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Published on June 17th, 2017 | by adventuremag


Poor Knights Crossing – open to SUP’s

An open invitation to the rapidly growing SUP brigade will add another dimension to Aotearoa’s toughest open ocean paddling event, the Poor Knights Crossing, set to be staged on the testy Tutukaka coast, NZ in September.

The race, a 30km ocean downwind event, has seen the best paddlers in Australasia tackle what is a unique crossing event on the paddling calendar.

Surf ski and waka ama (outrigger) paddlers have been keen to tackle the event since its inception five year’s ago.  But until now the SUP fraternity have been a bit more cautious about the prospect.


To encourage the SUP paddlers race director Tim Eves has organised a designated fleet to oversee the SUP racers to try and ensure they get the best conditions available on the day for a downwind race.


“It has become evident as the SUP fraternity has grown that races designed for surfski and waka ama craft are often not as suitable for paddle boards. They are a different craft altogether that require a different skill set and a different set of conditions to compete in,” Tim said.


“It has been interesting discussing the prospect with some experienced SUP competitors.  Some are keen to tackle whatever the ocean throws at them, others see 30km of racing slightly differently.  The whole point of ocean racing is to test yourself, but 30km of crosschop just isn’t fun on a SUP, so why make them do it.”


So the SUP competitors will be loaded onto their own craft and will launch where they can get the best direct downwind run possible on race day.  It is the only true open ocean race in New Zealand and certainly has the potential to be the most challenging.


In the meantime plans for the surfski and waka ama race are well advanced with the prospect of paddling in the world renowned Poor Knights Marine Reserve a big attraction.  The 30km stretch of open water between the reserve and the mainland finish line is quite enticing as well.


The chance to paddle through massive natural rock archways or into the world’s biggest sea cave adds some mystique to the event.

“The weather and sea conditions are the big unknown, but if the wind turns on there’s a multitude of race course options to give the paddlers a good downwind race.  What I do know is that the bits I can control — the race briefing, the prizegiving banquet, the safety and ferry fleet and the hospitality of the Tutukaka coast – will be first class.”

“The downwind run in a westerlies up to 30 knots is mindblowing. There again, if it’s the ideal nor east conditions then it will be a real humdinger for sure.”

The event is supported yet again but a host of Tutukaka based businesses including Dive! Tutukaka (safety fleet), Moana Nui (event crew) and Tawapou Coastal Natives (prizes).  Strongarm Power in the Water (race attire) is joined by Vaikobi (prizes), SUP Bro (crew) and Yukon Dive (safety fleet) on the ever important list of event sponsors.

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