Aotearoa’s toughest open ocean downwind race
The 7th Poor Knights crossing is a 30km open ocean downwind race open to surf skis, waka and SUPs. It is Aotearoa’s toughest open ocean downwind race. It runs from the Poor Knights Marine Reserve to Tutukaka, Northland, New Zealand and is hosted by Mitamitaga o le Pasefika Va’a-alo Canoe Club.
The testy waters and unpredictable wind swells make this an event unique on the calendar that will challenge paddling skills and endurance. It’s major sponsors are Zest Brokers and Dive! Tutukaka.
Maitahi entrants this year
This year Maitahi has a number of paddlers competing. Paddling OC1 are Zoe, Julie (2 of the 3 entrants for the Masters Womens), Seb, Sean and Tony (Masters Men), Kereama is paddling an OC2 with Chris Farmer from Christchurch (Open Mens), and Callum from Motueka is paddling either OC1 (Open Mens).
We wish you all the best and look forward to hearing about your adventures up there. Big kudos to Julie who is new to big water and OC1 paddling. Go you Gusty Girls!
This year the race started at Tutukaka Beach and waka, SUPs and surfskis raced out to Poor Knights Islands.
Our very own “Gutsy Girl” Julie
“Poor Knights Crossing – what an epic race! As a newbie to OC1 waka ama paddling, 30km from Tutukaka across to the islands was one hell of a test mentally, as well as physically. I battled with all sorts out there (talked to myself a lot!), didn’t capsize (which was amazing!), ached all over, cried when I got to the finish boat, and it felt bloody amazing!!!! Such an awesome race in truly beautiful deep blue water and surroundings. Loved it and will definitely be back again!
Waka travel logistics – just as amazing as the race! Teamwork at its best!“
Photos for this year
About the Race
30km open ocean downwind race
Depending on the wind direction the Waka (SUPs & Surskis) are either all loaded onto launches for the journey out to the cave start line or else they start at Tutukaka Beach and race to the Island. The long distance race starts/ or finishes inside Rikoriko Sea Cave.
Up to 100 paddlers are expected for the long distance event, including competitors from Christchurch, Nelson, Wellington, Tauranga and Auckland. There has also been regular entrants from Australia and through the pacific region.
Matapouri Reef Run (14km course)
This year a short 14km course coastal race has been added to the event for the less experienced competitors who find the prospect of paddling so far off-shore too daunting for their first race. So race director has added a short course race along the Tutukaka Coast in the hope of giving newer ocean paddlers a taste of open ocean elements.
“There has been a bit of work going on in the background examining participation levels and the diversity issues facing the sport at all levels. One of the issues identified was the distance of the events on offer and the barrier that presented to some who are new to the sport of ocean paddling.Tim Eves – Race Director
Paddling on the open ocean can be very addictive and certainly exhilarating, but it can also be quite challenging. You need experience to master the skills needed, but to master the skills needed you need to experience it. I think the safest way to get experience is doing a race where there are fellow paddlers, safety boats and experienced event marshalls watching.
That’s exactly what the short course race, called the Matapouri Reef Run, will provide.”
“Wow what a ride…… Poor Knights Crossing 2019 was a race that for me tested all realms of my paddling abilities. Testing conditions but rewarded with quite possibly one of the best finish lines in the world!”
Emma Fisher attempted the Matapouri Reef Run in Maitahi’s old Barracuda (OC2), but had to pull out as the waka was gradually submerging!
Its never too early or too late to start paddling waka ama
We always welcome new members to the Maitahi Outrigger Canoe Club.
We have social and racing waka ama crews catering for a wide variety of ages and abilities.