Godzone Interview - Aaron Prince from winners Yealands
The adventure racing rivalry and friendship between Kiwi's Aaron Prince & Chris Forne has spanned over a decade and thousands of kilometers of racing in the wilderness around the world. "I regret getting Chris into racing in a way, he is too strong. I have been 2nd or 3rd nine times at the world champs now and Chris has been in front of me nearly every time! The last two times we beat Seagate Chris wasn't racing, it's way more fun racing with him than against him." Prince explained after crossing the line together in team Yealands Family Wines, taking victory in the Godzone Fiordland edition.
Aaron Prince, Dan Busch, Chris Forne & Emily Forne
Photo credits Godzone
Yealands Chris Forne, Emily Forne, Dan Busch and Aaron Prince had traversed the depths of the regions valleys, peaks and fiords by trek, pack raft, MTb & kayak over 540kms taking victory back in Te Anau in a time of five days thirteen hours.
"It was really cool to get asked to join Yealands at the last minute, great to race with Emily and Chris Forne who I know well and Dan Busch who is a great character and very skilled racer. We had an awesome time, there was always lots of positive energy flowing in our team which makes things easy. The scenery in the race was stunning. One of the highlights were packrafting on Lake Hakapoua on a beautiful still moonlit night with Swordfox in hot pursuit 10 minutes behind us. Another great moment was paddling down the Waitutu River and seeing two crazy people almost jump into the river to greet us they were so excited. Turns out it was Marcel Haganer and Simone Maier (Ed - top multisport couple) who had been dropped off by helicopter two days earlier to check on teams passing through the Slaughterburn Hut. They had no communications so were starting to get very anxious when we turned up about a day later than they expected. They walked along beside us for about 10 minutes yabbering away about all sorts of stuff, so happy to see some ears that would listen to them."
Chris Forne plotting the quickest route
Yealands were in a race long battle with all Kiwi team Swordfox (Brent Edwards, Ash Whitehead, Stuart Lynch, Georgia Whitla), edging away in the closing stages of the adventure to win by a margin just over 2 hours, with even more pro multisporters on hand supporting the event.
"A similar thing happened as we were coming up to the rafts provided on Lake Herries in the Kepler Mountains. We were travelling extremely slowly through some horrendous blocky mossy bush so they must of heard us coming for ages and thought we were lost so called out 'kooeee'. Of course we thought the call was from Swordfox catching us so got a bit stressed but it turns out it was Braden Currie (Ed - Ironman NZ & Coast to Coast champion) and his dad. They had also been dropped off a couple of days earlier by helicopter and were super excited to see us. They also got in about a million words each while we put on lifejackets and paddled off as quick as we could in case Swordfox was coming. I'm sure if he'd had a wetsuit Braden would have swum after us to keep talking!"
Chris and Emily Forne packrafting on Lake Te Anau
"I must say it's way more fun being on a team with Chris than racing against him. The guy is unbelievable I guess part of the secret is that he does this sort of stuff nearly every weekend! Good on him. And because Em is also doing these trips most weekends with Chris the course suited her perfectly- the rougher and more technical the better for her, what an athlete! As for Bushy, if my feet had been as sore as his I would have done a whole lot of grizzling, he is one tough bugger that's for sure!"
Unnamed team Teams paddling Lake Hauroko
At the age of 17 Prince raced alongside his mum Viv at the 1996 Southern Traverse, then 1998 in Manapouri with an American team. In 1999 he was invited by Nathan Fa'avae to join his pro team which included legions of the sport Kathy Lynch and Steve Gurney in Motueka which they won. Over the past decade Prince has raced in American and then Swedish team Haglofs Silva for which he is planning to go to the world champs at ReUnion Island.
Aaron & Nathan pic ARWC 2015