Chris Duff is very famous for many of his endurance kayaking expeditions, including circumnavigation of Iceland; and solo circumnavigation of New Zealand and Ireland. He has also broken world records for being the first person to circumnavigate Great Britain alone. When asked why he chooses to partake in these solo expeditions, he replied:
There are very few times in our busy lives where we have the luxury of true solitude. I love the simple focus of these journeys; the physical challenges of the sea balanced by the inner calm which comes from living purposefully and so simply.
In 1999, Chris Duff decided to circumnavigate the south island of New Zealand. He began preparations on 29 November 1999 but did not start his voyage until 5 December 1999. Despite being considerably shorter than many of his other routes, at around 1700 miles, this journey is viewed as particularly demanding due to its location in the Roaring Forties.
Duff has been a guest speaker on the subject of sea kayaking many times. His appearances include L.L.Bean Symposium (Maine 1987, 1999, 2000, 2001), West Coast Symposium(Washington 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000), and The Great Lakes Symposium (Michigan 1997 and 2001). He is also involved in many motivational talks to schools and businesses. In 1999, he was featured as the keynote speaker at Canoecopia. He also has a four-star qualification for the teaching of sea kayaking.
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In addition to kayaking, Chirs Duff has written two books about his expeditions.
- On Celtic Tides, One mans journey (1999), St Martins Press. ISBN 0-312-20508-2 about his record breaking circumnavigation of Ireland
- Southern Exposure, a solo sea kayaking journey around New Zealands South Island (2003), The Globe Pequot Press. ISBN 0-7627-2595-8 about his solo circumnavigation of New Zealands South Island.
Awards and honors
- 2000 National Outdoor Book Award (Outdoor Literature category), On Celtic Tides
- 2003 National Outdoor Book Award (History/Biography category), Southern Exposure
- 2004 Banff Mountain Book Festival (Grand Prize), Southern Exposure