Keynote Speakers


Sandy Robson

25 years ago, Paul Caffyn achieved one of the greatest
– if not the greatest – feats of sea kayaking. He paddled around Australia – all 14,000 plus kilometres of it.

He was very experienced, very fit and very, very determined; and it took him a year.

That’s an average of 40 kilometres per day – for 360 days.

And nobody’s ever done it again.

25 years later, last December, Sandy Robson set out in
Paul Caffyn’s footsteps. She is still on the journey – with an almighty amount behind her – and now with levels of experience, fitness and determination that boggle the mind.

Sandy Robson
Sandys Voyage

Not to mention some interesting stories...

Three rudders by Sydney – the learning curve with a very
heavy boat, in very big surf. The endos, the sharks and the bluebottles were all do-able. And then there were the crocs. We’ll let Sandy explain about the crocs – and what to do when they start coming over the side...

Eat a hearty dinner at Saturday night’s buffet – you’ll need fortifying for Sandy’s story on ’why I took a year off work’.

Sandy has a nice sense of humour and a professional background as an instructor of Outdoor Education in Perth.

Take a look at Sandy’s web diary of her adventures: .
(It’s a bit of a nuisance if you’re using Vista – complains about the certificate – but it is a bona-fide and safe website.)


Mark Jones

Antarctica, South Georgia, the Beagle Channel at the bottom of South America – if you want challenges, the very maddest challenges, then talk to any of New Zealand’s own Adventure Philosophy trio of Mark, Graham and Marcus.

If you’ve been lucky enough to hear Mark Jones talk about their expeditions, you’ll appreciate his dry wit and his ability to make sense of the ’madness’.

Mark is also a senior lecturer in outdoor studies at AUT University on Auckland’s North Shore.

Take a look at the Adventure Philosophy website for more:

Mark Jones

John Kirk-Anderson

John Kirk-Anderson is not only a kayaker of great skill and experience, but probably NZ’s highest qualified instructor, with both SKOANZ and BCU. John brings a deep understanding to staying out of trouble on the water.

From Christchurch, John Kirk-Anderson has been one of the most popular speakers at the last two events. John’s given great presentations on ‘Bugger Files’ and the Stewart Island circumcision (you’ll have to ask him).

This year he returns with another thought-provoking workshop. Just don’t get him started on tracking kiwis.

John is always a voice well worth listening to.


Jim Kakuk

Jim Kakuk co-founded the Tsunami Rangers in 1985 and is their senior officer and Captain.

Although the Rangers have practiced the most extreme forms of storm, surf and cave kayaking – capturing the results on film and in stories that leave most sea-kayakers shaking their heads in disbelief, if not outright denial; they make survival a very high priority.

"...very few sea kayakers make the cut.
Why any try is unclear. "

Hopefully, by the end of Friday evening, we’ll have a clue.

Take a look at a recent article by one of Jim’s lieutenants:
The Making of a Tsunami Ranger

Tsunami Ranger

Jim is also the Rangers’ boat-builder – running Tsunami Kayaks. Their special wash-deck kevlar designs – honed over 20-odd years of truly outrageous rock-gardening will be the subject of a session on Saturday.

Jim will be spending a little time in New Zealand – a place he’s always wanted to visit. We hope there may be opportunities for you to show him your special bits of our coastline.

Hope your insurance is paid up...

The Tsunami Ranger website

Late News: Jim will be joined by Deb Volturno (Tsunami Ranger Lt. Commander).

Deb has been an avid ocean kayaker for over 25 years. She is also an accomplished surf kayaker and has been a member of the US Surf Kayak Team competing in Costa Rica & Brazil. She has been teaching kayaking for over 20 years and is an Instructor Trainer Educator in Advanced Open Water with the American Canoe Association.

As owner/operator of Tortuga Trek, Deb offers instructional trips/expeditions from Baja, Mexico to Alaska. Deb lives on the Olympic Peninsula Washington, USA, and teaches high school science & math.


Biff Frederikson

Biff Frederikson is a Kiwi, with many years experience living in Europe, who has paddled more European kayak kilometres than anybody else we know.

She's paddled down the Danube, the Rhine, and most of the other places that might occur to you.

Currenly, Biff is living in Libya - about 200 metres from the sea in Tripoli.



Biff's focus: “will NOT be full of detail involving daily distances, preplanned logistics etc; but angled more at the possibilities for a Kiwi to be able to have a fun, inexpensive (sort of) independant trip across Europe.”


The Danube - in Budapest


                    The tranquility of the Upper Danube
                        (quite a few km upstream)

Biff can also give us some valuable insights on how a woman can most successfully carry out such trips alone.

Commenting on her current life :
“I get to go out in the ocean most days after work - have use of a basic sea kayak, that a friendly Italian leaves on the beach for me to use whenever I want. Am wondering how long it would take to paddle along the coast to Tunisia...”


Paul Caffyn

Last but not least... what can we say about Paul ?

Paul Caffyn is New Zealand’s (and probably the world’s)
most famous kayaker – and for all the right reasons.

He paddled around NZ’s South Island in 1978 and since then has paddled around almost everything else. New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Great Britain, the Alaskan Coastline, Greenland – a series of prodigious accomplishments.

More on Paul’s expeditions and publications is detailed below .

Paul Caffyn
Paul Caffyn Surfs

Paul will travel up from home on the South Island’s West Coast to tell us about this year’s expedition to Greenland.

He and Conrad Edwards spent August paddling on the exposed east coast of Greenland, made famous 70 years ago by Gino Watkins and the British Trans-Greenland Expedition.

Paul has been more successful – he’s made it back...


