Best Foot Forward NZ takes on Jess MacDonald as its first ambassador

By February 9, 2021News
Bob MacLachlan and Jess MacDonald

Best Foot Forward NZ’s Bob McLachlan is excited to announce that his Wanaka-based adventure training business has taken on its first ambassador, Arrowtown’s Jess MacDonald.

A keen kayaker and budding adventure racer, Jess (15), did a guided paddle on the Waimakariri River – preparing for the Kathmandu Coast to Coast kayak leg – with Bob recently and he was impressed by her positive attitude and emerging paddling talent.

“There comes a time in an athlete’s life when it becomes important to give back and to pass on your knowledge. I wish I had someone to mentor me in my early racing years and now I’m in the position to help Jess out with her sporting future,” he says.

A Wakatipu High School Year 12 pupil, Jess was honoured to accept Best Foot Forward’s sponsorship proposal.

“I am super excited to see where this helps me progress to, not only as an athlete but as a person in general. I’ve learned about Bob’s varying achievements and more importantly the people he has raced alongside and the places he has been. It has opened my eyes to the opportunities that multisport presents,” she says.

“Learning from Bob is a wicked opportunity because I noticed that he is not all about improving and pushing physical limits but also the mental perspective of it all.”

Jess completed the 67km kayak section of the 2020 Kathmandu Coast to Coast as part of her school team. They won the Mixed High School Category and finished 8th overall in the two-day, three-person section. She returns to the Coast to Coast this Friday and Saturday with the same team and some more paddling experience under her belt.

As part of the Best Foot Forward NZ sponsorship, World Adventure Racing Champion Bob has given Jess some tips on nutrition, hydration and paddling gear to help ensure the challenging Coast to Coast kayak section goes smoothly. He has also spent time with her paddling on the Clutha River, using these practical sessions to work on her technique and river-reading skills.

Bob says: “We have been running Best Foot Forward NZ for three years now, offering adventure training, trips and guiding and it feels great to be able to help someone with Jess’ ability progress. I do a lot of kayaking tuition with athletes and I admire her natural confidence in the water, as that is something many people have to work hard to find.”

After racing all around the globe for many years, Bob (49) has semi-retired as an athlete and will continue to work with Jess as she pursues her goals.

Jess says: “One day, I want to complete the Coast to Coast longest day on my own. I also want to head overseas after this Covid business has sorted itself out to compete in races just like Bob has, along with competing in our backyard.”

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