Pair paddle in to record books with trans-Tasman crossing
16 Jan 2008
Two Australians have set a world record by being the first to kayak across the Tasman Sea.
James Castrission and Justin Jones, took off from Forster in New South Wales and spent 62 days at sea before finally reaching New Plymouth in Taranaki - a journey of 3300 kilometres.
10,000 cheering supporters turned up to greet the pair as they staggered ashore and into the record books on January 13th.
A flotilla of kayaks and boats guided them to shore as they landed on Ngamotu Beach, New Plymouth.
''Thank you so much New Zealand. You guys rock. Kia kaha,'' they yelled to the gathered crowds. The pair said they had been spurred on by thoughts of a juicy steak at the end of their adventure.
The landing set a world record but was also a personal feat of endurance. During their crossing they got caught in currents which swept them in circles part-way through their journey.
''It was obviously frustrating being stuck in the cabin and going around in circles after two weeks in the Tasman, but we always knew we were going to get here. It was just a matter of time.''
Ushered up the beach with a powhiri - and a rendition of Waltzing Matilda - the men were handed bottles of beer as they spoke of a gruelling odyssey.
''It's phenomenal. We had an incredible time,'' Mr Castrission told waiting reporters.
They also spoke of fellow Australian Andrew McAuley, who died while attempting to kayak across the Tasman by himself last year. ''Andrew was an amazing adventurer. We have only got a small, small idea of what Andrew went through out there.
''Some nights when we were out there, we had each other to hold through the difficult moments.''
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