Alone in NZ with a Love Child
After being awarded Kyle Dempster Solo Adventure Award earlier this year Anthony Marra left his cosy job in Salt Lake City, Utah in September for a four month solo adventure, cycling, climbing, skiing and surfing his way around beautiful New Zealand.
Travelling with a partially custom made rig along with all of his climbing gear Anthony has a Modern Love Child on board for when he hits the coast.
We caught up with Anthony two weeks into his trip...
GSI: What is the background to this NZ adventure, what made you apply for the Kyle Dempster Solo Adventure Award?
AM: Kyle was/is an inspiration for me. His outlook on adventure and life has really motivated me to pursue my own dreams. Kyle was a local Salt Lake City climber with a vision for incredible human powered adventures, off the beaten path travel and big alpine climbs. On one particular trip, he filmed himself through Kyrgyzstan solo via bicycle to make first ascents on some massive peaks in the region. While the adventure morphed from his original plan, the lessons and story of the journey inspired me to bike solo from Canada to Mexico while climbing and skiing the major summits on the west coast of the United States. When the Kyle Dempster Solo Adventure Award was announced, I applied immediately. I wanted to do something that encompassed ridiculousness, human powered & sustainable travel, and something that embodied Kyle’s spirit of adventure... I knew I could carry my ski and alpine gear on a bicycle so the surfboard was the most logical step. NZ is one of those rare places where you can ‘easily’ combine biking, surfing, skiing and climbing in one massive trip.
GSI: How long is your NZ trip and what route are you taking?
AM: My trip will take 3-4 months as an estimate. I will be cycling from the northern tip of NZ to the very southern tip in a very circuitous path due to the peaks I’ll be climbing being spread out. There are 2 volcanoes I’ll be climbing and skiing on the North Island and 8 peaks on the South Island. I plan on following coastline as much as possible to maximise my chances of grabbing a good swell :)
GSI: Was your rig custom built?
AM: Partially. The trailer is a BOB YAK, but the surf and ski carry I built myself. It was a challenge to figure out the build and it took me several tries. I was happy to finally build something that could fit everything.
GSI: How much equipment have you got with you?
AM: Too much! Alpine climbing gear (ice tools, crampons, rope, harness), running equipment, skis and boots, camping gear, camera gear, and a surfboard + wetsuit. All together my gear and bike weighs around 70 kilogram
GSI: Have you done much surfing yet? What surf breaks do you plan on visiting?
AM: I have! I decided to bike from Auckland to Cape Reinga via the east coast because people were raving about the surf there. I surfed Te Arai, Mangawhai, and Waipu. On the way down from Cape Reinga I have only been to Shipwreck Bay so far. I plan to visit Raglan, Taranaki surf hwy, Wellington and loads more breaks on the South Island. I’ve only had one really great day in the water so far.... it’s difficult to hit the timing right when traveling by bicycle, but it makes those good days incredibly memorable.
GSI: How did you end up with a Modern Love Child on your rig?
AM: I went to a local surf shop in Auckland to pick out a board.... not being local and also a beginner/intermediate surfer I was having a difficult time choosing a board. Since I’m carrying so much weight and gear I needed to balance board length, width, and weight with my skill level and the variable conditions I’d be encountering. A local recommended three options, we both decided the 6’4” love child was a perfect fit. A ton of surfers I’ve met have all said that I chose the right board. I’m stoked on it!
GSI: We read on your Kyle Dempster Solo Adventure Award profile that on this trip you will be surfing as a celebration after climbing each peak. Our Mantra is Life is Better When you Surf - how does this resonate with you?
AM: Not only is it a celebration, but a method of meditation and reflection. The act of surfing is so simple in theory and really has a way of putting me in a great headspace. I can leave the beach feeling refreshed, stoked for my next objective and also have something to look forward to when I’m shivering in the alpine! It also allows me to meet some of the coolest people on earth as surfers generally have such a positive outlook on life and adventure. Surfing really adds a necessary flavour onto an already epic trip.
You can follow Anthony's adventrues via his instagram feed @anth.marra