Monday, June 9, 2008


I've gotta say. Robin Judkins autobiography "Mad Dogs...A life on the edge" is a pearler. Finally dug it out of a mates bookshelf up at Arthurs Pass recently and curled up on the couch to read it, while the others went Coast 2 Coast training. It was raining.

You can't help but love and hate the guy (more on his character later) but the narrative captures you and as an adventurous type you can't help but want to be there at his imaginative early events, the Alpine Ironmen, the Xerox Challenge and the early days of the Coast 2 Coast. Through these events Judkins challenged and changed the populations perspectives on adventure sports events. It was possible to go Coast to Coast in a day and it was possible for everyday people to travel the length of the country in a month by foot, bike and kayak. Judkins busted down the door for adventure sports events.

Judkins presented the multisport dream to the masses. TV adds, documentary, news. It was at one time common to see Judkins and his sporty sidekick Gurney, doing something ridiculous to promote multisport and themselves. The doco made about the 1987? Alpine Ironman is priceless. Skiers, kayakers and runners wiping out to the Chris Rea soundtrack. It can now be found on youtube, falsely? labelled the 1981 Alpine Ironman. I remember as a kid watching in the evenings as Gurney battled with John Knight in the Xerox Challenge. It was brilliant.

Now theres plenty of people who think Judkins is a bastard (this is the character bit)and that the Coast to Coast is ridiculously overpriced (these two concepts are often related) but heres my take, for what its worth having never met the guy.

1) the people who express this are often self important athletes who have probably asked him for a free entry too early in the morning

2)Judkins and the Coast to Coast have created an industry. Both directly through the Coast to Coast and the outdoor event culture he blazed the path in. Kayak manufacturers, retail stores, other event organisers, arthurs pass hoteliers, cycle stores, etc have all made a killing off Judkins.

3) he has given countless people new ideas on what they are capable of

4) Judkins deserves the money. Wealth should go to wealth creators, not those of us who drag on their coat-tails. The Coast to Coast is fairly priced, other newer events are far more dubious, and theres a few retailers around who should definitely be boycotted

Good on you Judkins for showing us the way and also for filling in the time it took for my friends to run the Mingha/Deception, kayak the Waimak, cook dinner and bring me a Speights from the fridge. At worst you're an interesting bastard.

1 comment:

Bob McKerrow said...

Good on yer Jamie. Juddy is OK. As mad as a meat axe but when he was broke, he started the Coast to Coast and turned it into a great event.

He doesn't publicise the work he is doing with Blue Ducks in Arthurs Pass/Goat Pass with DoC. He is putting some money back into the place that gave us the C to C, and Judkins a living after many years of running the event for guys like myself and making little, if any from it.

You may know, I wrote the first major book on the coast to CVoast way back in 1994. I wrote part of it in Afghanistan of all places. That is why I know Juddy better than most.

He is come to my new knees parts in mid November in Ch Ch when I get total knee replacements on two knees. I feel I need a farewell part for the two old patellas which served me so well. I am really enjoying your blog.

Take care mate.