Crossing the Ditch (James Castrission & Justin Jones)

crossingtheditch.jpgCrossing the Ditch is a motivational presentation formed by Australian adventurers and keynote speakers James Castrission and Justin Jones. Together they attempted the world’s first Trans-Tasman kayak expedition from Australia to New Zealand. Through committing to achieving one of “Australia´s last great first” adventures, they wish to inspire others not to be afraid of pursuing their own adventures and dreams.

On November 13 2007, James Castrission and Justin Jones departed Forster, Australia to embark on a journey that no other had ever achieved…62 days later, they arrived in New Plymouth, New Zealand. James and Justin kayaked 3318km, braved 10 metre swells, howling winds, endured severe food and sleep deprivation and adverse winds and currents. They became the first kayakers to cross the Tasman Sea and the longest transoceanic double kayak expedition. Staggering upon the shores of ew Zealand, the adventurers were sunburnt, bearded, underweight, and physically and mentally wasted…but most of all happy to be alive.

They are the proud recipients of the Young Adventurers of the Year 2008 and Spirit of Mateship Award between Australia and New Zealand 2008. James holds a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Sydney, and has worked both as an Accountant and Management Consultant for Deloitte Touche Tomatsu. Justin has completed a Bachelor of Advanced Science with Honours at the University of New South Wales and is currently completing his Masters of Commerce. They became firm friends whilst at Knox Grammar School in Sydney.

The duo’s business and science foundation allows them to draw on relevant anecdotes to convey crucial business lessons in their presentations. What sort of young men would attempt such frightful feats? Earlier in their lives, James and Justin paddled the infamous Bass Strait and became the first to kayak the length of the Murray River, all 2560km. They have run numerous ultra-marathons, attained their yachting crew qualifications and duelled with the open waters under sail. International climbing expeditions have been led in America (The Nose, El Capitan), New Zealand (notable ascents: Mount Cook and Mount Aspiring) and Papua New Guinea.

They are now sharing their secrets of survival with many corporations with insights into leadership, teamwork, risk management and how to overcome adversity. James and Justin’s book will be released by Harper Collins and a documentary on their adventure is also currently in production.

A unique presentation for American audiences, the keynote highlights how the two Aussie mates achieved one of the “last great firsts” of Australian Adventure. To date they have shared their story with over 25,000 people. Along with their dynamic, energetic presentation style, the keynote includes an unforgettable multimedia presentation with stunning footage and imagery to convey the sense of adventure and inspiration they experienced during their expedition.

Program Descriptions:

Strategic Planning for 30 Foot Seas, Sharks and Fear of Death
Why did two young successful Aussies sacrifice all to achieve a seemingly impossible dream? How did they go about planning
for such an expedition? This intriguing presentation examines the key lessons learnt from the boys’ four year journey. Kayaking the Tasman in 62 days: 90% planning, 10% paddling. The perfect presentation for organisations demanding to learn the key to how two young Aussie mates achieved one of the “last great firsts” of Australian Adventure. The key to their survival will be unveiled in this fascinating seminar.

Daring to Dream- and Riding Out the Storm

The perfect after dinner presentation. In this mind-blowing account, the boys share with the audience what life on the Tasman was like. Plenty of laughter, banter and description of what it takes to become the first team to ever cross the Tasman by kayak.

Success:  Teamwork, not Protocol

Designed for organisations demanding world best practice from their managers and teams. James and Justin were not the best kayakers, sponsorship negotiators, weather forecasters, electrical engineers, doctors or designers. Their key to crossing the Tasman was their ability to manage a world class team.


Funny, inspirational, motivational – an hour with Justin and James makes the spirit soar. They spent 62 days in a leaky boat and proved that with dedication, determination and two very brave hearts, it is possible to achieve the impossible dream, to stare down your greatest fears, to do the undoable and enjoy the pure rewards of achievement and triumph. After spending 62 minutes listening to these two can-do blokes from Sydney speak, I defy you to not be inspired and embrace your own challenge
and reshape your own future.
Sandra Lee, best-selling author and journalist
Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Magazine

What an inspirational story. Justin and James seem like ordinary young men, until you hear their story and the journey they accomplished that you realise just how extraordinary they really are. The sheer passion they displayed is uplifting and inspirational.
Todd Kardash, Head of Adviser Distribution

Crossing The Ditch gave me the experience of hearing first hand what can be achieved through preparation, commitment, perseverance and a tough attitude. It also showed what special Australian Adventurers James and Justin really are. A truly great story which gets me excited as I feel this may only be the start for these Great Aussie Adventurers.
Ricky Stuart
Australian Rugby League and Cronulla Sharks Head Coach

They spoke of their adventure with a great balance of facts, emotion and humour, and most importantly, they linked in very well with our conference themes of planning and team-work.
Anthony Rose
Foster’s Group

Their ability to describe their incredible adventure in a light-hearted and entertaining way was also balanced with clear messages of the importance of planning, teamwork and persistence, giving our clients and lawyers a lot to talk about after the presentation.
Melissa Lyon Business Development Manager, Financial Services Industry Group
Minter Ellison Lawyers

Justin and James gave us a timely reminder about digging in when times are tough and never giving up. By no means what we do goes even close to the what James and Justin have done but there are some general themes that we can take on board from their unbelievable journey. They are great guys with an inspirational story and they will always be welcome at the Waratahs.
Phil Waugh
Vice Captain – Australian Wallabies

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