Tauranga's Olympic kayaker Mike Dawson has unveiled a secret weapon in a bid to realise Rio de Janeiro dreams - a 72-page athlete cookbook entitled "Eat like the locals" that he's written and published himself.

The Bay of Plenty canoe slalom paddler, eyeing his second Olympics after finishing 15th in London, qualified a boat for Rio at the world championships last year.

One mistake in his semifinal dropped him from the fastest qualifier to 28th overall, however, meaning his funding was sliced for this season.

It's meant he's had to cover a $40,000 shortfall to get the buildup he needs for Rio but instead of going straight to Givealittle or seeking additional sponsors, he's come up with something unique.


"I've spent so much time traveling during my career, paddling rivers in some pretty incredibly places and sampling the local food, that I decided a cookbook full of healthy recipes would be the way to go," 29-year-old Dawson explained.

"Rather than be that guy with his hand out, I wanted to give people something they could use, something personal and interesting, so they could share my Olympic dreams with me."

The finished result has 22 recipes from across the globe, divided into mains, sides and desserts, along with anecdotes from his various kayaking adventures and training tips.
While he's still got a stable of loyal sponsors - including Mons Royale and Smith Optics - and plenty of support from High Performance Sport New Zealand, the extra $40,000 will go towards world cup travel and time on the Rio course.

"High Performance Sport have been amazing since the last Olympics and I really appreciate all they've done and continue to do," he said. "If I'm going to give myself the best chance in Rio, however, I'm going to need to emulate the European athletes and prepare in the most professional way possible."

Dawson has set up a website - www.supportmikedawson.com - for people to buy the cookbook and make a donation, and needs to sell around 2000 copies to make it worthwhile.

He's made a habit of unorthodox funding throughout his slalom career, having survived for many seasons by winning prizemoney from various extreme races around the world.