Poor weather hampers Cook Strait crossing

JODY O'CALLAGHAN
Last updated 17:20 19/11/2012

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Three surf ski paddlers crossing the Cook Strait today in memory of the first man to swim the distance has whittled down to one.

Fifty years after Barrie Devenport entered the history books as the first person to swim Cook Strait, members of his former club, Worser Bay Life Saving Club, today launched an attempt to paddle across the Strait - in just three hours.

They left the South Island on the kayak-style boards at 2pm.

But poor weather conditions proved to be a challenge, with Brook Rapson, 40, pulling out first, followed by 14-year-old Tom Newman at about the half-way point.

Murray Phipps-Black, 53, has so far lasted the distance, with his North Island landing planned for Oteranga Bay, which is known to many as Cable Bay, at about 6pm.

From the support boat, son Zane told The Dominion Post he was going strong. ''He is going to make it all the way.''

Crossing co-ordinator Phil Rush said the weather had not been what it was supposed to, and the conditions forced them to veer away from their original destination of Island Bay.

If it cleared by the time the remaining paddler got to Cable Bay, he may continue on for another two and a half hours.

''It's going well. The weather could have been a little bit better, but it's never dead calm out here,'' he said.

The paddle is described as a commemorative crossing to mark tomorrow's 50th anniversary of Devenport's November 20, 1962 swim.

Contact Jody O'Callaghan
Email: jody.o'callaghan@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @miss_jodyo

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- The Dominion Post

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