West is Best

Entries are now open for the 2020 New Zealand Kayak Marathon Championships at the Waitemata Canoe and Multisport Club, where competitors will take on the challenge of paddling the narrow Henderson Creek in a quiet and peaceful corner of West Auckland. 

Staged on the weekend of March 28/29, the latest edition of the annual national championships returns to the popular location on the Te Atatu Peninsula two years after last hosting the event.

All races will be contested on the Henderson Creek in Auckland’s Te Atatu Peninsula over a series of 4km long laps – climaxing with a 1km short lap. A back up course depending on race-day conditions will also be used as a contingency.

Waitemata Canoe and Multisport Club President Jonny Long is looking forward to welcoming the wider New Zealand kayak community to his club and promises that all paddlers will enjoy the on water conditions.

“We paddle in a pretty cool spot in the heart of Auckland,” explains Jonny. “The creek is tidal but on the top half of the tide you can paddle 6km up the river all the way into the heart of Henderson as it winds its way through the mangroves on a narrow river.”

Two years ago when the event was last held at the Waitemata Canoe and Multisport Club, Sam Mayhew (North Shore) and Kim Thompson (Poverty Bay) triumphed in the men’s and women’s open events and the hope is the event will attract not only the leading kayak marathon racers but also other paddlers keen for a new challenge.

“It’s fun a healthy way to spend a few hours,” explains Jonny. “The dynamics of the race are constantly changing and it is not just pure paddling ability but strategy and tactics which can determine the result.” 

The K1 races will take place on Saturday with the K2 team boats in action. The open men’s race will comprise eight laps (seven long and one short) for a distance of 29km including seven portages. The open women and under-23 men will contest one lap fewer and cover 25km. All age-divisions from masters+70 down to tyros (U13) compete over a range of distances. Divisions are also available for multisport boats and surfskis – which offers a great opportunity for the recreational paddler to come along and be a part of the event.

Jonny is optimistic of strong entry levels and is confident the host club can put on an impressive show.

“It will be nice to see paddlers from other clubs compete at the event, and it will be great to part of an event which will bring together the wider community of paddlers. 

“We’ll be happy to run a well organised event and we hope everyone embraces the atmosphere and has an enjoyable day. For us, that will be a success.”

Entry details https://www.webscorer.com/register?raceid=210921

Words: Steve Landells