Our Team


About Us:



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Topsport Kayaking has a long established history with the kayaking industry and the Coast to Coast. Over the past 25 years we have built a solid reputation for our ever-popular kayaking courses and river trips.  In that 25 years Topsport has instructed over 1200 clients to become capable and confident kayakers. Not only that but we have guided well over 4300 clients down the Waimakariri River. We love to teach and share our passion for paddling. Seeing our paddlers gain the skills and confidence they need to succeed out on the water is how we measure our success. 



In November 2014 Topsport Kayaking became a registered Adventure Activity Operator with Work Safe New Zealand. Our safety management plan was audited by Outdoors Mark New Zealand. This certification process has ensured that our business operates in accordance with New Zealand law.











Meet Our Team:




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Len Smyth



BRS - Lincoln University

NZOIA Kayak 1 Training / Pre-Hospital Emergency First Aid / River Safety 1 


Len Smyth is the Company Director and Owner of Topsport Kayaking. He has owned the company for nearly 20 years. Len developed a passion for kayaking in his twenties, which lead him to signing up for his first Coast to Coast.  After his first race he was hooked. Len has been a strong supporter of multisport in Canterbury over the years, contributing to the sport in so many ways. Now with 14 completed Coast to Coast races to his name Len can safely say he knows the ins and outs of this iconic event.  As the Director of Topsport Kayaking Len’s role is focused on keeping our safety polices and procedures current as well as overseeing the daily requirements of our paddlers, from equipment selection and setup through to repairs of kayaks and paddles. Len is also one of our lead river guides. Len started paddling the river in 1991 and has been guiding since 1998. Len has logged over 300 trips on the Waimak! 










Chris Stagg


Bachelor of Sport & Recreation (Outdoor & Management)
NZOIA Kayak 1 | Canoe racing NZ Coach | Pre-Hospital Emergency & Outdoor First Aid

Chris has been around the multi-sport and white water scene for a while now celebrating his 7th season of leading Grade II Courses and Waimakariri Gorge Trips. He joined the Topsport crew from the North Island last year and is loving the multi-sport capital of the world! His passion is to get people active whether starting the sport for the first time or developing programmes and technique analysis for athletes with higher goals. He also spends a lot of his time working with Complete Performance and other projects to keep him on the ball. Nothing is more exciting to Chris than helping you to achieve the extraordinary!






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Sam Manson


Diploma in Outdoor Instructing and Guiding NZOIA Kayak 1 Training | Pre-Hospital Emergency Care First Aid


Sam joined Topsport Kayaking at the end of 2015. He gained a Diploma in Outdoor Instruction and Guiding in 2016 while studying at Tai Poutini Polytechnic. The year was specialised in advanced white water kayaking rescue, white water kayaking instruction/guiding, advanced white water rafting rescue, white water raft guiding, advanced bush and mountain skill, meteorology, teaching and more. He has over 10 years of white water kayaking experience and did his first course at the reputable NZ Kayak School Murchison in 2009. Sam began paddling on the Waimakariri River in 2012 as he prepared for his first Longest Day Coast to Coast in 2013. Since then Sam has consecutivley finished 5 World Champs inside the top 10. In 2017 Sam finished on the 3rd on the podium behind two previous winners. He is the current (2017) Waimakariri Classic River Race Champion. Sam is near the top of the game as one of the best NZ Multisport athletes and keen to share his knowledge with you. 







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 Kate Cambie


Kate Cambie is the Business Manager at Topsport Kayaking. Kate began kayaking in 2005 with a goal of racing in the individual two-day Coast to Coast. From there her interest in multisport began to grow. Her passion for kayaking and customer service is combined in her role at Topsport and Kate will often be your first point of contact. Kate is a previous winner of the Classic River Race and had the fastest female kayak split at the 2016 Coast to Coast.