Two Tauranga paddlers are breaking new ground in the canoe slalom world cup.
Mike Dawson and Luuka Jones returned from the latest event in Slovenia with top ten finishes after enduring penalties in the final to drop out of the major placings.
Dawson qualified in eighth in the 63-boat field with a faultless 100.78s run on the technically challenging Tacen course, but dropped a spot in the final after touching the sixth gate and earning a two-second penalty.
German Fabian Doefler won by just 0.2s, heading off Italian Andrea Romeo with a winning time of 97.12s.
Jones stumbled in her final, with a faint touch on gate 14 throwing off her rhythm.
She missed two of the next three gates and eventually finished in 10th in a strong field headed by Slovakian Jana Dukatova. But her progress past the semifinal stage marked a major milestone, a week after finishing 12th at the first world cup of the year in London.
"Obviously the final didn't go to plan but I had a clear semifinal and it's definitely satisfying to be building some consistency at this level," she said. The Kiwi pair now move on to the Czech Republic, where both have been based in Prague over recent seasons, for next week's third world cup.
"I'm fired up to get there and get on the water and work on some of the mistakes I made this week," Dawson said.