A good showing at the New Zealand Open from Rotorua's top white water paddlers has given New Zealand selectors something to think about, ahead of their naming representative sides to compete internationally.
The mighty Mangahao River, south of Palmerston North, hosted the Oceania canoe slalom championships during the weekend, which doubled as the New Zealand Open.
Selection points were on offer for the New Zealand competitors with Olympian Luuka Jones, Aaron Osbourne and Ben Gibb, who all train in Rotorua, placing well in their respective categories.
Osbourne finished third overall and first out of the Kiwis in the men's K1 class, Jones did the same in the women's K1 class and Gibb placed fifth overall and first out of the Kiwis in the men's C1 class.
"The majority of my run was really good, just a small mistake in the middle cost me a couple of places and possibly a medal," Gibb said.
"But it is a good start to the year leading into the European season. Now I can sit down with my coach and begin to plan out how to tackle this year and what I need to work on to get closer to those top guys."
Gibb, 21, who lives and trains at Okere Falls, said selectors would likely name the three-man New Zealand C1 team within the next week. He said the biggest international races, which would gather tougher competition, would be held in Europe mid-year.
The K1 men's race at the Oceania championships was won by Australian Lucien Delfour while Frenchman Thibaud Vielliard took out the C1 men's race. The K1 women's race was won by Australian Jessica Fox.