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The sun shone down on Blue Lakes, Rotorua last weekend for three days of racing that
saw the best New Zealand paddlers pitted against strong competition from Australia,
Samoa and Cook Islands at the combined 2011 Oceania and NZ Canoe Sprint
Paddlers across the age groups competed from our “Tyros” (under 13) right through to
over 45 Masters including our elite national squad athletes in K1, K2 and K4 boats
across 200m, 500m and 1000m distances.
The Masters featured strongly on Friday with Glen Muirhead (Mana Wellington) taking
the Masters 33-44 Men’s K1 1000m, Ben Bennett (Hawkes Bay) winning the 45+
Masters and Heather Kirkham (Mana, Wellington) taking out the Women’s Masters
1000m. Hamish Reid (Bay of Plenty) and Pip Pearse (Hawkes Bay) won the 200m
Jordan Pearse (Hawkes Bay) and Kayla Imrie (Mana Wellington) continued the stellar
form they displayed at GP2 in Australia three weeks ago taking 1st and 2nd respectively
in the U23 Women’s K1 200m and 500m.
The competition was on in the two Open Women’s 200m and 500m events on Friday.
Australians Hannah Davis and Lyndsie Fogarty were too good for elite athletes Jamie
Lovett and Rachel Dodwell who finished close second in both events.
The Tyro’s kicked off racing on Saturday with Danielle Watson putting in a great effort to
win the Junior Women’s K1 1000m a long paddle at this age. It was fantastic to see so
many young paddlers, our future champions giving it their all on the water. Poverty Bay
(Gisborne) had the strongest contingent of Juniors in attendance with paddlers taking
1st place medals across the races including Reeftahn Brown-Terekia in the Junior Mens
K1 200m, 500m and 1000m, Quaid Thompson (son of Olympic medallist Alan
Thompson) in the U15 Mens K1 200m and 500m, Quaid Thompson and Hayden Phelps
in the U15 Men’s K2 500m, Jasper Bats in the U23 Men’s K1 1000m, Jarrod Fitzgerald
in the U17 Men’s K1 500m, and Courtney Hoskin in the U15 Women’s K1 200m and
The big races on Saturday were the Open Men’s 1000m and Open Women’s 500m and
they didn’t fail to disappoint. The excitement in the air was palpable after five heats and
two semi’s the Open Men lined up in A and B Finals. Steven Ferguson proved again
his pedigree taking out the A Final in 3.30.79 closely followed by Troy Burbidge 3.32.42
and Darryl Fitzgerald in 3rd 3.32.84. Zac Franich narrowly won the B Final from Sam
Wilson followed by Chris Nutsford in 3rd.
The Women’s 500m Final also made for breathtaking viewing with the Australians
pushing our own Lisa Carrington and Teneale Hatton hard. But our girls continued to
show their class following on from strong GP2 performances with Lisa taking 1st in
1.47.30 closely followed by Teneale in 2nd 1.48.86 from Hannah Davis from Australia in
3rd in 1.49.51.
Steven Ferguson teamed up with Darryl Fitzgerald later in the day to clearly win the
Open Men’s K2 1000m in 3.11.50 from Liam O’Loughlin and Troy Burbidge in 2nd
3.15.94 ahead of Chad Alston and Glenn Rypp from Australia 3 rd 3.16.29. Darryl’s little
brother Jarrod proved that speed runs in the family winning the U17 K1 200m with a 4
second lead in 40.47.
Karina Radley (Bay of Plenty) another young paddler with recent GP2 success set
personal best times winning both the U19 Women’s K1 200m and 500m races and Alex
Fort (Arawa Christchurch) another emerging talent convincingly won the U19 Men’s K1
Danielle Currie (Arawa Christchurch) showed her class narrowly beating GP2 race
winner Aimee Fisher (Hawkes Bay) in the U17 Women’s K1 500m however Aimee was
able to turn the tables beating Danielle in the U17 K1 200m.
Sunday saw the fast 200m races being raced. Lisa Carrington continued her winning
streak taking the Open Women’s K1 200m in 39.16 from Hannah Davis from Australia
39.60 followed closely by Teneale Hatton 40.71. But the Open Men couldn’t repeat
their 1000m performances with Matt Goble from Australia taking 1st in the Men’s K1
200m in 35.70 from Steven Ferguson 35.95 followed closely in 3rd by Scott Bicknell
36.24. Matt Goble also took out the U23 K1 200m and teamed up with Chad Alson to
take the K2 200m by .2 of a second from Steven Ferguson and Darryl Fitzgerald. The
U19 Men from Arawa were unstoppable in the K1 200m with Zac Quickenden just
stealing 1st by .66 second from Alex Fort. These two teamed up to take the U19 K2
200m title as well.
Summing it up “our best regatta ever”. Thanks to all the volunteers who helped
make this event such a success. Thanks also to our sponsors Orca, investment partner
SPARC and funders Lion Foundation and Pub Charities as without your support such a
successful event would also not be possible.