South Island turns on the charm

The South Island Championships (also incorporating the South Island Secondary Schools Championships) at the picturesque Lake Ruataniwha provided the perfect curtain raiser to the domestic canoe sprinting season.

The expected forecast for high winds and rain did not transpire as paddlers largely experienced fine and calm conditions for the two-day festival of kayaking.

Some 68 paddlers competed at the event with 38 entered from the powerhouse Arawa Club and a further 14 from Otago. A pair of North Island clubs were also present as Whanganui and Mana with ten and eight entries respectively, also made their presence felt.

Arawa won a slew of medals across the regatta to take out the Top Club Points trophy.

On the open men’s side former high performance squad members; Alex Fort. Zac Quickenden, Steven Drabble and Fred Teear were to the fore with the latter paddler securing top spot in the K1 1000m event, whilst Ethan Moore (Mana) took the 200m title.

Olivia Brett (Arawa), the New Zealand World Junior Championship representative, made a splash in both the open women’s and U18 divisions snaring a bag full of medals.

Other noteworthy performers on the women’s side include: Pieta Luthi (U18), Maddison Garrett (U16) and Natasha MacGibbon (U14) all from the Arawa Club.

In the male age groups, Whanganui led by Lucas Thompson and Jack Clifton dominated the U18 division while Thomas MacGibbon (Arawa) and Angus Sewell (Whanganui) were to the fore in the U16 and U14 categories.

In the Secondary Schools competition Medbury School secured top points in the primary/intermediate category. Secondary School honours went to Christchurch Girls’ High with the Novice Trophy snared by Avonside Girls’ High. The University of Canterbury grabbed the University title.

Unfortunately, later choppy conditions caused the cancellation of the Battle of Attrition event.

Full results: