Lisa makes a triumphant return

Lisa Carrington overcome top-class opposition at the Blue Lake 2 regatta and conditions she described as “incredibly challenging” to triumph in the open women’s K1 200m A Final at a windswept Lake Tikitapu today.

The double Olympic champion competing in her first competition for 10 months because of the global pandemic showed she has lost none of her sharpness to take victory by just under a second in the marquee event of the day.

Competing in rough water generated by fierce winds, Lisa (Eastern Bay) made her trademark quick start and established early control of the race under pressure from national silver medallist Aimee Fisher.

However, despite the choppy conditions, the seven-time world K1 200m champion sliced through the water to record 37.89 to finish 0.91 clear of Aimee (Hawkes Bay), who also executed a fine paddle.

Three-time World Championship medallist Kayla Imrie also impressed to take third in 39.58 – 0.03 ahead of Caitlin Ryan (North Shore), the 2020 national bronze medallist in this event.

Lisa went on to complete a perfect day by going on to clinch a hat-trick of titles in Rotorua. Pairing up with Kayla Imrie, the duo completed a convincing win in the open women’s K2 200m final. Stopping the clock in 35.29 the gold medal duo finished 1.07 clear of Aimee and Olivia Brett with Caitlin and former world K1 1000m champion Teneale Hatton in bronze (36.65).

Lisa banked a third gold medal in the K4 200m as part of a powerhouse quartet also comprising Caitlin, Teneale and Kayla in 33.48.

The four-time Halberg Sportswoman of the Year then concluded a successful day by earning a direct route through to the open women’s K1 500m final by banking top spot in heat three (1:52.25). Kayla topped the qualifiers for tomorrow’s final with a narrow 0.63 second victory in heat one from Teneale Hatton in 1:51.43.

Lisa said of her day: “It was nice to be back competing again and feeling those competition nerves again.

“The conditions were incredibly challenging. It is tough and you have to be very flexible in your approach.  

“Today was just about making the most of my physicality, coping as best I could with the conditions and getting a good hit out. I’ve been training well over the past few months and it was nice to have been able to have trusted in that and been able to execute.” 

King of speed Taris Harker backed up his open men’s K1 200m victory at Blue Lake 1 with yet another impressive race win in Rotorua.

The powerhouse Karapiro Kayak Racing Club paddler edged a tight final from Ben Duffy (Arawa) by just 0.11 seconds to once again prove the master over the 200m distance, recording 35.00.

Kurtis Imrie (Mana) matched his sister, Kayla, as a senior open 200m bronze medallist today, crossing the line in 35.61 to round out the podium.

But once again Taris proved the master over the 200m distance. 

“It was windy conditions today but training as I do at Lake Karapiro, these are not uncommon conditions,” says Taris. 

“It wasn’t the best start, but I had to quickly put that behind me and focus on what I needed to do. As I crossed the line I wasn’t sure whether Duff (Ben Duffy) or I had got it. I was happy to hear I’d got it, but I know there is plenty of stuff I need to work on.”

Taris added his second gold medal of the day as the Karapiro Kayak Racing Club claimed an emphatic 1.50 victory in the open men’s K4 200m final from Arawa. Paddling alongside Ethan Moore, Liam Lace and Tim Waller the quartet were never headed and produced an eye-catching display.

In a highly competitive open men’s K2 200m final, Kurtis and Ashton Reiser unleashed a fluid performance to grab gold by a 0.46 margin from Hamish Legarth and Ben Duffy in 31.21. Taris Harker picked up yet another medal with bronze alongside Ethan Moore (31.92).

In the concluding event of the day, the open men’s K1 1000m heats, Max Brown, who had withdrawn from the earlier K1 200m event after a bout of food poisoning the previous day, impressed by topping the qualifiers for tomorrow’s final.

The Wanganui paddler and 2019 World Championships K2 1000m representative stopped the clock in a swift 3:34.33 to finish 2.26 clear of national champion for the distance Zach Ferkins. Two-time K1 1000m World Championships representative Quaid Thompson (Poverty Bay) also impressed winning heat three in 3:37.17. Veteran Fred Teear (Arawa) clinched top spot in heat two (3:38.51) to advance to Sunday’s A final.

In the Under-18 age group, just one week after finishing second in the gruelling 24km men’s King and Queen of the Harbour surf ski race, 17-year-old Kalani Gilbertson (North Shore) impressed at the other end of the paddling scale by comfortably clinching K1 200m gold in 35.50 by 1.43 seconds from Thomas MacGibbon (Arawa). 

It also a successful day for Thomas, who secured U18 K2 200m gold alongside Alex Hickman and he also triumphed in the senior mixed K2 200m partnered by Olivia Brett.

The women’s U18 K1 200m final served up one of the races of the day as Scarlett Old pipped her Waitara Club team-mate Julia Padrutt by just 0.02 to win in 44.10,

There was also high drama in the U16 K1 200m final as Natasha MacGibbon (Arawa) and Greer Morley shared the gold medal in a time of 42.52.

Greer of the North Shore club also took out the U16 K2 500m alongside Abbey Smith and the pair also featured in the victorious U18 K4 200m crew.

The Wanganui club dominated the men’s U16 and U14 divisions with Zane Mills-Nossiter completing a 200m hat-trick of K1, K2 and K4 200m titles. Yet even his accomplishments were overshadowed by club-mate Angus Sewell, who not only featured in the U16 K2 and K4 200m victories but claimed top spot in the U14 K1 and K4 200m events.

Eastern Bay won all four women’s U14 events on offer today with three gold medals apiece for Hannah Baxter and Eva Fuller and two for Amber Dearness.

Garth Spencer enjoyed a successful day in the masters events. He secured gold in the K1 200m and teamed up with his regular North Shore partner Vaughan Reed to take top spot in the K2 200m and K2 1000m events. 

The day two action at the Blue Lake 2 regatta starts on Sunday at 7.45am. Highlights include the open men’s K1 1000m A final at 9.37am and the open women’s K1 500m A Final at 10.01am.

To follow all the live results go to or download the Canoe Racing NZ app. Canoe Racing NZ will also offer daily updates via the website and regular updates through our social channels.

Image Credit: Karlene Ward