Torpedo7 kayaking expert Tom Patrick shares his favourite paddling spots, tips for beginners, and most memorable moment on the water.
We are lucky in New Zealand to have so many diverse and exciting kayaking locations and for me, there are two that stick out. I've been based in Taupō for the last few years and have fallen in love with the stunning Lake Taupō. Early morning paddles on glassy water with a hint of fog offer tranquillity that's unmatched. On top of that, there is so much to explore, from the stunning shoreline to the incredible Māori Rock Carvings.
The Whanganui River is another favourite as it's a complete immersion into nature. There are also fun, grade two rapids to add a bit of excitement. This is a must-do for all kayaking enthusiasts.
My top tip for kayaking newbies is to find someone to go with. It's more fun with a pal, it pushes you to adventure further, lets you learn from experienced paddlers, and it's always safer to paddle in groups. Always let someone know where you're going, where you will park, how long you plan to go for and when you'll be back.
Also, fine-tune your set-up and get a kayak that suits you and your needs. This includes everything from a paddle that's the right length and width to a quality paddle vest. If you are comfy in your gear, it's one less excuse to stop you from getting out there.
When it comes to buying a kayak, look for something that suits your activity of choice, whether that's river adventures, fishing or cruising. If you are wanting to fish, a kayak with a rudder is great for helping you keep straight and for navigating swells. If you are wanting to explore at leisure, grab yourself a kayak that's stable and easy to manoeuvre, with plenty of space to carry all your snacks and refreshments. Everyone's requirements are different so it helps to chat with the experts.
One of my favourite kayaking moments happened while I was exploring the outer edges of Queen Charlotte Sound. I was surfing a rather large wave along a point when up popped a pod of dusky dolphins. They cruised alongside me for close to half an hour, checking in and playing in the waves next to me.
For your chance to win a Torpedo7 Kākāpō woollen kayak, the world's first kayak made with NZ-grown wool, go to nzherald.co.nz/win, fill out the entry form with your contact details and tell us where would you go on your first adventure in a Kākāpō.
The competition closes at 11.59pm on October 23. Terms and conditions apply.