North Shore paddler Caitlin Ryan has given New Zealand a victorious start to their World Cup regatta with victory in the K1 500m discipline in Portugal.

Ryan, a member of the K4 crew who finished fifth in last year's Rio Olympics, produced a strong performance to win the final on the Montmor-o-Velho course, clocking 1min 47.484 seconds, leading from start to finish.

Slovenia's Spela Janic took second in 1:49.439 while Krisztina Fazekas-Zar was third in 1:50.119.

Ryan's time gave the world record a real shake. That mark is 1:47.066, set by Germany's Nicole Reinhardt in 2011.

Advertisement

It is the discipline in which three-time Olympic medallist Lisa Carrington won bronze in Rio. However Carrington is restricting herself to team racing in Portugal.

She's in the finals of both the K2 500m and 200m late tonight with rising talent Aimee Fisher. They will have fellow New Zealand squad members Rebecca Cole and Kim Thompson for company in the longer final, Briar McLeely and Kayla Imrie in the sprint decider.

Carrington and Fisher won their heat to advance directly to the 500m final, while Cole and Thompson's second placing in the other heat was good enough to push them also into the final without having to go through the semifinals.

New Zealand will also have two crews in the the K4 final. The squad comprises eight women and no men, a clear sign of where the strength in canoeing lies in the country.