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New Zealand is arguably one of the most picturesque countries in the world. Dramatic landscapes made up of remarkable glaciers, rolling rugged hills, miles of golden sandy beaches and rich, lush lakes all make for a real adventure playground!
Bronte, from Red Paddle co Australia, recently hopped over to the South Island to explore the vibrant and bustling city of Queenstown. Drawing-in thousands of thrill-seekers from around the world, Queenstown is best known for its assortment of adrenaline fuelled activities. While it was tempting to get involved and have a go at the “mother of all bungy jumps”, we had far calmer plans in mind.
SUP Fishing and Foraging New Zealand
Rumour had it a local chef had been commuting to work on his 10’6” Ride paddle board whilst catching fresh fish and foraging for herbs along the way. He definitely sounded like our kind of guy, so Bronte sought him out to hear his SUP story.
Will Eaglesfield is an Executive Chef for a group of renowned local restaurants in the Queenstown area – the Eichardt’s Bar, The Grille by Eichardt’s, and No5 Church Lane. Each top end restaurant offers iconic and stylish dining with a focus on locally sourced, fresh ingredients.
We met Will down at Moke Lake (just a 10 minute drive from Queenstown), and by the time I’d arrived he was already far out on the lake with a rather interesting contraption strapped to the front of his board.
“Moke Lake is still one of the most beautiful places I have paddled, it really is hard to beat – I love the local high country and it looks even better reflected in a pristine lake! When I first bought my board I’d originally planned to use it for occasional flat-water paddles and light surf, but when I realised how tranquil the sport could be, a few other ideas came to mind.”
“I’d seen some cheap SUP boards for sale which I thought would be a fun toy for my regular family trips to the Catlins. However, after a bit of research I decided it would be worth splashing out on a good one, and the Red Paddle Co Ride 10’6” came out the winner.
Will has ingeniously designed a contraption that allows two rods to be trailing his 10’6 Ride whilst he paddles and it seems to be paying off…
Paddling pace is the perfect speed for trolling (towing a lure or sinking line behind you) and now I’m out on it any chance I get. I’m no morning person but I’m getting up at 6am to get out when the water is mirror-calm and the fish are biting. It’s addictive!”
While it is clear to see Will has been truly converted to SUP he shares this passion with sourcing the best ingredients for his menu in the restaurant.
“I have a passion for authentic local produce. A lot of what we serve in the restaurant features home-grown produce and our menu’s tend often feature locally foraged produce and distinct Queenstown flavours. Using my SUP to help source some of the ingredients is an important extension of this passion.”
“There are two main reasons I like to eat locally. The first is quality – buying straight from local suppliers gives that extra time on the tree, vine or bush during ripening and adds a lot of extra flavour. The second is satisfaction. I enjoy a meal much more when I know where everything came from, it increases my respect for the ingredients featured in the dish.”
Living in New Zealand, Will is pretty spoilt for lakes and beautiful places to paddle, he is off on a family holiday to Malborough Sounds, Waikawa in a few weeks time and of course the SUP is going with him…
“I’m lucky I can use my board for family adventures as well as an enjoyable perk of my job -whether that be commuting to work, fishing and foraging. The restaurant is right on the Lakefront, and I live a couple of kilometres along the shore at Sunshine Bay. I can paddle right up to the beach in front, hop off and drop my morning catch in the Kitchen. I catch more fish from my board than I do standing on the shores…a little tip for any fishermen out there!”
If you’re heading to New Zealand anytime soon then make sure you head over to Eichardt’s! They have delicious food and the accommodation is beautiful. Along the Lake front, overlooked by the restaurant, you also can rent Red Paddle Co boards, so you too can SUP the gorgeous Queenstown Lake. Maybe you’ll spot Will commuting, fishing and foraging too.
Will kindly shared this tasty foraging recipe which we will definitely be trying out in the Red HQ kitchen!