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Round-NZ paddler ashore at end of S Island leg

ADAM ROBERTS
Last updated 10:55 02/04/2011
Kayaker Tim Taylor is welcomed to Nelson yesterday during his bid to circumnavigate New Zealand.
MARTIN DE RUYTER/The Nelson Mail
MADE THE CUT: Kayaker Tim Taylor is welcomed to Nelson yesterday during his bid to circumnavigate New Zealand.

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A 10-hour day paddling through choppy seas might not be everyone's cup of tea, but for Tauranga kayaker Tim Taylor, it is just another day at the office.

Mr Taylor paddled into Nelson harbour yesterday, as part of his history-making attempt at circumnavigating the country in his sea kayak.

The 23-year-old tractor driver and former winemaker has been kayaking since high school, and said the journey was about ticking off an entry on his "bucket list" before he had kids, a house and "things to pay for".

"It's just a good time in my life to get it done," he said.

The journey began in November, and has already taken him from his home port of Tauranga all the way down to Stewart Island, and back up the West Coast.

He spends each day paddling along the coast, before either sleeping in his tent or staying with supporters and fans in each town.

For food he eats pre-made meals given to him by sponsors, and provides detailed reviews on the website he uses to chart his progress.

Five months of travel had got him used to the daily grind, he said.

"I just call the kayak my day job. It's very much like going to work each morning. The stuff I really enjoy is when you get on dry land and meet people. The rest of the journey is like any other – just one stroke after another."

The journey had its share of frustrations, with bad weather stalling the trip several times, and for as long as three weeks in Fiordland, he said.

"But I pretty much raced up the West Coast. Yesterday getting around Farewell Spit was a really significant step for me; it's basically the whole South Island done. Just the Cook Strait to go."

Crossing the strait on the way down had proven a challenge, with his rudder breaking meaning he had to paddle much harder.

Mother Lyn, speaking from Tauranga, said the journey was almost as exciting for her as it was for her son.

"I would cry with how proud I am," she said.

The only scare had come when his GPS system had malfunctioned, sending out a distress beacon by mistake, she said.

Follow Mr Taylor's adventures on his website, nzkayaker.com.

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- The Nelson Mail

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