Surfskis Triumph in 45km Trans Taupo (NZ)

Thursday, 17 April 2008 04:29 | Written by 
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12th April 2008 – Lake Taupo, Waikato, New Zealand.  Slap bang in the middle of New Zealand’s North Island is Australasia’s largest fresh water lake – and last Saturday saw 100 paddlers of all types and sizes participating in the inaugural Trans Taupo Race.

Simon McLarin - Trans Taupo 2008
Simon McLarin wins the 2008 Trans Taupo (Pic:

“All Types and Sizes”
Surfski paddlers, sea kayakers, waka ama kaihoe (outrigger paddlers) and ocean rowers lined up side by side – the sea kayakers and outrigger paddlers wouldn’t be much of a threat, but what about the four-man powered Wanganui River Scullers quad ocean rower?

2008 Trans Taupo
Trans Taupo - map

Slipping on a 4-man

For the first hour and half, the surfskis paddled in a group with the 4-man, but after the first of three checkpoints, 16km into the race, the 4-man crew dropped the surfskis – with one exception: 46 year old Simon McLarin, arguably NZ’s #2 form ski paddler.
Simon hung on to the wash of the 4-man ocean racer for mid-section of the race, at one point dropping back to try to encourage the following pack of surfskis.  They weren’t up to the interval required to make up the 200m or so to the 4-man so Simon left them again.

Dice to the finish
With about 20km to go, a tail wind started to roughen the surface of the lake, and Simon decided to make a move to drop the 4-man.
They weren’t having any of that though, and a battle royal ensued that saw Simon winning the race by a mere 1:46 in a total time of 3:45:49.
Ex-top multisporter Tim Grammer (Auck) came in 37 seconds behind the 4-man and the inaugural Trans Taupo sub-4 hour club was formed of the 6 paddlers (Simon, Tim and the crew of the 4-man).

Katie Pocock
In a show of fitness which augers well for her upcoming trip to Molokai in May, Katie Pocock finished just 23 seconds adrift of the 4-hour cutoff…

Katie Pocock - Trans Taupo 2008
Katie Pocock (Pic:

Race Report
A full race report, photos and video are available on


Photos - courtesy of Steve Knowles at




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