Kayaking legends – these people made our sports famous
In New Zealand, there are particularly two living legends who essentially helped to raise the popularity of kayaking by incredible athletic achievements and unremitting efforts. These legends are Paul Caffyn and Ian Ferguson.
Caffyn hit the headlines at the end of the 1970s by circumnavigating the South Island by kayak as well as the North Island. Both expeditions took less than three months and most of the time, he paddled alone. In 1980, he even went round Great Britain by kayak which was a spectacular accomplishment. Travelling together with a fellow legend, Caffyn needed 85 days for the 2,200 mile trip. One year later, he started another expedition pursuing the goal of circumnavigating Australia. This trip is considered to be one of the most impressive kayak tours ever. Coffyn was confronted with lots of dangerous obstacles such as tropical cyclones, tiger sharks and crocodiles.
However, the achievements of Ian Ferguson are equally fascinating. As a professional kayaker, he won five medals at the Olympic Games and thus became the most successful New Zealand Olympic athlete so far. However, temporarily, it wasn’t conceivable that he would make such a glorious career: In the 1980s, he was forced to quit his ambitions for the time being due to a lack of money. Not until he got financial support by the New Zealand Sports Foundation, he was able to continue doing his passion professionally and taking part in the Olympic Games in Los Angeles 1984 where he dominated the kayak competitions.
Fischer became a kayak legend in Germany by having won twelve medals at six Olympic games. It’s especially considerable that she’s both the youngest and the oldest Olympic champion in kayaking. Hoffmeister, however, didn’t get fame by professional competitions. Instead, she reached international attention by doing some formidable kayak expeditions. In 2015, she was the first person who circumnavigated South America. Moreover, Hoffmeister went round Iceland in 2007 and – as the first woman ever – she circumnavigated Australia in 2009. Prior to this, as a young woman, she tried some other sports such as gymnastics, skeet shooting and sky diving, and – fun fact – she also reached the 6th place at a former Miss Germany competition.