There have been no strong leads in finding a stolen kayak belonging to an Olympic hopeful despite a $1000 reward being offered.

Zack Mutton was hoping to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics until his custom-made $4500 kayak was stolen from an Ōkere Falls riverbank on Friday.

On Sunday, a $1000 reward was offered for its return.

Zack Mutton's stolen kayak looked similar to this. Photo / Jamie Troughton Dscribe Media Services
Zack Mutton's stolen kayak looked similar to this. Photo / Jamie Troughton Dscribe Media Services

He is desperate to get it back before this weekend when the New Zealand canoe slalom team trials are being held.


The kayak was pinched after he left it on a bank while he went to get his car.

The 18-year-old is gutted. He has been dreaming of going to the Olympics since he was a child.

Mutton's mother, Amanda, told the Rotorua Daily Post yesterday they hoped the reward would tug at someone's conscience to get the kayak back but so far they had had no luck.

Meanwhile, their "plan B" had just fallen over. They were hoping to get a damaged kayak flown to New Zealand but a mishap at the airport in Amsterdam meant it had been left behind at the airport.

Amanda said they had got the replacement kayak from Prague to Amsterdam but it got left off the plane so was now sitting at the airport there, unable to make it in time for this weekend.

Their "plan C" has come about thanks to a Czech friend of Zach's, Vit Prindis, who had kindly offered him his kayak to race in this weekend.

Amanda said Prindis is a former world champion and is in New Zealand training and it was very kind of him to give Zach his kayak.

He has spent since Monday trying to get used to the kayak, despite it usually taking a good month to settle into something new.

She said the whole ordeal had been exhausting and expensive but it had been made better by the kind offers of help and "lovely people" who had rallied around them.

She said the Rotorua Lakes Council was being helpful by going through CCTV footage from the area this week.

"Zach is coping really well and is determined to stay positive and that's what you have to do isn't it?"