November 8, 2021

Introduction to Multisport Kayaking in New Zealand

Multisport kayaking gear clothing and equipment guide

Auckland Multisport kayaker guide

New Zealand Multisport Kayaking

Introduction to Multisport Kayaking in Auckland

Social Nature Movement is here to help Auckland kayakers understand where they can go and what they can do in Auckland. It is a comprehensive essential guide to starting out in kayaking, telling you everything that is out there, while giving perspectives from the field and industry. We also cover what type of gear is out there and what is most common to use.

This Auckland multisport kayak guide will tell you what you need in various situations. We will outline those situations with a kayaking gear list. We will start with legalities like marine bylaws and watersafety codes. Then look at first aid kits. We discuss types of paddlers and their work-life situations. Then we go into the waterscapes and finish with the gear itself.

Kathmandu Coast to Coast Kayak Stage

Multisport Kayaker Safety

Please remember to follow all the water safety and maritime (by)laws.

The Water Safety NZ code is about knowing before you go. The Water Safety Code consists of four simple rules to remember each time you venture near the water. It serves as a great starting point for planning a safe aquatic adventure.

  • Be prepared
  • Watch out for yourself and others
  • Be aware of the dangers
  • Know your limits

The Coastguard Boating Safety Code. Five simple rules to help you stay safe. Before you go boating on our seas, lakes and rivers, get familiar with New Zealand’s Boating Safety Code. Five simple rules will help you to stay safe, no matter what kind of boat you use.

  • Wear a life jacket
  • Skippers are responsible for everyone onboard
  • Take communications devices
  • Check the marine weather: wind, rain and temperature (water & air)
  • Avoid alcohol

Outside of those two authorities, what is common for wise-recreationalists is to always carry a first aid kit, always! You can obtain even just the smallest of first aid kits that fit in your hand and weigh no more than a cellphone. Buy a small lightweight first aid kit here. What will you do if you or your companion gets cut by various shellfish, a random rusty nail or simply something unforeseen. Remember; it is better to have and not need than need and not have…a first aid kit!

Multisport Kayak Locations Auckland

Auckland Multisport Kayak locations

Is there anywhere to multisport kayak in Auckland near me?

Flatwater. These include sheltered bays and lakes. Common places and kayak trips (especially more journey-based) are:

  • Lake Pupuke, Orakei Basin, Westhaven marina, Panmure Basin.
  • Whau River, West End Rowing Club to Twin Coast Discovery Hwy and back, 7km
  • Weiti River, Weiti Boating Club head up river/inland return, about 8km
  • Judges Bay, all the way to Purewa Creek and back, round trip about 10km
  • Henderson Creek, Taipari Strand to Central Park Drive bridge and back, 10km
  • Turanga Creek, Cockle Bay to Whitford Wharf Rd. return, 12km
  • Pahurehure Inlet, Bottle Top Bay Boat Ramp, head south of Hingaia bridge return, 12km
  • Tamaki River, Panmure Yacht and Boating Club to SH1 bridge return, 14km
  • Pahurehure Inlet, Bottle Top Bay Boat Ramp, head south east to SH1 bridge return, 15km
  • Tamaki River, Panmure Yacht and Boating Club to Glendowie Boating club return, 16km
  • Hobsonville Point Ferry Terminal, up Lucas Creek to Wharf Road boat ramp return, 16km
  • Hobsonville Point Ferry Terminal, up Rangitopuni Stream to Riverhead Tavern return, 18km
  • Pahurehure Inlet, Bottle Top Bay Boat Ramp, head to Kauri Point Reserve then south west to Glasson bridge (Linwood Rd.) return, 18km

If you need help with flatwater techniques, skills or coaching, click here.

Moving water. These can be tidal inlets/outlets. Below is a list of moving water locations in Auckland:

  • SH1 bridge, Pahurehure inlet, Papakura
  • Oruarangi creek, Oruarangi Rd bridge, Watercare Coastal Walkway Parking, Māngere
  • Tamaki Drive overbridge, Judges Bay
  • Orewa River, Twin Coast Discovery Hwy bridge, Orewa

If you need help with moving water techniques, skills or coaching, click here.

Rivers. Most common and reliable:

  • Mohaka River, Napier
  • Waioeka River, Opotiki
  • Rangitikei River, Taihape.

If you need some river trips, training or grade 2 certification, click here.



Beginner Multisport Kayaker

Types of Multisport kayakers in New Zealand

Now is the time to represent the various categories of common multisport paddlers out there:


  • No gear and no idea. Possibly a sit-on-top kayak in the garage.


