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Old 02-24-2010   #1
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Getting a boats to New Zealand

So I'm heading to New Zealand to study abroad/intern for a year and was wondering if anyone had any experience with getting boats down there. I'm thinkin I'm going to take a playboat with me and pick up a creeker when im down there. Any advice or does anyone know what it will cost to take boats? Thanks

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Old 02-24-2010   #2
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
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Info may be out of date.

I took a boat to New Zealand back in the day (97' I think) and didn't have any trouble getting it there. I flew on United from Denver to Auckland. I got there extra early and told the lady I had a wind surfer. It cost me $100 to get the boat on the plane and it was fine. with all of the new airline regulations you will probably findout that things are different. At least the boats are shorter now.


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Old 02-24-2010   #3
Golden, Colorado
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I'd just get any boats that you need down there, especially if you are going to be there for so long.

I don't travel to kayak but I travel to surf and I can tell you that the oversize baggage fees have become RIDICULOUS.

In addition, airlines have "embargo" periods where they will deny all oversize baggage, no matter what, during periods that passengers statistically max out their baggage allowance. These periods can last for several weeks and you cannot reliably find out when they are.

The last time I flew to Mexico with my surfboard they weren't going to let me on (because of an embargo) until I told them I had called in advance to get assurance they would let me on with it. They reluctantly let me on with the surfboard, told me it really, really shouldn't be allowed, and then they proceeded to RAPE ME IN THE BEHIND and charged me $100 EACH WAY for my surfboard.

They acted like I was screwing up the whole system by even asking to bring something so big on a plane. I have been surf travelling for something like 20 years and it is way, way worse now than it has ever been.

I can't imagine what a kayak to New Zealand would cost in baggage fees and good luck getting a guarantee that they will let you on the plane with it when you show up at the airport. Bend over and grab your ankles because they will want to put something in your BEHIND.
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Old 02-24-2010   #4
Denver, Colorado
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My two cents...

Do a thorough site search on mountainbuzz and boatertalk on airlines. Lots and lots of historical info.

In general, you can travel with kayaks, each airline varies with policies, call up the airlines and verify policies and have a game plan before you go.

I recently did some checking on flying to Cali from CO with a boat. Most airlines flat out refuse kayaks. Frontier airlines allows kayaks, and its explicitly stated on thier website. Charge was $75 each way to bring a kayak, oversize and extra baggage fees apply.

Many folks have noted that they called the kayaks something else ie wave-ski. The idea was to call it something that wasn't listed in the regs, and not to call it a kayak so it wouldn't be banned.

Good luck!
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Old 02-24-2010   #5
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In my experience, the hardest part of flying with a kayak is simply getting it out of the U.S. Once abroad, most airlines I've dealt with don't care if you have a kayak. The U.S. carriers (and sometimes British Airways) suck. British Airways recently said, specifically, that they are going to no longer allow kayaks.

The airlines in the U.S. years ago did a survey of kayakers and surfers. They determined that kayakers, somehow, have more money than surfers. Thus, they want kayakers to pay to have their boat shipped independently (fed ex, dhl, something like that) which is way too expensive. Surfers, on the other hand, wouldn't go if they couldn't take their surf board on the plane. [Don't blame me- this is what the airline determined.] If you tell them at the airport it is a kayak, they often will refuse to take it. If you package it up in a bag and tell them it's a 'surf kit', they've always accepted it for me. I typically tell them it's a, "sit down surfer- surfing for people with bad knees." I hope that, if they refuse to take it, I could threaten discremination or something to the person at the ticket counter.

Be prepared to pay lots in baggage fees. I've gotten charged anywhere from $100 to $250 for each time I have to check my kayak.

As far as New Zealand- Blisstick is super cool about hooking up foreigns with good deals. One can work in the factory on the north island for 50 hours, make their own boat, and pay something like $450 U.S. for it. When I went I told them I didn't have time to work in the factory, so they sold me a cosmetic 2nd boat for $650 U.S. The deal is they want you to take the boat with you when you leave the country.

If you have any specific questions about getting a kayak to NZ feel free to PM me. I also probably have some of the Blisstick email addresses around if you like them. They totally hooked me up (even drove the boat across the country to give it to me). I can't say enough good stuff about how they treated me.


