Two weeks ago it was a shark, now it's a lightning storm slowing the progress of former Rotorua swim coach Scott Donaldson as he kayaks across the Tasman toward New Zealand.

Though the weather has been kind to him this week, a fierce lightning storm struck his area at 7am on Saturday, which was a scary moment for Donaldson as his kayak and paddle is made of carbon fibre – an excellent conductor of electricity.

Team leader Nigel Escott said Donaldson had made incredible progress this week, despite the forced stoppage on Saturday.

"He's done really well this week. The conditions are great, he's in a good current and there is a tail wind, so he's making hay while the sun shines.


"The only thing that has slowed him was to wait out the lightning storm and to not be moving his paddle through the air."

Donaldson now lies around 700km to the northwest of Taranaki with excellent wind conditions aiding his progress as he attempts to be the first person to kayak the Tasman Sea solo.

In a 24-hour period from Friday to Saturday this week he covered 85km, aided by a favourable tailwind.

"The conditions are so good at the moment, that he's actually paddling for up to 20 hours a day. Even paddling at night on occasion," Escott said.

Earlier in the week, Donaldson managed to paddle out of a bad weather and current pattern, essentially having to backtrack and doing a full circle.

Donaldson left Coffs Harbour on the New South Wales Coast on May 2 and made it to Lord Howe Island in 10 days – a distance of 586km. Waiting out a storm for seven days, he resumed his journey to New Zealand on May 18, which means he has been at sea now for nearly a month.

Donaldson is aiming to make landfall on the Taranaki Coast – a distance of 2200km although he will likely paddle 3000km.

With his transtasman kayak attempt, Donaldson is raising funds for asthma research. Donaldson himself is an asthma sufferer.


Follow Scott Donaldson's progress via the website