Paddle at the Pear Tree!!
The weekly stand-up paddleboard get-together at the Kerikeri Basin, in front of the Pear Tree restaurant and bar. Everybody Welcome!!!
Drinks and food in the Pear Tree afterwards
Completely informal - get yourself onto the water any time from about 5pm onwards, and join the throng for a relaxed paddle up the Kerikeri inlet, for around a kilometre each way (although you're welcome to go further if you like).
This is the opportunity to catch up with your friends, make new acquaintances, maybe get a bit of quiet practise on that technique tip that one of Northland Paddleboarding's instructors has given you... It's pure pressure-free paddling - you pace it however you want.
There are no rules, no requirements, you can paddle on whatever you like. All we ask is that everyone looks out for everyone else, and there's no horseplay which might upset or unbalance the less experienced paddlers in the group. (Unless this has specifically been agreed on in advance!)
Please remember that everyone is entirely responsible for their own safety during these paddle sessions, there is no organised safety cover. For that reason, we would really rather not have any unaccompanied minors on the water. Any paddlers under 16 really need to have an adult supervising them in close attendance and taking responsibility for their welfare.
Contact Northland Paddleboarding to organise a board. There is no charge to borrow some gear for your first cruise but it must be booked in advance, and this offer is only applicable to people with proper prior paddleboarding experience. First timers - see below!. A $15 rental fee will apply after this first session. Hopefully after a few goes you'll be so in love with the sport that you'll be wanting to get your own gear anyway! In which case Northland Paddleboarding can help every step of the way, ensuring that you get the right equipment for your budget, your build, and proper future progression... (If you are planning to borrow a board please bring some photo ID that we can hang on to while you're out there on our gear.)
No - we ask that you do not go beyond the 1km marker (see the map above). That stretch of the river, along with the Wairoa River at high tide, is more than enough territory to explore and have a nice paddle on!
Anyone under 16 must have an adult on the water with them and in close supervision at all times. There must be at least one adult per 2 U16s. We will not supply equipment to anyone who appears to be under 16 unless their responsible adult is there right beside them at the time the equipment is handed over. Children under 16 MUST bring and wear their own PFD.
Completely informal - no entry fees, and no prizes, just a fun opportunity for those who want to push themselves a bit. It'll start at about 5.45pm, right out in front of the Pear Tree, when everyone's in a rough line and someone says READY STEADY GO.
The usual plan will be to do 2 laps of a 2km course, and people can finish after 1 or 2 laps. Occasionally we'll race out to the channel marker and back, to stretch it a bit further (4.5km). But occasionally we'll do something different - which will be announced on our facebook page the day before.
2km course - 1 lap of this course
click either map to view it larger scale with more surrounding area
4.5km course - 1 lap
While there are no prizes for winning, finishing times will be recorded and displayed on the facebook page, so each week you can try to better your previous time. (There will be special prizes from time to time though - see the FAQ for more details!)
Once we have enough times recorded to have a reasonable idea as to the average course times for each regular competitor, we will run occasional 'pursuit races' with handicap starts, so the fastest paddlers start last, and (hopefully!) everyone finishes at about the same time.
Fun Race FAQ
Nothing at all. It's entirely informal - this is purely a group of like-minded paddleboarders getting together to push it along a bit and see how fast they can paddle.
Your board, your paddle, and a legrope (please wear a legrope). NZ Maritime Law states that you should have a PFD when you are paddleboarding. For racing, where anything worn on the upper body can be uncomfortable, hot and cumbersome, we recommend the beltpack style of PFDs. These can be purchased from Northland Paddleboarding if you do not have your own.
A 4km paddle will normally take between about 25-45 minutes, depending on how fast you are.
The most important rule is that everybody looks out for each other. This is about enjoyment, not being ultra-competitive! Other than that:
- Physical contact between boards should be avoided as much as possible - nobody wants their board getting dinged or damaged
- You aren't allowed to block people trying to overtake
- No pushing, shoving or attempting to knock people in
- Drafting within your own general class is allowable (ie 12'6 raceboards can draft each other) as per normal paddleboard racing rules
We all are!! Everyone looks out for each other. If someone is in trouble the race stops, and we all help. This is NOT an official competition, it's self-organised and it is absolutely not in any way the responsibility of Northland Paddleboarding or The Pear Tree to provide safety cover or any other liability in any form. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you and your equipment are in suitable and appropriate condition for a 4km hard paddle.
Please also extend this self-responsibility to ensuring adequate sun protection during the summer season, and keeping yourself sufficiently well hydrated.
You can join in on anything you like. Ideally though, we'd prefer no multihull craft or paddleboards longer than 14', unless by prior arrangement..
Ok, so you may not win. But there's no prize for winning anyway, so that doesn't matter. However, you will get your finishing time recorded, so next race you can aim to beat that time. And for sure, wherever you are in the pack, there will be other people going at about the same speed as you, who you can challenge yourself against.
Great stuff - let's make it happen! Contact Northland Paddleboarding to organise a board. We have a full fleet of race-capable boards in all different sizes and suitabilities for different weight riders. There is no charge to borrow some gear for your first few races. A $15 rental fee will apply after then, but hopefully by that time you'll be so in love with the sport that you'll be wanting to get your own gear anyway! In which case Northland Paddleboarding can help every step of the way, ensuring that you get the right equipment for your budget, your build, and proper future progression... (If you are planning to borrow a board please bring some photo ID that we can hang on to while you're out there on our gear.)
