The modern era of sea kayaking in fibreglass Eskimo style kayaks began in 1977 with the arrival of the first Nordkapp mould in New Zealand. It was imported by Grahame Sisson for three Nelson Canoe Club paddlers, Vic Hague, Brian Joyce and Brian Ogden, who were aiming to paddle around the Fiordland Coast from Jackson Bay to Te Waewae Bay. In mid-August 1977 the trio set off from Jackson Bay but after battling bad weather, big surf and seas, they pulled out at Milford Sound.

In December 1977, Max Reynolds and Paul Caffyn set off from Te Waewae Bay around the Fiordland coast, and limped into Jackson Bay 27 days later, both adamant that their next trip would be across the Sahara Desert, as far away from the sea as possible.