Poor Knights Crossing - Ski wins to Keys and Cairns
It just appeared from nowhere, graceful, majestic and at one with the elements.
Upon sighting the boat, he simply pitched his flight path up and dipped his wings right, then breezed over the cockpit windscreen, almost seeming to use the wind sheer of the cabin to propel his flight past and away.
The albatross, glancing as if to register his displeasure at our presence, then moved off, obviously with more important survival related issues to deal with.
Transfixed by the vision of the albatross, it took a moment to register the next sight on the horizon. It first appeared like some sort of brooding dark cloud sitting on the horizon. Until the cloud began moving and morphing, then we realised what we were looking at.
The huge flock of Buller’s shearwaters stretched for at least 200 metres in both directions, and even from a significant distance away the shrill chaotic calls were still audible. It was one of the sure signs of spring’s seasonal arrival.
The Poor Knights Islands are the only nesting place in the world for these sea birds. They migrate annually to North America, and come back home to breed in burrows in the ground, shared with tuatara, a dinosaur lizard
Then the dark grey fin popped the surface of the ocean, at first mistaken for a shark fin, it was then identified as the unmistakeable fin of a tropical sunfish.
It is highly unlikely any of the paddlers powering their way over the ocean in the annual Poor Knights Crossing ocean event were aware of nature’s show unfurling around them. They were focused on the surging tailwind conditions that were pushing them toward the finish line at the Poor Knights Marine Reserve.
The hoots and hollers of the paddlers as they surfed down the face of the wind generated swell only added to the spectacle from the viewing platform of the race control boat.
The action at the pointy end of the race pack though was equally dramatic.
Minus a large collection of Aoatearoa’s best surf ski proponents and the usually smattering of Australian paddle wizards due to the ongoing ravages of Covd, this year’s title was always going to be a wide open affair.
In the end Ben Keys, a paddler based in Otautahi Christchurch surged to an impressive victory over a small but talented field, but not before he was put under the microscope by not just other ski paddlers like Toby Brooke and Sam Newlands, but a powerhouse waka ama paddler from the far north called Tupuria King.
King finished third overall, just minutes behind Keys, and slipping over the finish line inside the massive Rikoriko seacave at the Poor Knights just ahead of Newlands, adding more lustre to his burgeoning reputation as an ocean athlete.
Former Olympian Anne Cairns won the womens ski division and Emma Van Berkel defended her open womens waka ama title in impressive times as well.
The overall champion was the ocean here though, Te Moana Nui A Kiwa, the ocean that Kiwa sailed, provided not just the playground for the paddlers in this year’s race, but a canvas of nature. Added to the paddling battles was the sheer majesty of Papatuanuku, our earth mother, along with just a gentle seasoning from Tawhirimatea and Tangaroa, the wind and sea gods.
Until next year, Kia kaha, kia māia, kia manawanui, kia tupato.
(Be strong, be brave, be steadfast, be careful)
Photos Scotty Sinston
|1||Ben Keys||1h 36m 41s||Ski|
|2||Toby Brooke||1h 38m 00s||Ski|
|3||Tupuria King||1h 38m 59s||Waka|
|4||Samuel Newlands||1h 39m 54s||Ski|
|5||Reid Forrest||1h 42m 17s||Ski|
|6||Daniel Peacock||1h 44m11s||Ski|
|7||Luke wainui||1h 45m 32s||Dwaka|
|8||Paora Monk||1h 45m 32s||Dwaka|
|9||Jonathon Alsop||1h 45m 33s||Ski|
|10||Eric Holland-Waterson||1h 50m 44s||Waka|
|11||Jack Wormald||1h 51m 47s||Waka|
|12||Brad Huntley||1h 53m 25s||Waka|
|13||Brad Anderson||1h 53m 25s||Waka|
|14||Kacey Ngataki||1h 54m 13s||Waka|
|15||Mark Malaki-Williams||1h 54m 37s||Waka|
|16||Kier Henry||1h 56m 29s||Waka|
|17||Myka Nuku||1h 56m 30s||Waka|
|18||Lance Hibbert||1h 57m 01s||Waka|
|19||Anne Cairns||1h 57m 09s||Ski|
|20||Simon Wolfgram||1h 57m 09s||Waka|
|21||Danial Bremner||1h 58m 18s||Ski|
|22||Carly Tyler||1h 58m 18s||Ski|
|23||Mitch Zandstra||1h 58m 18s||Waka|
|24||Justin Roberts||1h 59m 19s||Waka|
|25||Matt Archer||2h 02m 03s||Waka|
|26||Ross Heald||2h 02m 50s||Ski|
|27||Murray Marquet||2h 03m 12s||Waka|
|28||Shayne Edmondson||2h 03m 33s||Ski|
|29||Jb Ioaba||2h 03m 37s||Waka|
|30||Jon Lobb||2h 03m 54s||Waka|
|31||El Gordo||2h 04m 40s||Waka|
|32||Warren Smith||2h 05m 24s||Ski|
|33||Daniel Wikaira||2h 07m 05s||Waka|
|34||Steven Outwin||2h 07m 35s||Waka|
|35||James Young||2h 09m 32s||Waka|
|36||Emma van Berkel||2h 09m 44s||Waka|
|37||Seb Head||2h 09m 44s||Waka|
|38||Jason Ashford||2h 11m 04s||Waka|
|39||Rutene Gabel||2h 12m 38s||Waka|
|40||Arno Theijessen||2h 12m 40s||Waka|
|41||Vesna Radonich||2h 13m 58d||Waka|
|42||Lionell Nel||2h 14m 31s||Waka|
|43||Sean Timoney||2h 14m 47s||Waka|
|44||Peter Hartley||2h 15m 21s||Ski|
|45||Callum O'Leary||2h 16m 25s||Waka|
|46||Jamie Troughton||2h 17m 08s||Ski|
|47||taare ruakere||2h 19m 42s||Waka|
|48||Ngaire Pehi||2h 22m 09s||Waka|
|49||Greg Alexander||2h 38m 01s||Ski|
|50||Zoe Hovarth||2h 38m 19s|
|51||Whare Randell||2h 39m 32s||Waka|
|52||Mars Dempster||2h 47m 28s||Dwaka|
|53||Mars Dempster||2h 47m 28s||Dwaka|
|54||julie marriott||3h 03m 34s||Waka|