A hole in your kayak is not ideal in any situation.
But, as Glen Sturgess would attest, the timing could not be much worse than halfway through the kayak leg of the Coast to Coast.
Sturgess was one of several Waitaki athletes who took part in the 243km multisport race across the South Island last weekend.
Competing in the two-day individual event, everything was going to plan until the Oamaru personal trainer hit a rock.
“I didn’t know what had happened until I went to stretch my legs and they were submerged in water,” Sturgess said.
He tried duct-taping the hole, but when he continued to take on water, he told course marshals he would have to pull out.
“They were like get you home’, and they pulled out this tinfoil stuff and wrapped the boat and that was it, they sent me on my way,” he said.
The ordeal cost him a frustrating 40 minutes. He finished 112th overall, out of 258, in the two-day individual race, in a time of 14hr 34min.
“I really enjoyed the race, once I knew I wasn’t competitive any more. After a couple of hiccups, I kind of relaxed and enjoyed it.
“That’s multisport for you – it’s the nature of the beast. No race goes to plan.”
Enfield farmer Paul Gow had the best placing of the Waitaki contingent, finishing 28th overall in the longest day event in a time of 13hr 21min.
But the 10th-seeded athlete was disappointed with his result.
“The performance wasn’t where I trained to be,” he said.
He finished strongly on the last cycle leg, but extreme winds hindered his progress in the kayak leg.
“It was extremely tough conditions though, so I was happy to get down and finished.
“As soon as I got into the kayak I just knew I wasn’t firing, but that’s all right, you have those days.”
Before last week’s race, Gow was not planning on entering next year’s event, but now felt he had “unfinished business”.
His training partner, Kurow dairy farmer Daniel Bishop, completed the longest day for the first time, taking the step up from the two-day event last year.
He finished 43rd in a time of 13hr 54min.
Completing the course over one day was much more challenging, he said.
“You’ve got to be a lot fitter and nutrition is a lot more important.
“It was a long day and a lot of work. I was certainly pretty stoked that I finished it – I was glad it was done really.”
Former Waitaki Boys’ High School pupil Hamish Elliott, who was the fourth seed for the longest day, was forced to withdraw during the race.
With a time of 15hr 11min, James McKirdy was 86th in the longest day.