CHRIS HAYWARD: One man in a kayak, one hell of a paddle to beat river

Chris Hayward, 20, begins to tackle a tough section of the Murray River from Noreuil Park to the Hume Dam yesterday. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

Chris Hayward, 20, begins to tackle a tough section of the Murray River from Noreuil Park to the Hume Dam yesterday. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

THE first kayaker to paddle the Murray River upstream from near Hindmarsh Island to the Hume Dam says the stretch above Noreuil Park was the toughest part.

After completing last leg of the 2330 kilometres on Sunday, Chris Hayward, 20, swapped his kayak for a backpack and began to hike towards the summit of Mount Kosciuszko.

His solo expedition to raise $2000 for environmental charity Greenfleet began 4½ months ago, but the low river often exposing the pebbled river bottom presented problems.

“Getting from Albury to the Hume Dam was the hardest part of the expedition so far,” he said.

“Some parts were very strong and fast and I was literally inching by — it took me 20 minutes for a 100-metre stretch at some points.”

Since starting in December, he spent several days paddling in 40-degree heat and said he rescued 13 venomous snakes about to strike at camping spots.

In 2012, he was youngest person to kayak down the Murray River.

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