Paddling giant pumpkins

Giant Pumpkin Boat Racing – A NZ First

In a NZ first Tim Harris was the first man to paddle in a giant pumpkin. I went along to help out and due to everything going really well I also ended up in a giant pumpkin.


A bit of footage from the day including exclusive footage from the camera I was wearing when we paddled around.

How the day unfolded

I managed to get the day off work which was really good as I didn’t want to miss out on any of this as I did when Scott Cully was over here and carving.

First off I went out to Tim’s place where everything was pretty calm, he was busy finishing up on the farm after doing 3 seperate radio interviews that morning. We knew two TV crews were coming with TV One down to turn up first.

It turned out the Campbell Live team turned up first and were keen to get started with the interview. I was impressed with all the reporters asking pretty good questions throughout the day. Tim’s wife Mel was interviewed a bit during the day and I got roped in a couple of times to have a chat.

Tim decided to take two pumpkins to have one as a back up just in case we broke the first one some how, if the first one went well, we would turn the second one into another boat.

Two Pumpkins on Trailer

There were all sorts of shots going on while we were starting to get the lifting rig set up on the pumpkins, and everything worked well getting them onto the trailer.

All strapped down it was time to head off to the gardens.

Getting them into the water

We had the help of the great team from Hamilton City Council who work at the gardens. We were unsure if their little tractor was capable of lifting the pumpkins, but it managed to do it which was good as I’m not too sure what the back up plan was for that.

Pumpkin being lifted into the water

The pumpkins floated really well and were very bouyent but had the tendancy to want to float away, that was my cue to get into the water and babysit the first one while the second one came over.

Time to start making the pumpkin boat

We rotated the pumpkins around until we got the top which seemed better for the hole and started the process of cutting it out, starting small and making it bigger as we went from the advice we had been given.

It went really well, and scooping the insides out was sometimes hard to reach the very bottom as we were in the water but it all seemed to work in the end.

Scooped out pumpkin

Time for life jackets and to get Tim into the boat, once he was in I had to get into mine. It is a very strange feeling sitting in a giant vegetable floating on some water and realising no one locally has done this before. It was also strange with so many people watching and all the cameras.

How the boat handled

The pumpkins handled really really well and we were both hard pressed to see how you could tip out of one. We paddled across the lake and said hi to the reporter on the other side, paddled back towards every one and then had a little bit of a race. At about this point in time my left leg was killing me, it was cramping up constantly and I just wanted to get out of the pumpkin.

Paddling giant pumpkin

It was a great day and we were pleased with the turn out, hopefully next year we can get more people into giant pumpkins and have a proper regatta and maybe try out an outboard motor.

A huge thanks to everyone who helped out or supported this crazy idea, thanks to everyone that helped take photos or video, it is hard to capture images when you are in the middle of doing something, thanks to Gareth and my sister for helping out with that.

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