James Castrission and Justin Jones can stand up straight for the first time in 62 days after becoming the first duo to paddle the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand.
Exhausted, they staggered on shore Monday and were immediately taken to the hospital via ambulance for a check up. The pair’s 3,300 kilometer expedition is believed to be the longest tandem kayak mission ever. Four people rowed the Tasman last month and New Zealander Colin Quincey finished the trip solo, rowing the Tasman’s entirety three decades ago.
Upon landing, swilling beers and hugging family members, both remembered Andrew McAuley, an Australian kayaker with a wife and young child who vanished last year in a solo kayak attempt of the Tasman. “We have only got a small, small idea of what Andrew went through out there,” Castrission told reporters. “Some nights when we were out there, we had each other to hold through the difficult moments.”
The pair was trying to make Auckland by Christmas but were delayed by the unrelenting weather. The two survived some harrowing moments including the kayak’s anchor wrapping around the rudder as well as intense storms that created three meter swell.
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