Twenty five ocean cowboys [including one cowgirl] rode the waves from Whanganui Inlet to Tarakohe yesterday in the first leg of the Yamaha Melanoma Foundation Ski-nZ challenge.
Boaties from around New Zealand are taking part in the event, including Boating New Zealand editor Rebecca Hayter who grew up in Golden Bay.
Members of the group are riding personal watercrafts [PWCs] around the top of the South Island and across Cook Strait to Wellington. On the way they will be raising funds to help the Melanoma Foundation to increase awareness about prevention, treatment and research of melanoma in New Zealand, and to help care for people with the disease.
Ideal conditions yesterday meant the troupe was able to enjoy the journey up Golden Bay's west coast and around Farewell Spit, even incorporating cave exploration into the adventure.
Despite a big wave rolling her off her PWC, Ms Hayter was enthusiastic about her journey.
"It was fantastic. It was just the most amazing weather for that part of the world. We found some caves and could go through them. For me, even just going through Westhaven, it all just started coming together.
"Around the Spit you could go into a foot of water and see the bottom, it was really calm with lovely clear water," she said.
The coastguard was watching over the group and followed the riders into Tarakohe, Ms Hayter said.
Another participant, Peter Whale, said his ride was fantastic, especially the caves around Wharariki Beach.
However, the fundraising aspect of the challenge was most important, Mr Whale said.
He took part in last year's challenge which went from Tauranga to Russell in the Bay of Islands.
Today the group will ride around Separation Point, through the Abel Tasman Park to Nelson, and is due to arrive in Port Nelson about 3.30pm.
On Wednesday the group heads to French Pass, carrying on past d'Urville and Stephen islands, Picton then the members plan to cross Cook Strait on March 15.
■ For details and to donate visit melanoma.org.nz/News/Ski-nZ-2014/ or SkiNZ on Facebook. Follow via Findmespot, visit: tinyurl.com/k3yugd9
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