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2019 North Island Champs: Re-born Waikaretaheke course

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

After nearly 33 years, the Waikaretaheke River is back as a canoe slalom and whitewater course, hosting the 2019 North Island Slalom and Whitewater Champs on 23-24 March.

A Bay of Plenty contingent convoyed the five hour trek to the course near Waikaremoana to be part of the 45-strong competitor field.

Holly Sheaff (c) Rob Worlledge, Hawkes Bay Canoe Club

And well worth the trip it was too – an absolutely beautiful stretch of river, fast-flowing, challenging and open. The course has been enthusiastically and lovingly rebuilt by the members of the Hawkes Bay Canoe Club, some of whom competed here 30 odd years ago. The course was destroyed when Cyclone Bola ripped through it in 1988.

Paddlers ranging in age between 13 and 22 competed across events including Canoe Slalom, K1 (double blade paddles) and C1 (single blade paddles) and C2, and ending in Extreme Slalom, where four paddlers go head to head, and hell for leather down the course (safely, of course!).

It’s great to have another natural course to test the mettle, as well as the man-made courses.

“Epic” was a word used often by the paddlers to describe the event in late March.

There was a great showing in the medals by our Bay of Plenty paddlers at the Champs, an excellent forerunner to the next two events on the canoe slalom race calendar: NZ Secondary Schools being held on the awesome Tarawera River at Kawerau on 12-16 April. Secondary Schools will kick off on the Sunday with individual Canoe Slalom Racing followed on 15 April with Team Racing. On Tuesday April 16 it will end with a bang as everyone will compete in Downriver and Extreme Slalom.

From Thursday 18 to Sunday 21 April the Canoe Slalom NZ Nationals which will be also be held at Kawerau. Over these four days you will have the best NZ paddlers, including Luuka Jones, competing to be crowned national champion. If you are near Kawerau during the National then be sure to pop by to catch all the action.

North Island Champs Results:

Jared Williams and Cole Anderson (c) Rob Worlledge, Hawkes Bay Canoe Club

C1 Women under 16 and overall:
1. Holly Sheaff, 2. Kahlia Cullwick, 3. Kate Hawthorne

C1 Men under 18 and over:
1. Jack Egan, 2. Charlie Bell, 3. Finn Anderson

C2 under 16:
1. Kahlia Cullwick / Holly Sheaff, 2. Jared Williams / Cole Anderson, 3. Max Way / Ben Goodjohn

C2 Mixed Under 16:
1. Kate Hawthorne / James Senior, 2. Kahlia Cullwick / Cole Anderson, 3. Jessica Cotterill / Matthew Jeffries

K1 Women under 16:
1. Holly Sheaff, 2. Kahlia Cullwick, 3. Pipi Uhl

Callum Gilbert (c) Rob Worlledge, Hawkes Bay Canoe Club

K1 Women under 23 and overall:
1. Casey Hales, 2. Mackenzie Groos, 3. Jaimee Wilson

K1 Men under 14:
1 Matthew Jeffries, 2. Vincent Bloor, 3. Lukas Olson

K1 Men under 16:
1. Jared Williams, 2. Michel Uhl, 3. Dane O’Reilly

K1 Men under 18:
1. Jack Egan, 2. Oliver Puchner, 3. Charlie Bell

K1 Men overall:
1. Callum Gilbert, 2. Jack Egan, 3. Jared Williams

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