Canoe & Kayak Ltd has been introducing people to the exciting sport of kayaking since 1994.
We had a strong desire to see as many people enjoying the sport as possible and soon created the Yakity Yak Kayak Club to ensure that new paddlers not only continued in the sport but also created a great camaraderie and close friendships.
This philosophy is still the backbone of the company today; to provide a friendly and enthusiastic environment for people to learn kayaking, continually improve skills and knowledge and above all have great fun.
Canoe & Kayak has now grown to be New Zealand’s largest kayaking company. With eight specialist owner-operated kayak stores in Auckland, North Shore, Manukau, Taupo, Taranaki, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, and Wellington.
All our staff are passionate about kayaking and are highly trained in product knowledge and kayak instruction.
Canoe & Kayak are proud to run comprehensive kayak instruction courses covering a wide range of disciplines from white water to multisport and sea kayaking. We make sure our customers not only have the best kayaking gear but are safe and competent paddlers as well.
Canoe & Kayak started publication of Kayak New Zealand magazine in 1997. This popular magazine is specifically tailored for kayaking. Check out the ‘Kayak Magazine’ link on the left for details on how to subscribe and details of previous issues.
We hope this website assists you in enjoying the wonderful sport of kayaking!
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Meet the team at Canoe & Kayak
RUSSELL WILLIAMS: OWNER/ OPERATOR
Russell was brought up in Northland (the winterless north) in the 60s and was introduced to the outdoors from an early age, in particular, the marine paradise that is the coastline of this province. His introduction to kayaking was through the scouting movement and he restored and paddled a canvas Canadian style canoe at aged 15 with a couple of Venturer mates. At university, the sea still beckoned and scuba diving became a passion. He went on to become a qualified open water instructor.
The current kayaking adventure started when he and Larraine had a trip at Abel Tasman in January 2004. Impressed by the extension to their outdoor activity repertoire they returned to Auckland and proceeded to complete the Introductory Sea Kayak course run by Canoe & Kayak. When returning to the shop to purchase their own kayaks they took a bigger step and purchased the shop. The rest is history. He has been actively kayaking ever since and takes extreme pleasure in introducing new paddlers to the wonderful world on the water.
LARRAINE WILLIAMS: OWNER/ OPERATOR
My first trip in a sea kayak was in Abel Tasman National Park. I wasn’t very good at it and thankfully Russ and I were in a double so he could do all the hard work, but I had a wonderful time and wanted to have another go when back in Auckland. We did the C&K Sea Kayak Skills Course, and the short story is that instead of buying kayaks, we bought the shop – we were well and truly hooked. I have been kayaking hard ever since and thanks to the Canoe & Kayak support and on-going training, my skills have improved enormously.
Thanks to my own shaky start, at Auckland C&K we have an understanding of those new paddlers who are a bit nervous, or lacking in strength and fitness. Believe me, if I can do it, you can too. I now enjoy exploring the wonderful coastline we have on our doorstep.
I have been paddling for eight years and am now a qualified sea kayak instructor, have my Grade 2 Multisport certificate, and am playing social league Canoe Polo.
Adam Kerr: Store Manager
I would like to thank you for visiting our little corner of the Canoe and Kayak website.
My name is Adam, and I am the Manager of Canoe and Kayak Manukau. I’m a passionate guy with plenty of hobbies which keep me busy throughout the year. Kayaking being one of these many hobbies, I love talking about all aspects of the joy that getting out there gives us.
My first kayak was a Barracuda Beachcomber, way back when they were first being manufactured and I remember only using it a few times before selling it when I moved away from home. A move that I now regret, as when I was younger I never realised how good it was to own a beachcomber!
Now-days I have gotten myself into the sport of Kayak Fishing, and paddle a Viking Reload. With limited space at home a power boat was not an option, and there is nothing more thrilling than getting out there and catching tea (and more) from a kayak. I love tinkering with and modifying my kayak, and enjoy helping others to do the same and create something unique.
So come on in, let me grab you a coffee (I’m told I make a great instant moccona) and have a chat!
Phil Linklater: Sales
Interest in kayaking: I used to look from the shoreline at those long, sleek machines gliding silently & seemingly effortlessly through the water and wondered, really wondered.
I became motivated enough to purchase a kayak after my first visit to Maxine’s wee bach on the water at Tauranga Bay near Whangaroa. Maxine had a Tui which I tried out in the estuary and became hooked! James Fitness kindly sorted me out with a suitable rig back in 2003 and I have kayaked [mostly in the waters of Northland], ever since.
In Auckland we enjoy putting in at a beach and taking lunch with us to a deserted spot. A refreshing skinny dip followed by a nice spinach and salmon salad and a glass of crisp Sauvignon. Blanc – aaah! Such an easy thing to do with a kayak.
