Raised on a farm just outside of Gisborne, Zach Ferkins is an established member of the New Zealand men’s kayak squad.
Introduced to kayak at the age of 16 to improve his ski racing in the sport of surf lifesaving, Zach quickly made strides under the coaching of former double Olympic champion Alan Thompson at the Poverty Bay Kayak Club.
Within a year he made his New Zealand debut at the 2016 World Junior Championships in Minsk, reaching the K2 1000m semi-finals alongside Ashton Reiser. In 2017 he was diagnosed with the heart condition Wolff Parkinson Syndrome – which can cause rapid heartbeats and in some cases heart failure.
Opting to manage the condition rather than undergoing surgery he has made a successful return to the sport.
In 2018, Zach was accepted on to the New Zealand kayak squad in Cambridge. Last year he gained more experience, finishing fifth in the K4 500m B Final at World Cup I in Poznan, before the following week missing out by one spot in the B Final at World Cup II in Duisburg.
At the 2019 World U23 Championships in Romania he finished seventh in the B Final of the K4 500m.
Earlier this year, Zach made a statement at the 2020 New Zealand Championships by winning open men’s K1 1000m gold and K1 500m silver.