Heroic nut completes Tasman kayak crossing

Kayaking in the open ocean is not something I would contemplate doing. Trying to kayak across the Tasman Sea seems nuts.

But Scott Donaldson has done it. He left Coff’s Harbour in northern NSW on 2 May 2018. Last night:

Kayaker Scott Donaldson has crossed the Tasman and reached New Plymouth after leaving Coffs Harbour in New South Wales two months ago.

It’s the first solo crossing of the Tasman in a kayak.

He encountered heavy seas and winds, and even sharks along the way.

Heroic, but I think also nuts to attempt something like this.

Mr Donaldson attempted the journey once before in 2014, but had to abandon the attempt after nearly three months and call for rescue while just 80km from New Zealand’s shore.

The kayak from his first attempt washed up on a New Plymouth beach more than a month after his rescue.

Before he started: ‘It’s more fear than respect’ – Kiwi kayaker Scott Donaldson launching new attempt to cross Tasman Sea

Last night: Watch: The moment Kiwi kayaker Scott Donaldson is carried onto beach after completing solo trans-Tasman voyage


There are shorter routes further south but the conditions are generally worse.

Others have tried and failed. See Sad end for true Aussie battler

Australian kayaker and adventurer Andrew McAuley would have been the first solo kayaker to paddle across the Tasman Sea had he reached his destination that day.

What made his attempt all the more difficult was the path he took — all below the 40th parallel, an area known for tumultuous and punishing weather conditions.

But instead, 30 nautical miles, or 54km off the coast, Andrew vanished after sending the New Zealand Coastguard a garbled message revealing his kayak was sinking and he needed rescue.

It was a small boat for Donaldson to be on the open ocean for months on/in.

Kayaker Scott Donaldson sets off from Coffs Harbour in Sydney.

Footage of Tasman Sea conditions taken from a ship (“This wasn’t the worst of it, this is just what I was able to catch on camera”):

Not my thing even on a large vessel.

Leave a comment


  1. Griff

     /  3rd July 2018

    Huge kahunas .
    Upmost respect for the man for doing it alone in such a small vessel powered by only his own effort.
    Unless you have been there you can not know how lonely the open ocean is.

  2. Corky

     /  3rd July 2018

    A magnificent bastard. Absolute respect for his phenomenal feat. And, should he have died during his quest, absolutely no empathy..Death sometimes is the only thing that can rest these driven souls.

    • Gezza

       /  3rd July 2018

      Yep. Good post. I always feel for the wives & kids & family of these adventurers. There’s nothing they can do to stop them. So they just have to pray & worry the whole time.

  3. Zedd

     /  3rd July 2018

    why did you do it ? cause it was there ! 😀
    well done Sir

  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  3rd July 2018

    Not a building inspector or road cone in sight.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  3rd July 2018

      Road cones are everywhere – I bet he hit one on the way over.

  5. Kitty Catkin

     /  3rd July 2018

    Why would someone bother to do this ? I can’t see the point of it at all.

    He’s not heroic, he did it for his own pleasure, not as a sacrifice.

    • Griff

       /  3rd July 2018


      “Modern developments in machinery and equipment have produced major changes in the technique of exploration. Aircraft and vehicles are in many cases replacing the human legs; oxygen bottles are giving new strength to air-starved lungs in the thin air that clothes the giants of the Himalayas; and radio communication has removed the loneliness from the most desolate land. But despite all this I firmly believe that in the end it is the man himself that counts. When the going gets tough and things go wrong the same qualities are needed to win through as they were in the past – qualities of courage, resourcefulness, the ability to put up with discomfort and hardship, and the enthusiasm to hold tight to an ideal and to see it through with doggedness and determination.”

      Challenge of the Unknown, 1958
      Sir Edmund Hillary

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  3rd July 2018

        This particular exercise still seems pointless to me. He did it to please himself, after all. Any discomfort etc was self-induced, so he doesn’t deserve praise for putting up with it.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  3rd July 2018

          Why is pleasing yourself pointless?

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  4th July 2018

            What’s the point of it then, except to please himself ? People are making too much of it.

            If he’d drowned, he’d have cost a fortune in searches and left a wife and family.


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