Kurtis at the double

An impressive K1 500m and 1000m double by Kurtis Imrie proved the highlight of an all-action two of the Blue Lake 1 regatta, which took place in a challenging crosswind on Lake Tikitapu.

The Mana paddler repelled the challenge of 19-year-old talent Sam Ferkins to win the K1 1000m final and then exactly 60 minutes later rammed home his superiority today by clinching top spot by just over a half-second in the open men’s K1 500m final from Taris Harker.

Kurtis, who set himself a typically demanding competition schedule across the two-day regatta, faced a K1 1000m final minus fellow Max Brown and Zach Ferkins who both withdrew from the regatta through illness.

Despite the absence of two heavy hitters, the race was still full of quality and from the outset Sam mounted a fierce challenge. However, the 24-year Kurtis refused to panic, and showing all his experience stepped on the gas in the latter stages to overhaul Sam and claim victory in 4:07.77.

The Poverty Bay paddler gamely stuck to his task to claim some notable scalps to grab second in 4:08.43.

Hamish Legarth (Hawkes Bay) claimed the final podium spot in 4:10:18 just ahead of Ashton Reiser of North Shore and Ben Duffy (Arawa), who were all within half a second of each other.

Just one hour later, Kurtis returned to take victory in a highly-competitive men’s K1 500m A Final, thanks to a powerful late surge.

Taris Harker, the winner in yesterday’s K1 200m final, went out in typical trademark fashion to establish an early lead only for Kurtis, the 2019 World U23 K1 500m bronze medallist, to haul in the leader in the latter stages and cross the line in 1:53.20.

Taris completed an excellent weekend’s race to finish 0.55 further back in second with Hamish Legarth claiming another podium spot in third in 1:54.30. Ethan Moore (Karapiro) in 1:55.09 snatched fourth ahead of Ben Duffy, who later claimed victory in the open men’s 5km, in fifth.

A triumphant Kurtis said he was “stoked” with his efforts over the weekend and added: “It has been an interesting year with very few races, so all I was intent on laying down a good performance, which I felt I did today.

“The target is to try and think of the performance as like baking a cake, in that I try to concentrate on the base and the layers but not the icing on top, the winning and results, which I’d probably focused too much on in the past.

“I felt a little bit dusty yesterday in the 200m (where Kurtis finished sixth) but I’m focusing more on the 500m and 1000m distance this coming year to secure a spot in K2 1000m boat at the Olympic Games.”

Aimee Fisher eased to victory in the women’s K1 500m A Final to complete the double following her success in yesterday’s K1 200m.

The Hawkes Bay paddler, a former World U23 champion for the K1 200m and K1 500m, was the class of the field. She quickly opened up a big gap and stopped the clock in 2:01:15 to finish nearly 10 seconds clear of second placed Teneale Hatton (North Shore), who is returning to sprint paddling after a prolonged period focused on surfski racing. Teneale’s club-mate, Samalulu Clifton, completed the podium in third (2:18.70).

“I was really happy with how the weekend has gone,” explains Aimee. “I faced some tricky crosswind conditions but it brings me a lot of joy to be here, testing out all the hard work and figuring out where the gaps are.”

Aimee’s Midas touch this weekend even extended to striking gold in open women’s 5km, where she picked up a near a one-and-a-half minute victory in her debut race over the distance.

The open women’s K2 500m served up the race of the day as nothing could separate Poverty Bay duo Alicia Hoskin and Alex Bermingham form Samalulu Clifton and Teneale Hatton of North Shore.

Alicia and Alex triumphed in yesterday’s K2 200m and the speed queens established an early lead on the North Shore duo. However, Samalulu and Teneale possess great strength endurance and stroke by stroke they closed in on the long-time leaders.

With the naked eye they looked to be very little between two crews at the finish and when the official results rolled in we had the slightly unusual situation of a dead heat as both crews shared gold in a time of 2:04:34.

Ben Duffy and Hamish Legarth powered to victory in the open men’s K2 500m with a dominant display to follow up on their success in yesterday’s K2 200m final. The CRNZ men’s squad duo covered the half-a-kilometre distance in 1:50.24 to finish 2.26 secs clear of Arawa pairing Jake Koekemoer and Ethan Moore. North Shore duo Ashton Reiser and Kalani Gilbertson secured third in 1:53.30.

The four-strong CRNZ men’s squad unit of Hamish Legarth, Ashton Reiser, Ben Duffy and Zach Ferkins powered to an emphatic victory by a near nine-second margin from North Shore in the open men’s K4 500m final.

Para canoeist Corbin Hart maintained his fantastic debut regatta to secure victory in the second division A final of the K1 500m, stopping the clock in 2:05.11. The leg amputee who only took up the sport a few months ago showed his vast potential with an outstanding display and also placed sixth in the open men’s K2 A Final alongside Tuva’a Clifton.

In the men’s under-18 division Daniel Brown and Hamish Macky enjoyed a fantastic all-round regatta by winning gold medals in the K2 500m and K4 500m events. The Hawkes Bay club duo teamed up with Henry Hall and Damian da Silva in the latter event.

Julia Padrutt and Scarlett Old continued their eye-catching weekend on Lake Tikitapu by racing to victory in the women’s U18 K2 500m. The Waitara pair also impressed in the Division 1 K1 500m A Final by placing fourth and sixth, respectively, behind race winner Aimee Fisher.

In the men’s U16 division, Eastern Bay duo Matthew Reihana-Asquith and Daniell Wilton earned an impressive win in the K2 500m event.

Katie Skeels and Sophie Lawson of Hawkes Bay clinched victory in the U16 women’s K2 500m to maintain their excellent performance across the two-day regatta.

Also victorious were Mia Padrutt and Poppy Barnes of Waitara and the North Shore combination of Cohen Logue and Quinn McPherson in the women’s and men’s U14 women’s K2 500m events, respectively.

Masters maestros Garth Spencer and Vaughan Reed of the North Shore club proved peerless in the K2 500m event. With Vaughan edging Garth in a close-run 5km masters race.

For full results https://liveresults.co.nz/

Words: Steve Landells

Images: Quinn Pedley