The snow-covered Southern Alps looked down over the hot racing at the 7th annual South Island Champs at held on Lake Ruataniwha in Twizel on the first weekend of October. The south certainly turned on its charm for us, with the event raced in pristine conditions and not a breath of wind.
The event was raced as a divisional regatta which means paddlers were placed with others of like ability rather than age groups. And in this case that also meant mixing up the male and female competitors. This made for some very close racing. It also changes the focus of the racing to achieving more personal goals, beating times, improving aspects of the race and so on, rather than completely focusing on winning an age division.
Having said that, Division 1 was, as expected, dominated by the big boys with Ben McCallum, Tim Waller and Jonty Laver coming down from the North Island to join in the fun.
The South Island Secondary Schools Champs is also part of this regatta and a number of schools were represented with Cobham winning overall primary/intermediate cup, Christ’s College the high school cup and both Canterbury University and Otago were first equal for the Uni trophy. Arawa Canoe Club won the overall club trophy.