Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is a journalist based in Auckland.

Donaldson's Trans-Tasman kayak washes up

Scott Donaldson, left, and the kayak he used on his trans-Tasman crossing attempt. Photo / Rotorua Daily Post / Supplied
Scott Donaldson, left, and the kayak he used on his trans-Tasman crossing attempt. Photo / Rotorua Daily Post / Supplied

Scott Donaldson's kayak has been found on a Taranaki beach six weeks after it was abandoned off the coast.

Mr Donaldson was rescued just shy of completing a gruelling trans-Tasman crossing attempt last month.

The Rotorua man, who was aiming to become the first person to paddle solo across the Tasman Sea, had to abandon his custom-built kayak on July 11 after spending 83 days at sea.

He was winched to safety by a helicopter only 90km shy of the Taranaki coast. By then, Donaldson had already paddled more than 2200km.

Helicopter pilot John Funnell, who had been helping Donaldson search for the missing kayak, said it was located by a New Plymouth helicopter pilot about midday today.

"Scott is very grateful that his kayak has been located and wishes to thank all involved in finding it and making it safe."

Taranaki farmer Troy Stevenson said the kayak had been found "down the back of our farm".

A photo posted to his Facebook page showed the kayak covered in debris but seemingly intact.

The kayak had last been sighted on July 15, about 37km off Farewell Spit.

Donaldson had almost reached the Taranaki coast when he was hampered by several days of strong northeast winds, and eventually forced to abandon the attempt.

- APNZ

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