The Wanganui Kayak Challenge held on Saturday, November 3 was the last race of a good bunch of long-distance races in the central areas.
Fastest time for the 13km event was 1h 4min 44sec, achieved by Toby Brooke from Wanganui.
The first race in the bunch was the Manawatu River race (Foxton) in August.
The remainder of the races were the Ruamahanga River race (Martinborough), Twin Rivers (Blenheim) Foxton Loop Race (Foxton Beach) and also the Winter Series Races in Wellington.
Kayaking is such a small sport in this country and sometimes it lacks support from paddlers, right down to the lack of publicity that some of these events are actually on.
These two factors bring limitations to the growth of the sport, particularly the long-distance variant.
It's good to see through pre-race articles on Sportzhub and also around wider-ranging emailing contact lists, that events tend to get 40-80 paddlers turning up, which is great for the sport.
Back to the Wanganui race, which saw an expected large turnout from the Wanganui Kayaking and Multisport Club members.
I've been told to say the weather was a real treat for everyone who turned up it wasn't perfect and many were suitably challenged.
There was a 13km option, which started and finished from the clubrooms on Anzac Parade, and this headed north around one of the bridges, passing another three bridges, turning around Rabbit Island then heading back to the finish.
A 4km option for some juniors and novice paddlers was a two-lap affair, which headed north then back around the next closest bridge.
On this occasion there were actually more K1s racing than Multisport kayaks, surf skis and sea kayaks and there was an ocean rowing quad thrown into the field for good measure.
Dedicated paddlers travelled from New Plymouth, Wellington, Levin, Ashurst, Palmerston North and Napier and at a rough count there would have been just over 40 paddlers on - and in - the water at times.
Race organisers Aaron Cox and Brian Scott were both making an effort to ensure everyone was looked after out on the water right through to several club members doing the timekeeping, cooking snarlers and putting on refreshments.
4km race: Men: Stuart Bevan 1, 52.37; Women: Annabelle Acklin 1, 49.45.
13km race: Under 15 Women: Abby Hurley 1, 1.46.48; Under 15 Men: Tom Cole 1, 1.26.57, Tim Rowe 2, Liam Lace 3; Under 17 Women: Bronwyn Larsen 1, 1.20.18, Erica Tanner 2; Under 17 Men: Toby Brooke 1, 1.04.44, Lachie Cromar 2, Mark Lace 3; Under 19 Women: Sarah Wilson 1, 1.14.58, Rebecca Cole 2, Phoebe Cromar 3; Under 19 Men: Aiden Nossiter 1, 1.06.12, Max Brown 2; Open Women: Marianna Hodges 1, 1.18.46; Open Men: Adam Frazer 1, 1.04.46, Glen Muirhead 2, Matt Archer 3; Masters Women 35+: Robyn Scott 1, 1.25.02, Melz Grant 2, Mereana Hodges 3; Masters Men 35+: Malte Hagener 1, 1.05.38, Brendon Metcalf 2, Ron Cole 3; Ocean Rowing Quad: Union Boat Club, 1.14.47.