New Zealand's European canoeing campaign got off to a strong start in Portugal early today.

The all-women squad of eight bagged two firsts and a second in heats on the opening day of the World Cup regatta at Montemor-o-Velho.

Caitlin Ryan, a member of the Olympic K4 squad in Rio last year is also racing the K1 500m at this event, won her heat, and in the fastest time of 1min 48.940s to qualify directly for tonight's final.

She was fastest into the final by 2.8 seconds.

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Olympic and world champion Lisa Carrington, racing in multi-seat boats at this regatta, easily won her K2 500m heat with fast-rising Aimee Fisher.

The pair clocked 1:42.460, which was five seconds quicker than second-placed Portugal, and seven seconds better than Hungary, winners of the other heat.

Young pair Kim Thompson and Rebecca Cole, on their first senior overseas tour, finished second in their heat of the same discipline, recording 1:50.648s. That was good enough to put them in the final too.

Ryan has her final late on Saturday night, while the K2 final and the K4 final - in which New Zealand will line up two crews - are on late Sunday night.