Queenstown company Mad Dog finished


A Queenstown firm in­­volved in the river boarding death of a British tourist has ceased operating – five years on. 

Mad Dog River Boarding was bought out by rival firm Serious Fun River Surfing earlier this summer, Mountain Scene can reveal. Serious Fun will use its equipment but has ditched the tainted branding. 

Emily Jordan, 21, drowned on April 29, 2008, while on a Mad Dog River Boarding tour of the Kawarau River. 

Mad Dog accepted a plea bargain over the death, pleading guilty to two health and safety charges. It was fined $66,000 and ordered to pay $80,000 in reparation to the Jordan family. 

Mad Dog boss Brad McLeod was unavailable for comment on the sale. 

Serious Fun has a faultless safety record over its 25-year history and boss Neil Harrison says: “They approached us earlier in the season and we bought the assets, the website address, wetsuits and things like that. 

“We talked about it for a couple of years but Brad made the decision back in September. We decided just to go with the products we had [rather than use the Mad Dog name].” 

Jordan’s death sparked a national inquiry into adventure tourism safety standards after her father expressed his concerns personally to Prime Minister John Key. 

Harrison says the industry has recovered from the impact of Jordan’s death: “I’m not sure it will make a difference whether Mad Dog is operating or not. All adventure sports are now more heavily regulated.” 

Serious Fun acquired Wanaka-based white water adventure operator Frogz in 2008. 

“On the whitewater boarding it’s only us now in town,” Harrison adds. 

Mad Dog had changed its name to The River Boarding Co. in 2010 but still used the Mad Dog branding.