Our favourite trip takes only 15 minutes one way. We paddle down the estuary and out to the Arrows Rocks. There are fossils embedded in the rocks which are distinctively red and green – unlike any other formation in the general area. There is abundant life in the many pools here and there and kina seem to specialize in hiding under self made ‘hats’ of rocks and shells! We can spend hours at the Arrows.
A highlight has been paddling for well over an hour with Orca as two adults and 4 calves [?], made their way slowly down the coast toward the Cavalli’s and no doubt further south. We were pretty chuffed to see our article and photos published in the Kayak magazine.
We also have a couple of sit on tops based at the bach. Mostly these are available for visitors to use or we have a special long line set up which we set just off the beach. After a leisurely 15 – 20 minute paddle we are usually rewarded with a couple of good sized fish.
Kayaking adds another dimension to life at the beach.
Mostly Corporate B2B sales and marketing and new business development. Helped create the world’s first cardboard tray for export of Kiwifruit and much later to the development and introduction of the plastic vege crates now so common in NZ.
Life and business coaching. Passion for Personal Growth and helping individuals and business owners make lasting beneficial change in their lives.
Part time at C & K Manukau.
Bay of Plenty
ESTELLE LEYSHON : OWNER / OPERATOR
Estelle first came to New Zealand at the tender age of 18 to explore Australasia and vowed that it would be her permanent home one day. Several years later and she is back here in NZ and permanently this time.
After successfully running a large Canoe & Kayak retail warehouse in the UK she decided to do what she knows best, here in NZ.
Her passion and knowledge about kayaking has developed over many years and she just loves getting new people in to the sport to experience it for themselves. As a result she has been involved heavily as a volunteer in the Yakity Yak kayak club in the Bay of Plenty and organises and runs most of the trips.
DAVE ATKINS: OWNER / OPERATOR
Dave Atkins moved to New Zealand in March 2011 after working in the kayaking industry in manufacturing and retailing for the last 12 years in
From a young age he paddled in K1 racing kayaks and then competed in slalom and his skills developed in to white water kayaking. He is a skilled sea kayaker too and has a passion for kayak surfing here in the Mount.
As a highly qualified NZKI Level 5 instructor Dave is the man behind all the tuition courses and the assessments. His ability to teach others is second to none and his technical knowledge and abilities means he can advise beginners right through to advanced and even competitive paddlers.
Laura & Dave Duncan
Peter & Bronnie van Lith
ANDY BLAKE: OWNER/ OPERATOR
Andy was with Canoe & Kayak North Shore, in the early days, where he worked as a Sea Kayak Instructor and Guide. He has been working with Canoe & Kayak Wellington since it opened and has helped develop it into a sound well run, operation.
He is a keen paddler with 18 years paddling experience, and as all the Wellington Yakity Yak Kayak Club members will tell you he is completely at home in the outdoors, a great cook which gives him an A+ rating on all trips. He has circumnavigated D’Urville Island, Stewart Island, Kapiti Island and the Kadavu Island group in Fiji. He has also paddled in the Soloman Islands where he took four of the locals through their NZKI Sea Kayaking assessments. He says “My favourite paddling locations are Fiordland and Stewart Island. “I’m looking at a circumnavigation of Great Barrier Island and MAYBE the Chathams.”
He has gained many qualifications over the years; SKOANZ Level One, New Zealand Army AATC Intermediate Sea Kayak Course, NZKI Sea Kayaking Instructor 5 Star Assessor, SKOANZ Committee Member.
Canoe & Kayak and Roof Rack Centers are a complex mix of things but number one to all of us is treating each customer as you would a close friend. Giving good honest advice and knowing as the customer walks out the door that you have helped them. This is something that Andy has always done and if you need some help getting the right piece of equipment, then pop in and see Andy and his team.
NEIL THOMPSON: INSTRUCTOR/ TRIP LEADER/ SALES
Neil was, for a short time in his early days a Waikato boy, until moving with his family down to the best little capital in the world, Wellington, where he has been ever since. Being one of these guys who believe in the ‘don’t leave home till you’ve seen the country’ he is still hunting out kayaking spots to visit. Even though some paddling in Aussie and Tonga have been on the agenda.
Having holidayed at a family home at Ohope Beach all of his life he has been brought up in the surf and loves anything to do with water. From an early age, competitive swimming was a big part of his life and this then went onto Surf Lifesaving. Neil has represented both Waikato and Wellington in swimming and Wellington and the North Island in Surf Lifesaving. His paddling started from the ironman event in Surf Lifesaving.
The love of organizing and leading kayaking trips and also the passing on of his skills through the courses that he takes with Canoe & Kayak are things that he is passionate about. Seeing people improve their skills and the joy they get from paddling some of the best kayaking spots in the world are what he is all about.
Leading a nine day kayaking trip in Tonga has been one of the main highlights of his kayaking and as a beach lover the Abel Tasman in the South Island is a popular destination that he never tires of.