IKW 2018 – Week of Sea Kayaking in Marlborough Sounds

IKW (International Kayak Week) is an annual sea kayaking event that follows KASK Kayak Fest. Historically IKW has been a multiday social event that brings together local kayakers and visiting international paddlers in the vicinity of the location of the annual KASK sea kayaking forum – The Kayak Fest. This year’s IKW will be the week after the Kayak Fest and across Cook Strait in Marlborough Sounds.

Where is IKW?

Based at and paddling out of Elaine Bay and French Pass Campsites, Marlborough Sounds.

When is IKW?

  • Part 1 – Elaine Bay – exploring the Pelorus Sound – from Monday, 5 March to and including Friday, 9 March
  • Moving Day – Saturday, 10 March
  • Part 2 – French Pass – gateway to D’Urville Island – from Saturday, 10 March to Wednesday, 14 March

– Paddlers can attend both Parts 1 & 2 combined or just Part 1 or Part 2.
– Depending on the weather – locations may change if conditions are going to be more suitable for French Pass/D’Urville Island etc. for Part 1.

Map of camp spots - Sea kayaking in Marlborough Sounds - IKW 2018Click on the photos to view the campsites and surrounding areas.

Organiser: Shaun Maclaren

Shaun Maclaren , “To me paddling should be fun, safe and challenging.”

Email Shaun: Send Mail

International Kayak Week 2017 was held on Great Barrier and organised by Martin Morris. We were fortunate enough to have John Kirk-Anderson and Deb Volturno so there were plenty of learning opportunities. We are hoping that they will return with some more local and international legends! Continuing on from last year’s theme will be rough water rescues – self and assisted, for those who want to grow their confidence in this area.

The Marlborough Sounds, in particular D’Urville Island, is a unique venue which includes some of the best and most spectacular paddling in the world.

If paddling conditions become too extreme, Elaine Bay offers a good base for walking or mountain biking nearby tracks or just chill’n on the beach.

Sea kayaking in Marlborough Sounds - IKW 2018

In keeping with the loosely structured nature of the week, we will keep to established IKW guidelines:

Who should attend this sea kayaking event:  

Intermediate and advanced sea kayakers – anyone with an interest in taking their sea kayaking skills further.

Intermediate = a paddler who is comfortable with winds up to 25 knots / swell up to 1.5 metres, who can maintain a course in wind and current and is comfortable with self-rescues and surf landing.

The IKW sea kayaking program:

We will make it up as we go along – in the best IKW style, doing what is possible and safe with the wind, swell and weather forecasts that we have. That’s the only way to do it really – map out the possibilities and go with the best option for each day.


Both Elaine Bay and French Pass are DoC run campsites.

In tents or vehicles on non-powered sites.

Elaine Bay – 20 non-powered sites (40 persons) – costing $8 per person per night – No advance booking required – first come, first served. Elaine Bay Campsite.

French Pass – 18 non-powered sites (36 persons) – costing $13 per night. Bookings required, however I am in the process of making arrangements and will keep you all informed of developments. French Pass Campsite.


The event will be self-catered – re-supply provisions are available at Okiwi Motor Camp and at the French Pass General Store.

In order to save time, it is recommended to stock up with provisions prior to catching the ferry from  Wellington.

 How to get there


  1. From the Kayak Fest, catch the ferry from Wellington to Picton on Monday, 5 March and return on Thursday, 15 March or
  2. Catch the ferry on Monday, 5 March and return to Wellington on Saturday, 10 March or
  3. Catch the ferry on Saturday, 10 March and return on Thursday, 15 March
  4. Discounted group fares have been obtained from both Bluebridge and the Interislander.

Bluebridge prices are the most competitive and further sponsorship is being sought.

  1. Single Journey – $40 per person, $112 per car, $112 per trailer and $10 ‘walk on with kayak’
  2. Crossing takes about 3 ½ hours.
  3. Promotional Codes and details will be sent to those who register.

From Picton:

  1. Follow State Highway 1 to Spring Creek (towards Blenheim) – across to State Highway 6 to Havelock.
  2. Turn off SH 6 north of Rai Valley into Ronga Road, which becomes Croisilles-French Pass Road. Continue through Okiwi Bay and after approx. 10 km turn into Elaine Bay Road. Follow to end.
  3. Access is by a sealed, narrow, winding road.
  4. For those who require transport from Picton to Elaine Bay/French Pass. Please let Shaun know at time of registration. A mini bus and trailer (8 kayaks) can be arranged at a cost to the user.
  5. Driving time from Picton to Elaine Bay is just over 2 hours and from Picton to French Pass is just over 2 ½ hours.

If you are interested in joining us for IKW 2018 please confirm your attendance by the email below or get in touch with any queries:

Shaun Maclaren at adventurepaddler1@gmail.com


IKW 2018 is not organised by KASK and not an official KASK event – however, KASK support it.