Scott Donaldson will attempt to become the first person to successfully Kayak from Australia to New Zealand.
Scott Donaldson will attempt to become the first person to successfully Kayak from Australia to New Zealand. Contributed

Kayaker reattempts paddle to New Zealand after ocean rescue

SCOTT Donaldson came agonisingly close to being the first man to kayak to New Zealand in 2014 when he was rescued in 40-foot seas after two months at sea and a 2000km journey. 

His homeland was within sight, the shoreline was just 80km away, but as his damaged kayak was tossed around by epic sized waves and the emergency helicopter hovered above Donaldson said personal safety came first.

Many would say Donaldson, 47, was lucky to walk away from the adventure alive, but that's not how the Kiwi expat, who now lives in Coffs Harbour, sees it four years on.

Donaldson is readying himself to return to the Pacific Ocean in early April when swell and ocean weather conditions are right.

When Kiwi meteorologist Bob McDavitt gives the word about a window of five days of clear weather, the Coffs Harbour father will paddle towards Lord Howe Island hoping to reach New Plymouth within 70 days.

"The previous attempt in 2014 finished after 84 days," Donaldson said.

"Paddling half the Tasman with an unrepairable rudder, I was sitting out a once in 40-year storm, whilst looking at Mount Taranaki, 80km off the coast of New Zealand before our protocol dictated it unsafe to continue."

"This time around it's about that last 80 kilometres that didn't get done last time, it's about finishing the job off.

"There is still a lot of water to cover before we get to that point, but it's about the challenge.

"No one has done it solo by kayak before."

Track his voyage at


WEDNESDAY: AFTER coming painfully close to the finish line in 2014, former soccer coach Scott Donaldson is getting ready for his third attempt to become the first person to paddle the ditch solo.

When the weather conditions are just right, Donaldson will set off in April, kayaking 2200km from Coffs Harbour to Taranaki, New Zealand.

In his previous attempt in 2014, the 47-year-old was forced to abandon the mission just 80km off the New Zealand coast because of an unrepairable rudder and fierce storms.

An event will be held to support the campaign next Tuesday, March 20, at the Coffs Harbour Yacht Club from 5.30pm.

"Scott will recount his previous kayak that he did four years ago and then talk about how the new campaign is going to differ from last time," wife Sarah Donaldson said.

"The boat he will be travelling in will be present on site and there'll be a lot of Q&A.

"He was so close last time, we just need to make up that 80km. He has put his heart and soul into it.

"A lot of people can't believe he's doing the journey in a kayak, but the boat this time around is carbon and much lighter and faster. He's also got a lot more experience now."

There will be a $20 door charge that will go towards the campaign.

During his kayak, Donaldson will also be raising funds for Asthma New Zealand.

"Both Scott and our son have the condition. Scott is showing what you can do despite growing up with it."

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