Kayaking: Son keen to follow in Dad's wake

By Greg Taipari

Steven Ferguson has always looked up to his inspirational father - quadruple Olympic champion Ian Ferguson.

Now the 31-year-old is a first-time dad to 4-month-old son Flynn and he hopes to follow in his fathers's footsteps and inspire his son.

Kayak paddlers from around New Zealand converge on Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake) in Rotorua today, tomorrow and Sunday, for this year's Canoe Sprint National Championships.

Up to 180 competitors of all ages gear up for some exciting racing, especially in the Open Men's and Women's races, where Olympic spots are up for grabs.

Along with his K2 paddling partner Gisborne's Darryl Fitzgerald, Ferguson is hoping to make his third and possibly last crack at Olympic glory.

"After this Olympics, I'm definitely looking at hanging up the kayak paddle and picking up the surf paddle. I'm the head coach for the Piha Surf Club, which is a really exciting role for me and it's helping me step back into the surf scene and have a look at the world championship scene ...

"I want to be a good role model for my son. When I grew up I was watching my Dad race and he was a world beater and I'd sort of like to have him grow up watching his Dad succeed and do well and hopefully that motivates him to make something of himself."

Ferguson and Fitzgerald are looking to compete in the K2 200m and the K2 1000m at the London Olympics.

The pair will be joined this weekend by Ben Fouhy in the K1 200m and the K1 1000m, and world champion Lisa Carrington who will race her specialist K1 200m, the K1 500m, as well as teaming up with K2 partner Erin Taylor. Together, they qualified the K1 and K2 boats at last year's ICF Canoe Sprint World Champs but must still perform to achieve Olympic selection.

Teneale Hatton is another open woman paddler hoping to make the cut in the K1 500m.

Racing gets underway today at 12pm and finishes on Sunday.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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