By Radix Team 20/04/2017 3:15 pm
Giltrap VW King and Queen of the Harbour

Radix recently got together with Garth Spencer to talk about the upcoming Giltrap VW King and Queen of the Harbour, taking place in Auckland, 28th to 29th April. 

Since Spencer is a keen advocate for the consumption of wholefoods in their natural state, we knew we’d get along….

“I want to associate the King and Queen of the Harbour (KQH) with companies like Radix, who share our values. It is not easy to find quality food when you are time-poor.”

KQH doubles as New Zealand’s iconic national Ocean Racing Championships and  the first event in the 2017 World Surfski Series. Hosted by Pacific Ocean Paddlers, it will feature Surfski (marathon ocean paddling racing kayaks) Stand-Up-Paddleboard (SUP), Prone Paddle Board and Waka-Ama categories.


Sam Clark wins the C2C

“Pacific Ocean Paddlers started as an open group on Facebook. Previous race Director, Terry Newsome, asked me to take over the King and Queen of the Harbour event three years ago. I put a small team together – since then we’ve had 100% growth. As Director, it’s my job to provide quality events, grow the numbers of participants and ensure the paddling community gets the support it needs.”

“It’s cathartic to get out on the water and train on your own, but there’s a social side people don’t always see. As members of Royal Akarana Yacht Club, our club is very sociable - many people come for that reason.”

Members do not have to race, but for those with a competitive streak, the Pacific Ocean Paddlers host five events per season – the first four are the Auckland Downwind Spring Series and the fifth is the much-anticipated, end-of-season KQH.

As a not-for-profit organisation, Pacific Ocean Paddlers rely heavily upon volunteers, local club support, paddling industry support and partnerships through organisations like Giltrap Volkswagen.

“This year I’ve been amazed by the generosity of sponsors and individuals who have donated time and prizes for KQH. It’s fantastic to see so many people motivated to grow this community event.”

As a World Surfski Series event, KQH is generating huge interest within NZ and across the globe. With greater competitor entries than ever before and many fantastic prizes on the table, there is a total cash prize pool of more than $18,000.

“KQH began 15 years ago. Over time, a world series emerged with a point system, encouraging athletes to compete in events globally. Having paddled eight KQH events myself, I’m dedicated to turn it into a quality world-class event. This year, I’d love us to reach 200 entries.”

“I have two visions – firstly, promote health and wellness through activity and informed nutrition. Secondly, to see technological advances improve sport safety and popularity.”

Most weekends, Spencer and his family pack their Volkswagen van, (boats secured on the roof) and set off on adventures.

“Paddle excursions are the very best way to explore this beautiful country. We always bring Radix freeze-dried meals, meaning less time spent preparing food. All we need is a kettle and we can eat healthy, highly-nutritious meals in minutes. The boys have their favourite flavours and see them as a real treat.”

Latterly, as surfskiing has taken off across the globe, it has caught the attention of the International Canoe Federation.  Spencer is keen to contribute to new, more inclusive regulations.

“I’m a big supporter of leveraging technology here. While Stand Up Paddle boards are ripping on foils, surfskis haven’t changed much in 20 years. I think we need to re-write some rules, particularly the weight of surf lifesaving specification skis, and the use of foils. I would like KQH to be the first World Surfski Series race to embrace new technology, in a safe manner.”

Safety is key.

“We are working on the use of a safety device that could revolutionise paddlesports. Imagine a simple chip that communicates where and in what state each boat is at any time. Paddlers can inform others when they are going out and even how long they expect to be. This would also streamline race registration, route tracking and timekeeping.”

Spencer has a point. In a highly litigious era, it is imperative participation in sport becomes safer.

At Radix, we think this is one man to watch…

 “It’s my dream to develop paddle sports and maybe bring the ICF World Championships to New Zealand – time on the water is therapy and I want others to experience the peace and exhilaration too.”

If you would like to attend or participate in the King and Queen of the Harbour, or try out surf skiing for yourself, visit:


Facebook: Pacific Ocean Paddlers or @kingandqueenoftheharbour