  • Working a full-time job, likely to kayak in the mornings, evenings and weekends.


  • Friends and fellow athletes who form relationships and common training goals together.


  • Various paddlers, often informal training relying heavily on elite athletes or long-term experience and personal research.


  • Podium worthy, attending many events at high levels, trains hard and fast, strict schedule, usually trains on their own, often coaching other amateur athletes.


  • Various ages and approaches, all claiming to be ‘experts’ and the ‘best’, often founded on professional courses like NZOIA, Rescue3, First Aid courses and plenty of industry training, usually the safest approach with more guarantees.

So, indeed there are others out there as we have over eight billion unique individuals on earth. But, who are you, what groups do you belong to and which groups have you experienced? Understanding your situation will help you associate with those in similar situations e.g. kayaking 06:00-07:00 and starting work at 09:00. Contact Social Nature Movement who can help connect you to other paddlers. To find out what multisport kayak courses are available, click here.



Multisport Kayak training and events

Speed, distance and training when multisport kayaking

What kayak speed is normal for a beginner?
  • In a common kayak like a Barracuda Enigma or a Ruahine Swallow, you should be getting 7km/h with little training. Fitter, faster and stronger people should be getting up to 8 and 9km/h. Elite level multisporters should be doing 10km/h+ on flatwater over a longer training period. Maximum speeds depending on kayak range from 15-20km/h.
What distances should a beginner kayaker be doing?
  • Aim for 30mins+ at a time (the distance is less important). An hours training session is good. Anything more than that is great. Just remember that on the Coast to Coast Kayak Stage you are paddling 70km (with moving water) and regarding time; beginners are at least around 5hrs. So consider paddling for 5hrs straight at some point to get a feel for it, even if it is super slow.
What is a basic multisport kayak training schedule for an ‘average’ person?
  • One on, one off (days). But busy people should usually take what they can get while they can. Remember that the wet, windy and cold weather can put people off too, so forced rests or disrupted schedules are common. Under ideal conditions, start with one day on and two off, then one on one off, then two on and one off. The duration and intensity will affect that, and don’t forget about have longer periods off e.g. every month, take 5-7days off completely.
What is a normal heart rate zone for multisport kayaking?
  • Most people know that on race day you go all-in. Some basic principles are to warm up and build up. Don’t start hard, fast and early, this is for sprint kayaking only. There is also the Maffetone Method; which is 180bpm minus your age e.g 180 – 40yrs = a training/competing heart rate of 140! So what is the answer? Depends on you! The lower the better as high heart rates are hard to maintain. But, remember to oush it hard and high form time to time. Don’t over complicate it either, put all the gizmos and GP’s aside and simply FEEL what your body is doing.
What should my kayak stroke cadence rate be?
  • 30 strokes per minute (SPM) is elite. This will depend on your physicality, paddle length, blade size and speed of kayak. The shorter your paddle, the smaller your blades and the faster/more hydrodynamic your kayak, the more strokes per minute you will have. 20spm is average/slow, 25 is a good medium training ground.



Multisport kayaking gear clothing and equipment guide

Multisport kayak gear and equipment guide.

What kayak gear should I borrow? What multisport gear should I buy? Can I test kayak gear? What kind of gear is out there?

Below is a list of everything you need to simply go kayaking:

  • Boat
  • Life Jacket / PFD
  • Paddle

Keep water out and learn how to roll with:

  • Deck

It is not common to wear a helmet on flatwater, but whenever the water is moving and especially on a river wear:

  • Helmet

Keep protected from the cold, wet and windy elements:

  • Jacket
  • Insulation layers

Fuel the human engine with food and drink:

  • Hydration systems
  • Food systems

Finally, for the Coast to Coast race, we have highlighted the ‘less known’ items beyond what is standard, the bold statements also emphasise some gear points. So, your complete kayak stage gear list for the Kathmandu Coast to Coast Race Kayak Stage is:


  • Long sleeve thermal top
  • Long sleeve mid layer top (>220gsm)
  • Thermal pants
  • Thermal gloves
  • Thermal hat
  • Thermal socks
  • Waterproof long sleeve paddle jacket (neoprene cuffs)
  • Waterproof pants
  • Closed-toe foot wear


  • Kayak
  • Air bags
  • Helmet (bike helmet not acceptable)
  • Paddle
  • Spray skirt
  • Bouyancy aide / PFD (must have a cinch-strap below rib cage)
  • Duct tape (10m)
  • Dry bag
  • Survival bag (plain foil bag not accepted)
  • Whistle
  • First aid kit

Have a question? We’re here to help.

email or call us on 0800 76 62 66