NZOIA Kayak 1 Training / NZOIA River Safety 1
Pre-Hospital Emergency First Aid
Len Smyth is the Company Director and primary owner of Topsport Kayaking. He has owned Topsport for over 20 years. Len developed a passion for kayaking in his twenties. This lead him to signing up for his first Coast to Coast, after his first race he was hooked. Now with 14 completed Coast to Coast races to his name Len can safely say he knows all the ins and outs of this iconic event. Len started paddling the Waimakiriri in 1991 and has been guiding since 1998. Len has literally logged hundreds of trips on the Waimak! As the Company Director Len’s role is focused on keeping our safety polices and procedures current as well as overseeing the daily requirements of all our paddlers, from equipment selection and setup through to kayak and paddle repairs. Len is a strong supporter of multisport in Canterbury and has been contributing to the sport in so many ways for years. He has taking on the role of organising the safety management for the Classic River Race which is a huge undertaking. In 2018 Sam Manson joined Len in ownership of Topsport Kayaking. With Sam on board we are excited about the future and are looking forward to continuing our rich history within the multisport community.
Diploma in Outdoor Instructing and Guiding | NZOIA Kayak 1 | NZOIA Multisport Instructor
Pre-Hospital Emergency Care First Aid
Sam joined Topsport Kayaking at the end of 2015. He gained his Diploma in Outdoor Instruction and Guiding in 2016 while studying at Tai Poutini Polytechnic. The year was specialised in advanced white water kayaking rescue, white water kayaking instruction/guiding, advanced white water rafting rescue, white water raft guiding, advanced bush and mountain skill, meteorology, teaching and more. He has over 10 years of white water kayaking experience and did his first course at the reputable NZ Kayak School Murchison in 2009. Sam began paddling on the Waimakariri River in 2012 as he prepared for his first Longest Day Coast to Coast in 2013. Since then Sam has consecutivley finished 5 Longest Days inside the top 10. In 2019 Sam finished runner up behind Dougal Allan. He has won the prestigous Waimakariri Classic River Race twice. Sam is at the top of the game as one of NZ's best Multisport athletes and he is keen to share his knowledge with you. Sam is one of just a handful of instructors in New Zealand to have both his NZOIA Kayak 1 and NZOIA Multisport qualification.
LEAD Kayaking Instructor/Guide
Diploma in Outdoor Instructing and Guiding | NZOIA Multisport Instructor
Pre-Hospital Emergency Care First Aid
Ryan joined the Topsport Kayaking team just prior to the 2018 Kathmandu Coast to Coast. Ryan is a elite whitewater paddler and had to be strongly convinced to give multisport kayaking and teaching a go. Luckily for us he has stayed and is valuable part of our team. Ryan gained his Diploma in Outdoor Instruction and Guiding in 2016 while studying at Tai Poutini Polytechnic alongside Sam Manson and Eric van den Broeke . Like Sam the year was specialised in advanced white water kayaking rescue, white water kayaking instruction/guiding, advanced white water rafting rescue, white water raft guiding, advanced bush and mountain skill, meteorology, teaching and more. Whilst Ryan's passion lies with Grade V rapids he has definitely found a love for multisport as well. In 2020 he raced with Sam Manson and Alex Hunt in the Kathmandu Coast to Coast posting the third fastest kayak split for the race.
ROAD/MOUNTAIN RUNNING GUIDE AND COACH
Dan Joined the Topsport team as a Goat Pass mountain guide and running coach in 2017. Dan is one of NZ’s top runners and holds the fastest time over the Coast to Coast Goat Pass mountain run course. He is currently focused on road running however he will always be just at home on the challenging terrain of the Southern Alps. Dan was born and bred in the mountains. Dan is a very friendly and polite person who will certainly make your Goat Pass trip or running technique session is one to remember. His knowledge and experience will ensure you come out of the trips and sessions feeling satisfied, stronger, smarter and above all safe.
LEAD KAYAKING INSTRUCTOR/GUIDE
ERIC VAN DEN BROEKE
The hero we didn't deserve but we got anyway. In November 2020, whilst lacking staff, Eric came to the rescue from his previous job at Franz Josef Galcier guides. From having never touched a multisport kayak to becoming one of our best instructors on the team he took off on his budding multisport instructional career. Having previously studied at Tai Poutini Polytechnic and gaining his Diploma in outdoor instruction and guiding, Eric has been paddling whitewater around New Zealand and as far afield as the USA. He is a keen grade 5 kayaker and is an athlete in his own special way. Specialising in hilarious chat and great stories, it is a privilege to be guided and taught by Eric!
Kate Cambie is the Office Manager at Topsport Kayaking. Kate began kayaking in 2005 with a goal of racing in the individual two-day Coast to Coast. From there her interest in multisport began to grow. Her passion for kayaking and customer service is combined in her role at Topsport and Kate will often be your first point of contact. Kate is a previous winner of the Classic River Race claiming the prestigious title 3 times. Kate posted the fastest female kayak split at the 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020 Kathmandu Coast to Coast. In 2020 Kate set a new record for the fastest female kayak split in the history of the race.