EASTERN Bay paddlers stood on the podium at the National Waka Ama Sprint Championships on Lake Karapiro last week.
It was the 30th time the championships had been held and the event included 1700 teams from 61 clubs, with 3577 paddlers in action throughout the six days of racing.
Waka Ama New Zealand chief executive Lara Collins said before the event that it had grown significantly.
“In 2014 we had 2562 competitors, this year we have a record 3577 paddlers registered. We’ve grown 39.6 percent in five years.”
Collins also said the majority of the participants were female.
Clubs competed for national honour in single, six and 12-paddler teams over distances of 250 metres, 500m, 1000m and 1500m. The six-paddler 1000m and 1500m classes had to navigate their way through hairpin turns at the 250m mark.
Tarawera Outrigger Canoe Club paddlers were in top form, earning a handful of medals.
The Wera crew of Raanj Rapana, Tui McCaull, Hiria Rolleston, Lynora Hati, Rebecca Boyce and Mihipeka Sisley won the masters women’s W6 500 and W6 1000 finals after two-second wins in both semi-finals.
McCaull placed second in the W1 500 final, ahead of Rapana in third place and Rolleston in fifth. Rapana also placed sixth in the W1 250 final. The three also paddled for the Te Puku o te Ika team in the regional premier women’s W12 race, placing second.
Tarawera’s crew placed fourth in the premier women’s W12 500 final and sixth in the premier W6 500 race.
The men’s crew was fifth in the W12 500 and W6 1000 races. The men’s crew placed fifth W6 500 and a second Tarawera crew placed 10th. Craig Fenwick made the masters men’s W1 500 final where he placed ninth.
Waka Ama o Whakatane had crews in the senior masters women’s races, placing second in the W12 500, sixth in the W6 1000 and 10th in the W6 500.
Whakatane’s Ivan Hindmarsh, paddling for a Mount Maunganui club Hoe Aroha Whanau o Mauao, was part of the crew that won the gold masters men’s W12 500 race, and were runners-up in the W6 1000 and W6 500 races.
Whakatane’s Ash Roozendaal placed second in the premier men’s W1 250, ahead of fellow Whakatane paddler Josh Walters in third place. Roozendaal also placed third in the W1 500 race and raced with the regional W12 premier men’s team, with Whakatane’s Hemi Wahapango, who won silver. Whakatane’s Max Holder raced for the winning crew in the W12 regional race.
There is little rest for Roozendaal, who went to Australia on Wednesday to compete in the Australian Crossfit Championships on the Gold Coast. After submitting a video, Roozendaal qualified in the top 32.