Totally. Northland Paddleboarding has a fleet of more speed-orientated boards, right up to Elite raceboards, available to borrow and demo. This is best organised in advance, so contact Northland Paddleboarding here. (If you are planning to borrow a board please bring some photo ID that we can hang on to while you're out there on our gear.)
Instructors from Northland Paddleboarding will be at the racing, and will be offering tips and advice. However, if you really want to improve your best bet is to book some coaching - guaranteed to improve your technique and speed! You are also welcome to join our Squad training sessions on Tuesday morning. (Please contact us first to book your slot).
Actually, yes. The Pear Tree restaurant have very kindly said that they will stand a free drink (beer or wine) to whoever is deemed the most worthy recipient, after each race. The winner of this will be decided by popular opinion. It could be the most improved paddler, the most impressive wipeout, the most outrageous overtaking manouevre, the most sportsmanlike behaviour.... who knows! But the important thing is that anyone who participates will be eligible to win it.
It's amazing how racing increases the motivation. You can't help but paddle that little bit harder and faster, push yourself that little bit more. You simply go harder when you race. And consequently the fitness benefits are that much greater. You burn more calories. You improve your aerobic and anaerobic thresholds (ie you increase your stamina). And if you manage to improve on last week's time, your sense of achievement and satisfaction is that much greater too. So even if you have no intention ever of competing seriously, building the Paddle at the Pear Tree race into your weekly activity schedule will be very very good for you!
Yes, we do. We have to start earlier in the winter, otherwise we run out of daylight. But it's still great fun, and the sense of achievement afterwards, when you're in the pub by the fire warming up with a hot toddy, is actually even greater. You really feel like you've cheated mother nature!
A race will happen every Thursday at the Pear Tree. However, there are other informal race series like this operating elsewhere in Northland, so we may well also issue a home-and-away challenge from time to time. Take a road trip down to Whangarei or up to Mangonui to measure ourselves against their crew, and invite them to come and join us...
Great!Northland Paddleboarding offers training to the highest level - we have put racers on the Podium at the National Championships. If that's your ambition, then we'll be delighted to help you every step of the way. We already run regular weekly squad training sessions, and are happy to organise more, if the demand is there.
Want to give paddleboarding a try? Here's your chance. Normally we prefer first timers to have a proper lesson with us, and we'd still recommend this for anyone (or groups) who has any would be better off in a dedicated lesson environment. However, if you're in excellent health and reasonably sporty, not afraid of a new challenge, and happy to proceed on a more ad hoc, 'own risk' basis, then each week at the Paddle at the Pear Tree Thursday session (weather and water conditions permitting), we will have a couple of places available for first timers. There will be a small charge of $30, for which you will get an introductory lesson, and a qualified instructor will be with you on the water - and the price includes a completely free session on a following week. So you get a whole lot for that $30!
It's not a full-fledged stand up paddleboarding lesson, which covers a whole lot more technique and comes with a lot more information, plus the undivided attention of your professional instructor throughout. (Click here for more info about proper lessons). This is more of a taster session, giving you enough information to get you up and paddling, so you can see what it's like, and whether you'd like to take the sport further.
All equipment is provided (and is state-of-the-art learning gear, the best available), along with information to take away about the sport and how to take it further. If you enjoy it, we'd definitely recommend following up with a proper lesson, which will give you a thorough grounding in essential techniques.
It's first come first served for the beginner slots, and there is often a waiting list! So get your name down as early as possible if you'd like to have a go. Contact us with your name, approx height and weight (so we can match you to the right equipment), at least 24 hours in advance, and let's get you onto the water!
And as said, once you've had your lesson, you're welcome to come and use our gear on any subsequent Thursday Paddle at the Pear Tree session (prebooking essential). This really is the gateway to a whole new world of watersports fun!
Please note that beginner sessions are conditions-dependent. Northland Paddleboarding reserves the right to make the decision not to put you onto the water if they judge the conditions to be unsuitable for any reason, even if you have pre-booked and travelled to be there. (Obviously if a hurricane is forecast then the decision not to run sessions will be made well in advance! But it might just be that it turns out to be much windier than expected, etc). We also reserve the right to cancel or shorten the lesson if we decide that for whatever reason, the Paddle at the Pear Tree Thursday night session is not the right environment for your first experience of paddleboarding and you would be better off in a more supervised environment.
The lesson is at 5pm and you must be there at that time. If you're late, the lesson will start without you and you'll miss your opportunity. The timing is important as we want to get you onto the water and out of the way before all the regular paddlers start arriving with their big race boards and blocking up the launching ramp!
Anyone under 16 must have an adult in the group and on the water with them and in close supervision at all times. A maximum of one U16 per adult in the group. (If you have a family of youngsters all wanting to give paddleboarding a go then you're much better off booking a normal lesson, the cost will be about the same anyway and it'll be a much better environment.
For all the other standard first-time questions and answers we'll refer you to our lessons page.