Donaldson Waits Out Lightning Storm within 700km of NZ

Kiwi expedition kayaker Scott Donaldson is just 700km from New Zealand, encountering a lightening storm, as he crosses the Tasman in his attempt to becomes the first person to paddle from Australia to New Zealand solo..

Donaldson left Coffs Harbour on the New South Wales Coast on May 2 and made it to Lord Howe Island in 10-days – a distance of 586km. Waiting out a storm for 7 days, he resumed his journey to New Zealand on May 18, which means he has been at sea now for nearly a month.

Two weeks ago it was a shark, now it’s a lightning storm slowing the progress of Tasman Kayaker Scott Donaldson, albeit briefly.

His Double Ditch team reports

Though ‘Mother Nature’ has been kind to him this week, a fierce lightning storm struck his area at 7am today, which was a scary moment for Donaldson as his Kayak and paddle is made of Carbon Fibre – an excellent conductor of electricity.

Donaldson’s team leader, Nigel Escott says Donaldson has made incredible progress this week, despite the forced stoppage this morning.

“He’s done really well this week. The conditions are great, he’s in a good current and there is a tail wind, so he’s making ‘hay while the sun shines’”, says Escott.

“The only thing that has slowed him was to wait out the lightning storm and to not be moving his paddle through the air!”

Donaldson now lies around 700km to the North-West of Taranaki with excellent wind conditions aiding his progress as he attempts to be the first person to Kayak the Tasman Sea solo.

In a 24-hour period from Friday to Saturday this week he covered an impressive 85km, aided by a very favourable tail wind.

“The conditions are so good at the moment, that he’s actually paddling for up to 20 hours a day. Even paddling at night on occasion.”

Earlier in the week, Donaldson managed to paddle out of a bad weather and current pattern, essentially having to back track and doing a full circle.

Donaldson is aiming to make landfall on the Taranaki Coast – a distance of 2200 kilometres although he will likely paddle 3000 kilometres.

With his Trans-Tasman Kayak attempt, Donaldson is raising funds for Asthma research. Donaldson himself is an Asthma sufferer. Donations can be made via

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