Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Ashton moved with his family to live in Auckland’s North Shore at the age of nine. A member of the Mairangi Bay Surf Lifesaving Club and keen to improve his surf ski paddling at the age of 15 he later joined the North Shore Kayak Club.
Winning the U16 K1 500m at the 2014 Blue Lake 1 in his first competitive regatta offered a glimpse of his potential – although a ten-month bout of glandular fever stalled his fledgling kayak career.
Ashton made a successful return to the sport in 2016, and made his international debut at the GP II regatta in Australia, where he placed fifth in the K1 1000m.
Later that year he won selection for the World Junior Championships, where he finished 24th overall in the K2 1000m alongside Zach Ferkins.
In 2017 he won the first of a hat-trick of national titles alongside Karl McMurtrie and in 2018 he joined the Cambridge-based New Zealand men’s kayak squad.
In 2018 he competed in the New Zealand K4 500m crew at the World U23 Championships in Bulgaria, which placed third in the B Final.
After winning four gold medals at the 2019 nationals, including victory in the K1 200m, Ashton later featured in the K4 500m at the World U23 Championships, placing eighth in the B Final.
Ashton completed the open men’s K1 200m and K1 500m double at the 2020 New Zealand Championships.