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Chapter 3 – KAIKOURA

Event Summary

Chapter 3 started and finished in the beautiful seaside town of Kaikoura. Teams were treated to a feast of sensational landscapes, great paddling, challenging navigation and some very friendly weather. Kaikoura was the first choice of venue when the event moved away from Queenstown as it possessed the ideal qualities for hosting a fantastic adventure race.

The mountains are deceptively large in this part of New Zealand and they are nestled tight up against the coast which makes for a great contrast from beach to mountain top. The Hurunui River provided the platform for an epic paddle from mountains to sea with many teams camping out on the side of the river for a night they won’t forget. The local dolphins kept the teams company right until the finish.


You can check out all the GODZONE photos and videos in our galleries.

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The Teams

The Kaikoura edition of GODZONE sold out 7 months before the start. The full quota of 40 teams were taken but the organisation opted to make room for the Merrell Alpha Pack team who brought a significant media presence to the event (you can watch their exploits during the race by checking out their video). Forty one teams graced the start line, with 10 countries represented - Australia, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom and the US. However, the New Zealand-based teams were to set a very high benchmark for the internationals when it came to coping with the technically and physically demanding course.

Team Name Team Captain Team Member 2 Team Member 3 Team Member 4 Final Results
1. Seagate Nathan Fa'avae Sophie Hart Chris Forne Stuart Lynch Full Course
2. CheckpointZero-AvantiPlus Paul Humphreys Peter Jolles Scott Erlandson Michelle Hobson Full Course
3. Back Country Jane Matchett Michael Sandri Kevin Kirkman Kris Mayen Unranked
4. The Epics Dean Ford Paul Bird Isla Smith John Yu Full Course
5. Team Bivouac INOV-8 Ryan Thompson Becky Law JJ Wilson Mark Thrupp Full Course
6. Rubicon David Barlow Dean Grasselli Christine Keeling Richard Bramley Retired
7. Traces of Nuts Luke Nuttall Melissa Cocks Nathan Hay Paul Olsen Full Course
8. Action Sunday Richard Dove Jacqui Gee Aaron Agnew Toby Nielson Short Course
9. Sheep Eaters Robin Simpson Janet Musker Jason Wallington Joel Tate Unranked
10. Kauri Coasters Barry Ruddell Alan Kirkpatrick Anyika Thomsen Graeme Ewenson Full Course
11. Go 3.0 Rhys John Tim Sikma Matt Scott Emily Wall Full Course
12. Heartland RICOH Tony Watson Ian Walsh Sam Wright Robert Jarvis Unranked
13. Its All Good Kevin Humphrey Francesca Sanders Michael Rait Kath Copland Short Course
14. Moxie AR Chris Caulfield Brian Keogh Padraig Flanagan Sabrina Verjee Retired
15. Team Osprey Packs Nathan Jones David Slater Tane Cambridge Amy Horn Full Course
16. Lost & Lonely Ian Huntsman Wendy Riach Neil Gillespie Joe Jagusch Full Course
17. Taranaki Hardcore 225 Craig Cook John Wilmshurst Alison Russell Grant Hildred Unranked
18. Team Girls on Top Debbie Chambers Anne Lowerson Isak Meyer Mary McBride Full Course
19. Team University of Auckland Toni Keeling Tom Reynolds Ed Lawly Matthew Jeans Full Course
20. Pat Farry Trust Rural Medicine Rachel Lynskey Gary Nixon Mark Smith Jeremy Webber Full Course
21. R & R Sport Torpedo 7 Richard Anderson Simon Bowden Joanna Williams Bob McLachlan Full Course
22. Goldilocks and the 3 Beers AJ Milward Nick Lowe Mark Hearfield Dave Dellabarca Short Course
23. Orion Health Wayne Oxenham Carl Bevins Tom Lucas Fleur Pawsey Full Course
24. Proactive Physio Brent Herdson Marty Macdonald Di Liddell Karl Johnstone Full Course
25. Vida de Aventura Sia Svendsen Brent Edwards Charlie Murray Mark Rayward Full Course
26. Beaufort 9 Louise Mark Aiden Boswell Emma McCosh Grant Burke Full Course
27. Next Generation Tim Farrant Emily Wilson Alistair McDowell Elisha Nuttall Full Course
28. Rogue Liam St Pierre Russell Stringer Danielle Gage Steve Gage Short Course
29. B Com Agers Denis Woods Richard Shields Richard McIntosh Sarah Kennedy Short Course
30. NCX Huw John Natasha Trovato Stephen John Paul Tonycliffe Unranked
31. Absolute Wilderness NZ Dan Moore Dan Busch Naomi Whitehead Jeremy McKenzie Full Course
32. Mobilyser Openwire Andre Morkel Robbie Adams Grant Pepper Rachel Cashin Unranked
33. Fully Rad to the Power of Sick Irene Hunt David Hunt Peter Fitzgerald Douglas Peres Unranked
34. Bear Hunt Charlotte Peterson Michael McClusky Mark Van Der Ploeg Minh-Tam Nguyen Short Course
35. Chimpanzee Bar Jim Cotter Lara Prince Petr Sykora Milan Brodina Full Course
36. Stromlonauts Clare Lonergan Kieran Macdonell Craig Cowan Lee Rice Short Course
37. BMX Bandits Ben Cirulis Rachelle Koster Dave Ellis Roham Kilham Full Course
38. Aotearoa Eel Conservation Soc Glen Warner Heather Kirkham Daniel Pringle Jo Holden Short Course
39. Hill Billys Geoff Spark Andrea Peebles Paul Spark Scott Henry Short Course
40. Kathmandu XT Duncan Hamilton Kate Callaghan George Christensen Neil Jones Full Course
41. Merrell Alpha Pack Graham Bird Tobias Mews Catalina Gerstle Ben Gibson Unranked
There was no Pursuit Race this year.