(p.s. I still have a boat down there I'd like to bring back. If you felt like bringing it back I'd happily pay the baggage fees)
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Old 02-25-2010   #6
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Frontier is the airline that didn't want to let me on the plane with a board after the person on the phone said 'sure no problem' and then charged $100 each way in baggage fees. The total baggage fees were about 40% of the cost of a roundtrip ticket for me.

Calling ahead is mandatory but that isn't going to guarantee anything. Be prepared with a backup plan when you show up at the airport because the people at the ticket desk have nothing to do with the people on the phone who said, "sure, bring your boat".

I flew to Chile with surboards once and the guys in front of me in line had a stack of kayaks, those fuckers. The ticket counter was PISSED by the time they got to me. After they finished with those guys they weighed my board bag and charged me about $200 to get it on the plane.

No matter what airlines say, they hate kayakers and surfers equally and they will charge you a lot and they might not even let you on with it. There is no guarantee when you show up at the ticket counter with some huge piece of baggage.

The guys at the ticket counter hate it because they can't figure out the policy for it and it won't go on the conveyor belt and they have to call someone, the guy who comes and wheels it away from the ticket desk hates it unless you slip him $10 and the guys who put it on the plane hate it and they'll smash the shit out of it on purpose. I guess you are lucky you have an indestructable boat and not a surfboard. They stomp on those things on purpose.
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Old 02-25-2010   #7
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Thanks for all the input. I had heard about the working for bliss-stick deal, definitely will do that if I can. Im actually gonna try to do an internship with them.

I got this off of Air New Zealand's website:

Oversized Items
If you are travelling with items that exceed maximum dimensions for checked baggage, these are classified as oversized.

Examples of oversized items are bicycles, surfboards, hang-gliders and wind-surfers. Since these are larger items, carriage will be subject to availability of space on the aircraft.

The following items may be considered as one standard piece of baggage:

Any portable musical instrument not exceeding 100cm in length
One bicycle
One surfboard
One pair of snow skis
One snowboard
One pair of water skis
One golf bag containing golf clubs and one pair of shoes
Please note there is a maximum weight restriction of 32kg (70 lbs) per item and length restrictions also apply.

Sporting Equipment

Sporting equipment is defined as a bag or piece of equipment obviously dedicated to the pursuit of sporting activity.

For travel in New Zealand the checked baggage allowance is 1 piece up to 25kg free.

Sounds like they are pretty lax, but I'm gonna have to research airlines that connect w/ Air NZ before booking. Based on what y'all are saying is I'm gonna need to be prepared to pay a shit ton of money if I do decide to take a boat. I'm sure I'm gonna need all the luggage space I can get to get all my other gear/toys down there. Probably will just buy 2 boats down there.
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Old 02-25-2010   #8
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We bought boats from Blisstick when we were down there. They were awesome, and then we were getting ready to leave, we left the boats with them and they shipped them over with their normal boat supply to the US and let us pick them up. The charge was way more reasonable than trying to do the fly with the boat option. Of course you have to wait a little to get your boat on the US side. Not much though.
I would call them!
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Old 02-25-2010   #9
Denver, Colorado
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I hear you on the ticket counter confusion Ture. Even the folks on the phone don't know how to handle it without digging into it. One good thing about fronteir is that their website explicitly lists kayaks in the sports equipment section of what they take. I plan on printing that out and having it with me when I travel. Doesn't gaurantee no problems, but could alleviate some of the head scratching.

To me its a simple economic analysis. Sure it costs money to get the board or boat on the plane, but it the total cost to travel with the boat is less than rental or purchase at your destination, its worth it.

The baggage fee's are excessive though, but I suspect this is mainly to discourage people from flying with all kinds of huge shit so the airlines don't have to deal with it.
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Old 02-26-2010   #10
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Buddy of mine called the airline they were flying (don't recall which one- flight from Christchurch to the U.S.) and they gave them a set price for flying a kayak. It was something like $250 (though I don't recall which currency that was).

Suz- How much did it cost to get your boat shipped back by Blisstick?

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