A Guide for the First Time Coast to Coaster

The Coast to Coast is an amazing experience. Every February people from all over the world line up to realise their dreams. Each with a different reason for being there and a different goal for finishing. Whether you just want to complete the race or are dreaming of something bigger this is a great place to start if you are going to be a kayaker! 

Our Topsport team is well placed to guide you as you take on this new challenge and start learning a new skill. Our team have all competed in the race countless times and each year we will be on the start line alongside you. 


Step One:

- Sign up for a Grade II Certificate Course

 A Grade II Certificate is a requirement if you are going to be doing the kayaking section of the Coast to Coast. You will come away from your 4 day Grade II Certificate Course with the basic moving water skills you need to get your kayaking started. Our course covers all the essential paddling and safety skills you will need to get your Certificate.


Step Two:

- Join your local kayak club

In Canterbury this is the Arawa Canoe Club on the Avon. Arawa has a full range of kayaks and paddles that are available to members to paddle all year round. They have a good selection of multisport boats so you can start to work out which one may suit you. The club also offers group-training sessions www.arawacanoeclub.org.nz


Step Three:

- Find a boat

After your course is complete you will need to find a boat to race in. There are some great novice kayaks around with our picks being the Wildabout Shadow, JKK Eclipse 5.7 & 5.2 and the Flow Aspire. These boats can all be purchased new or second-hand. If you are looking at buying a new one you will need to allow for manufacturing time, which can often be months rather than weeks. When looking at second hand boats it is a great idea to get one of our team to check it out prior to purchasing it. That way we can make sure it is going to suit you. Getting the right boat that works for you is essential.


Step Four:

- Build up your river experience

Now that you have done your course and got a boat you need to get out and start training. Get your roof racks sorted so you are mobile. Reach out to the paddlers you have meet on your Grade II Course or at your local club and start paddling together. There are plenty of great training spots in Christchurch offering a variety of different types of water. Talk to our team about the spots they recommend you start with.


Step Five:

- The Next Step with Ryan O'Connor 

 This is a great weekend to continue improving your kayaking. This training course is designed to help you build confidence, improve your boat control, river reading, rapid running and self rescue skills on the Waimakariri Gorge. This is your opportunity to really take charge of your paddling and gain some further instruction with our team. 


Step 6:

- Guided River Trip

At the beginning of November Topsport Kayaking runs Guided Trips down the Waimakariri Gorge. A guided trip is an important part of your race preparation. Our instructors will help you to identify the best lines to look for on race day. This trip will help build on your moving water skills as you experience the Rock Gardens, Hamilton Rapid, Broken River, White Rock Rapid and more.
The kayaking section of the Coast to Coast can be such an exciting and enjoyable section of the race. To have good race you need to get the right gear and put the in time to become a good kayaker. If you follow these above suggestions we know you will be successful.

Contact us today to talk about your plan.