The Route

The route covered a total distance of 520km, with approximately: 9km of coasteering, 114km of trekking, 267km of biking, 101km of canoeing and 38km of kayaking. Total elevation gain for those on the full course was approximately 11,800m. Kaikoura provided a unique challenge with huge mountains juxtaposing a stunning, wildlife rich, coastline. Teams started by coasteering and sea kayaking around the Kaikoura Peninsula. Wilderness beckoned after this with a tough bike section through Puhi Peaks to Waiautoa. Day two and three was the mouth-watering prospect of climbing towards Mt Tapaeu-o-Uenuku, towering above the Clarence River at a shade under 10,000ft (2885m).

An iconic bike ride through the Molesworth Road led to the Glynn Wye trek which many teams expressed to be the most enjoyable and navigationally challenging. The biggest river adventure yet in GODZONE followed with a 101km paddle down the Hurunui River, taking in Grade 3+ rapids along the way, with teams camping overnight along the banks of the beautiful river. The last 4 sections of the race headed north along the stunning Kaikoura coastline with navigation increasingly difficult. A final sea kayak, accompanied by local dolphins, saw the teams complete a monumental challenge that tested them to the mental and physical limits.


Seagate were back and once again in a class of their own for this Chapter. The tricky navigation choices provided by the first mountain bike stage let them get clear and after that they were long gone, winning the event by over 12hrs. The mother of all battles played out behind them with the most exciting racing so far seen at GODZONE. After 3 full days of racing the next 5 teams were locked in a navigational battle which saw places lost and won. In the end, critical navigation choices saw R&R Torpedo 7 clinch second place by just 22 minutes, with third placed Absolute Wilderness NZ clinching the final spot on the podium with a blistering transition and final sea kayak, a mere 28 minutes back.

Vida de Aventura, Kathmandu XT and Chimpanzee Bar took the next 3 places. Those placed between 2nd and 6th position at GODZONE were separated by less than 5 hours, which is incredibly close over such a long race and a great testament to the strength and consistency of the teams at the top level in New Zealand. It was team Next Generation who came out on top of the Colt Trophy. They finished an extremely credible 8th place overall - the best result for any young team so far at a GODZONE. They used good tactics, navigated exceptionally well and looked to be working as a fantastic team throughout the 5 days it took them to finish.

GODZONE Chapter 3 - Kaikoura, was won by the Seagate team. The team comprised Stuart Lynch, Chris Forne, Nathan Fa’avae, and Sophie Hart. Seagate completed the challenging course with their revamped team members (Stuart Lynch joined) and paddled into Kaikoura Beach in the early hours of Wednesday morning, just under 90hrs after starting the event. There was a dark zone in place on the Huruniui River with no time credits given so their actual racing time was less than this.

The team was welcomed home by a large crowd of well wishers and TV crews. Sophie Hart commented that Chapter 3 was the perfect adventure racing course with a wonderful blend of challenging terrain, diverse and beautiful scenery, an epic river section, and a realistic chance of achievement for teams who had prepared well.

Team Name Team Captain Team Member 2 Team Member 3 Team Member 4 Final Results
1. Seagate Nathan Fa'avae Sophie Hart Chris Forne Stuart Lynch 3Days 17Hrs 36Mins
2. R & R Sport Torpedo 7 Richard Anderson Simon Bowden Joanna Williams Bob McLachlan 4Days 5Hrs 56Mins
3. Absolute Wilderness NZ Dan Moore Dan Busch Naomi Whitehead Jeremy McKenzie 4Days 6Hrs 18Mins
4. Vida de Aventura Sia Svendsen Brent Edwards Charlie Murray Mark Rayward 4Days 6Hrs 46Mins
5. Kathmandu XT Duncan Hamilton Kate Callaghan George Christensen Neil Jones 4Days 8Hrs 29Mins

There was no Pursuit race this year.