CRNZ Blog

Ben’s awesome foursome

Author -  Karen Simpson

Ben Duffy lit up Blue Lake 2 as the Arawa Club paddler enjoyed an outstanding regatta highlighted by a striking 200m treble on Lake Tikitapu.

Ben’s awesome foursome

Ben Duffy lit up Blue Lake 2 as the Arawa Club paddler enjoyed an outstanding regatta highlighted by a striking 200m treble on Lake Tikitapu.

Ben and Hamish k2.jpg
Ben Duffy & Hamish Legarth K2

Ben Duffy lit up Blue Lake 2 as the Arawa Club paddler enjoyed an outstanding regatta highlighted by a striking 200m treble on Lake Tikitapu.

The 21-year-old New Zealand men’s elite paddler claimed the bragging rights to win a thrilling open men’s K1 200m A Final by just 0.07 from Kurtis Imrie (Mana).

Competing from lane two, Ben stopped the clock in 38.23 to edge a tight tussle from Kurtis with Zach Ferkins of Poverty Bay rounding out the podium in 38.37.

Former New Zealand elite squad member Taris Harker, who recently returned to the sport after a period away following a heart condition, also paddled with distinction to place fourth in 38.70.

Ben later teamed up with fellow New Zealand elite squad member Hamish Legarth (Hawkes Bay) in the K2 200m and the pair produced an impressive paddle to defeat Max Brown and Kurtis Imrie in a pulsating final. 

The duo made a strong start and repelled a late charge from Max and Kurtis to triumph by 0.32 in a time of 35.85. The combination have padded together for a few months and have felt more “powerful” and “faster” during their time together.

Ben and Hamish also teamed up with Ethan Moore and Jake Koekemoer in the Arawa boat to take out a comfortable win by 1.2 seconds in the open men’s K4 200m. On day two Ben banked gold number four as part the same triumphant quartet in the K4 500m.

“At the start of the week I was extremely tired after just completing three weeks of 150km (a week) training,” said Ben. “But we’ve just rested up and I’ve thankfully found form in the nick of time.”

“The aim was to have a bit of fun, I went in with an open mind and I wanted to race hard.”

An electric open men’s K1 1000m lit up day two of the action at a soggy Lake Tikitapu as Scandinavia led home the best of the Kiwi challenge.

quaid and kurtis k1.jpg

Quaid Thompson and Kurtis Imrie after K1 1000m race


In a high-class final, Sweden’s Joakim Lindberg, who finished fourth in the K1 5000m in August’s World Championships, edged Rene Poulsen, the 2008 Olympic silver medallist, by just 0.14 a nail-biting finale.   With the naked eye it looked like Poulsen, a three-time world champion who like Lindberg has spent a period of time training with the New Zealand men’s elite squad in Cambridge, had shaded it.  But the official results revealed it was the 26-year-old Swede who claimed victory in 3:44.90.

Kurtis Imrie continued his good all-round showing at Blue Lake 2 by finishing third in 3:49.15 one place ahead of veteran Fred Teear (Arawa) 3:51.20 with Ben Duffy in fifth (3:52.92). New Zealand 2019 World Championship K1 1000m representative Quaid Thompson was sixth in 0.04 adrift of Ben.

Kurtis said: “I am pretty stoked. It has been a while since I put in a solid performance in the K1 1000m because we’ve been focusing on the K2 1000. It (K1 1000m) is a different discipline with a different momentum. I just tried to stay in my lane and focus on what I’m good at. The Swedish and Danish boys are pretty strong, I just wanted to hang in there and get a decent result. I’m over the moon.”

Kurtis then teamed up with Max in the K2 1000m to produce a dominant performance.  The duo, who earlier this year reached the A Final at the World Cup in Poznan, flashed by the finishing line in 3:41.01 to avenge their defeat to Ben Duffy and Hamish Legarth (3:46.38) in the K2 200m. Ashton Reiser teamed up with Swede Joakim Lindberg to win bronze in 3:51.79.

