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.
Madie McGregor: Store Manager
John started work at Canoe and Kayak in March 2015 and became manager of the North Shore Branch in October 2016. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge around sea kayaking and kayak fishing and generally messing around in boats. John has had a Boatmaster Certificate since 1972. He is a life member of Torbay Sailing Club and retains a keen interest in sailing,
The kayaking side started around 1965, when at 15, john and members of the family built a 14’ 6”” x 24” canvas on frame canoe designed by Percy Blandford from plans in a magazine. With this kayak and a mates small flat bottom scow, many unforgettable adventures on the Waikato and Waipa rivers were had, paddling and camping overnight on the river banks.
Boats, big and small, along with the odd kayak filled in the adult “busy years” but it was while paddling around towing a spinner while his son sailed in regattas that re kindled the fascination with kayaking and particularly kayak fishing.
With fish coming on board, a proper fishing kayak was needed and purchased and the idea of starting the North Shore Kayak Fishing Club was born. In 2012, John became the founding Chairman of the club.
John shares his spare time between sea kayaking and kayak fishing. He is Club Captain of the North Shore Yakity Yak Sea Kayaking Club and is an active member of the North Shore Kayak Fishing Club.
John very much enjoyed Yakity Yak trips to Raiatea Island off Tahiti and Kadavu off Fiji, contributing an article on the Kandavu trip for a recent edition of NZ Kayaker Magazine.
Allan has been involved with Canoe and kayak since 2010 when he assisted run the skills courses and trips with the owner at that time. This progressed to Allan becoming an integral member of the team with his being able to leverage off his extensive experiences of sea kayaking and fishing. Allan has the NZK1 Certificate.
Allan is also very experienced in roof rack installations and is able to offer sales consultancy in all aspects of roof rack installations including custom installations.
Allan looks after kayak repairs including composite and rota moulded hulls, He also looks after kayak modifications such as fish finder and rudder installations.
Bay of Plenty
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.
Jay Sayer: Store Owner
Nicki Hollings: Store Owner
Sarah Hince: Retail Manager
Mike Penefather: Operations Manager
Mike has been kayaking all his life.
Marathon racing and Whitewater paddling with Dad and Uncle from an early age. Finished studying Nature Conservation in 2004 and went fulltime kayaking and rafting on the Zambezi. Since then he’s worked on the rivers of Zambia, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Scotland, the USA and New Zealand since 2008.
Also, he holds an NZSUP Instructor qualification.
Mike is qualified as an instructor with Rescue 3 International, teaching swift water rescue and safety courses to the outdoor industry as well as Civil Defence and Emergency Services here in New Zealand.
Favourite trip is hard to pin down- multiday trips are the best way to escape and immerse yourself in the river and nature so maybe Deepdale Gorge of the Mkomazi River in South Africa because that was his first great overnighter and became a firm favourite, or the multiday Zambezi for the warm water, wildlife and incredible whitewater. In New Zealand- almost every little stream and river are mind-blowingly clear and beautiful, it feels like kayaking in Jurassic Park!
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.