Win a ride in a waka with rowing greats

By Simon Waters

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A Whanganui waka ride venture Ki Tai is offering a chance to ride along with world-beating rowers Mahe Drysdale and Damir Martin.
A Whanganui waka ride venture Ki Tai is offering a chance to ride along with world-beating rowers Mahe Drysdale and Damir Martin.

About 10 lucky people will get a chance to take a Whanganui River waka ride alongside some of the world's top rowing stars.

Whanganui waka operator Ki Tai has teamed up with the Billy Webb Challenge to offer the public a chance to win a waka experience with New Zealand rower Mahe Drysdale, Damir Martin of Croatia and world under-23 champion Tim Ole Neske of Germany.

"Those who win a place in the waka probably won't have to do much paddling with those guys aboard," spokeswoman Kate Austin joked.

The one hour trip leaves from the Riverside Market on Saturday December 10 around mid morning. To enter the competition for a free seat, Ms Austin said people should email their name and contacts details to billywebchallenge@gmail.com or visit the Billy Web challenge Facebook page.

"It will be about a one hour trip and will be informative and relaxed with lots of history and culture.

It should be a special experience for rowers as well," Ms Austin said.

The following day Drysdale and Martin will race, along with an international field, in what is being billed as a rematch of their epic Rio Olympic race in August.

In a stunning single sculls final on the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon in Rio de Janeiro, Drysdale, 37, held off Martin in a tense finish which was so close that the electronic television monitor initially gave the race to the 28-year-old European champion.

After photo-finish analysis, it was revealed Drysdale had won by half a bow ball, with both men posting the identical time of 6m 41.34s, an Olympic record.

Ms Austin said Drysdale and other rowers will spend time at the Saturday market ahead of the waka trip and were happy happy to talk with the public.

The Facebook address to enter the competition is www.facebook.com/BillyWebbChallenge.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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