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Kurtis Imrie and Max Brown K2

In their final K2 1000m race together ahead of their quest to qualify a boat for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at February’s Oceania Championships Max said: “I didn’t paddle as well as I could in the K1 1000m (Max was seventh) but I took out some important learnings and it has been a good weekend. It was awesome to see Kurtis race well (in the K1 1000m), and I took that motivation into the K2. I’m happy with how we raced.”

Alicia Hoskin (Poverty Bay) was the star performer in the open women’s events claiming four gold medals in the K1 200m, K1 500m and K4 200m, K4 500m. Alicia, a World Championship K2 500m A finalist alongside Caitlin Ryan, produced a dominant display in the K1 200m event, stopping the clock in 45.50 – 1.1secs clear of Rebecca Cole (Waitara) with Danielle Watson (Mana) in bronze (46.80).

“I just wanted to make sure I really enjoyed the racing at a regatta, where there is not a huge amount of pressure,” explained Alicia. “I wanted to make sure as I crossed the line, I would enjoy the buzz of racing.”

Alicia teamed up with Britney Ford, Alex Bermingham and Kendra Tate to win gold for Poverty Bay in both the K4 200m and K4 500m.

She did, however, had to settle for bronze paddling with Alex in the open women’s K2 200m as Danielle Watson and Lucy Matehaere shared the gold medal with Britney Ford and Rebecca Cole in a time of 42.60.

Alicia returned to pick up a narrow victory in the K2 500m – repelling a strong challenge from Danielle Watson. The Poverty Bay paddler stopped the clock in 2:06.17 – to finish just 0.21 clear of the Mana athlete with Rebecca Cole (Waitara) picking up bronze in 2:07.51.

Competing in a strong crosswind for the first 300m, Alicia said: “I’ve had some good 500m battles with Dani since we were kids and this was another one.

“It was very close and I could feel Dani coming at me in the final 200m. I thought she might have crept in there (for the victory). It has been a good weekend.”

Danielle did climb to the top of the podium in the open women’s K2 500m as she teamed up with Lucy Matehaere to win in 1:58.72 by just under half-a-second from Britney Ford and Rebecca Cole. Alicia and Alex Bermingham picked up bronze in 2:01.21.

In the men’s under-18 division, Jack Wilkinson of Hawkes Bay and Arawa’s Thomas MacGibbon shared three gold medals apiece across the two days of action. Jack took out gold in the K1 200m and K2 500m – the latter with Daniel Brown – and also featured as one half of Hawkes Bay’s triumphant K4 500m crew. Thomas prevailed in the K1 500m and in the K2 500m – with Alex Hickman - as well as the K4 200m for Arawa.

Julia Padrutt of the Waitara club was one of the star performers in the women’s under-18 division. She claimed victory from team-mate Molly Baker in the K1 500m and the duo teamed up to clinch top spot in in both the K2 200m and 500m races.

Michael Esterhuizen of Eastern Bay starred in the boys under-16 division, taking four gold medals. He completed a 200m treble on day before taking out the K4 500m on day two. His team-mate Leon Fuller picked up three golds.

In the women’s under-16 category, Maddison Garrett (Arawa) completed an impressive K1 200m and K1 500m double.

The visiting Cook Islands squad picked up a slew of gold medals in the under-14 division. Notably, Greer Morley and Abbey Smith of the North Shore Club picked up the K2 200m and 500m double. Meanwhile, Logan Ferguson won a pair of gold medals in the K1 500m and K2 500m.

Quaid Thompson (Poverty Bay) claimed top spot in the men’s K1 5000m with Samalulu Clifton (North Shore) triumphant in the women’s equivalent.

For full results visit the Canoe Racing App or visit liveresults.co.nz

By Steve Landells

Photo credits Alison Cole


Ben’s awesome foursome

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