday

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