Disabled kayaker plans Paris to London expedition

Tuesday, 19 May 2009
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Meet Rikki Johnston from New Zealand. He is a disabled kayaker with plans to be the first person to paddle from Paris to London. The total distance is 714 kilometres but hopes to start the 32 day long trip in early September.

After a car crash in 1990 Johnston lost the use of his right elbow but it hasn't stopped him from getting out there and doing some pretty impressive kayaking trips. He has already crossed both Cook and Foveaux Straits as well as a successful circumnavigation of Raoul Island.

"I've done pretty much everything that can be done in New Zealand. It's about time to head overseas and have a play. I just thought, `Hey, why not?"'

"This has never ever been done by a kayaker to my knowledge, let alone one that doesn't actually have an elbow," he said.

Johnston will begin on the River Seine in Paris and make his way up the coast of France, cross the English Channel, then paddle up the Thames, finishing under Tower Bridge in London.

Rikki Johnston will be paddling a slightly modified Kevlar Tasman Express with the bulkhead and seat will be adjusted so he can sleep lying down by tying it to his support boat at nights which will be carrying a crew of three.

Not sure why he needs to sleep in his boat tied to a support ship. If anybody has more information about that small detail, send it along to me. It just seems strange why he is sleeping in his boat tied next to a larger boat with a crew.

More info: stuff.co.nz


David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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