NZ Experts on a host of Topics


Get ready for some hard choices,
because you won’t fit them all in !


Note: this list is some of
what will be on offer
see the Schedule page for details

NZ ’s Opporunities for Paddlers – Trips and Expeditions

Trip Planning – Priorities and Tips

Photography, Navigation, and Safety at Sea

Paddle Fitness & Injury Prevention Physio

Food & Foraging - sensible and extreme

Extreme Sea Boats – from the Tsunami Ranger's kayak builder

Fishing - kayak setup, soft-bait, and secrets

Yak Maintenance

Sailing Workshop

Gear and Gadgets – what should you take to sea and what is over-the-top?

Department of Conservation – We will also have a return visit by DoC, for an update on their plans for kayaking resources. They have promised to send a larger group this year – to expand the discussion to more of the North Island – after the very popular sessions at the last two events.

Paul Caffyn’s Expeditions:


When not sea kayaking, Paul Caffyn lives on the edge of the Tasman Sea on New Zealand’s West Coast. He works as a coal exploration and mining geologist, a job which takes him deep underground in the local coal mines.

Although Paul began canoeing at the tender age of nine on the Brisbane River, he only took up serious sea kayaking in 1977. In the following 30-odd years he has notched up over 35,000 miles in his single Eskimo style kayaks. His Australian trip is regarded as one of the great small boat voyages of recent history.

Paul’s first sea kayak expedition was around Fiordland with co-paddler Max Reynolds. From Jackson’s Bay, Paul carried on solo to complete the first kayak circumnavigation of the South Island. This trip was the subject of Paul’s first book Obscured by Waves. In 1979, Paul kayaked 1,700 miles around the North Island, another first, and completed the trip with a Cook Strait crossing. This trip was the subject of a second book Cresting the Restless Waves. In August 1979, Paul teamed up with Max Reynolds again to cross Foveaux Strait and complete a tough kayak circumnavigation of Stewart Island. Dark Side of the Wave completed Paul’s New Zealand trilogy of his kayak travels around New Zealand.

In 1980 Paul teamed up with an English paddler, Nigel Dennis, to complete the first kayak circumnavigation of Great Britain.
This 2,200 mile trip took 85 days.

In December 1981, Paul set out from Queenscliff near Melbourne and spent the next 360 days achieving the first kayak circumnavigation of Australia. This 9,420 mile paddle is acknowledged as one of the most remarkable journeys ever undertaken by kayak. Paul had to contend with a tropical cyclone which nearly swept him off a small offshore islet in the Coral Sea, raging surf, tiger sharks which frequently bumped into the kayak in the Gulf of Carpentaria, crocodiles, sea snakes and three sections of sheer limestone cliffs. To overcome the three 100+ mile long sections of cliffs, Paul used Nodoz tablets to stay awake and lomotil to keep his bowels dormant during these overnight paddles. The longest stint along the awesome Zuytdorp Cliffs in Western Australia, took 34 hours of continuous paddling. After 10 years of trying to interest a publisher in a book about the Australian trip, in April 1994 Paul finally self-published his story as The Dreamtime Voyage. The first print run of 2000 sold out in 18 months with a 1000 reprint run in 1996.

In 1985 Paul completed a solo, 4,400 mile 112 day paddle around the four main islands of Japan. With co-paddlers, Paul has twice attempted to kayak across the Tasman Sea from Tasmania to New Zealand, but has been thwarted on both occasions by the Tasmanian authorities and bad weather.

In August 1991, Paul paddled into Inuvik, in the North-West Territories of Canada, to complete the first solo kayak trip along the entire coastline of Alaska. Commencing from Prince Rupert in British Columbia, this 4,700 mile trip took three northern summers to complete. Highlights of this trip were: a herd of walrus swimming around the kayak, a large brown bear ripping open Paul’s tent while he was asleep, being charged by a bull musk ox, and meeting the Eskimo villagers who are the descendents of the Inuit people who originally evolved skin kayaks in Arctic waters. Paul filmed the 1991 trip from Nome to Inuvik (not easy when paddling solo) and Canterbury Television edited the tapes and some TV News footage of Paul training on the West Coast, into a 30 minute television documentary.

In September 1997, Paul and Wellington paddler Conrad Edwards, completed a 550 miles circumnavigation of New Caledonia.

In the northern summers of 1998 and 1999, Paul and Conrad paddled 1,400 miles along the west coast of Greenland from Narsarssuaq to Upernarvik.

Paul and Conrad paddled 610 miles from Kuala Lumpur, Malaya, through to and then around the island of Phuket in Thailand, completing the trip in late January 2002.

In the northern summer of 2007, Paul and Conrad paddled the exposed east coast of Greenland.


Obscured by Waves published 1979, John McIndoe Ltd; 2nd edition published 2005, Kayak Dundee Press

Dark Side of the Wave published 1986, NZCA/Caffyn; out of print recently

Cresting the Restless Waves published 1987, NZCA/Caffyn; a few copies left

The Dreamtime Voyage self-published 1994 both hardback and limpbound editions, reprinted 1996.

The KASK Handbook – a 130 page manual to sea kayaking in NZ, edited, some chapters and full layout design by P. Caffyn; published by KASK (Kiwi Assoc. of Sea Kayakers NZ Inc) in 1994; 2nd edition in 1998.

The Sea Canoeist Newsletter, edited by P. Caffyn since 1991, 20 pages, printed bimonthly by KASK.


Copyright © 2005-08 Coastbusters Sea Kayak Association Inc.
PO Box 101-257,
NSMC, Auckland
New Zealand

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