A season of slog and split-focus has come up trumps for Tauranga kayaker Luuka Jones after she added to New Zealand's greatest canoe slalom world championship campaign in France.
A day after missing out on the C1 final, Jones made amends in the K1, reaching the final and finishing fourth. It was the best finish by a New Zealander at the championships - edging Donald Johnstone's fifth-place in 1987 - and followed on from Tauranga's Mike Dawson finishing seventh in the men's K1 final a day earlier.
"I was gutted not to make the C1 final yesterday but it was so cool to see Mike make the final yesterday and I took a lot of inspiration from that," Jones said. "I was happy to get back into a good headspace to make the final, after a really competitive semifinal, and was stoked to finish fourth."
Australian Jess Fox scraped into the final in 10th spot but then set a withering time of 97.14 seconds, which ultimately proved unbeatable. Slovakia's Jana Dukatova was more than four seconds back in 101.76, with 2017's overall World Cup winner, Germany's Ricarda Funk, third in 102.62.
Jones picked up two 2-second penalties, finishing 10.06 seconds behind Fox in 107.20, but was pleasantly surprised by her placing.
"I didn't think I would be fourth with the run I put down but lots of girls make mistakes - I think they were trying to push and match Jess' time. I was disappointed with the quality of my run, as I had two touches and felt like I was fighting the water a bit, but fourth is a great result."
The result showed her silver medal at last year's Rio Olympics was no aberration and bolstered her ambitions to target both the C1 and K1 in Tokyo in 2020.
"It's been a tough season, trying to balance K1 and C1, but Campbell (coach Campbell Walsh) and I have been experimenting with a different style of training to cater to developing both classes and I think it is working. We based in Pau to give ourselves the best chance of doing well at the worlds and it's worked out."
Dawson's long and colourful kayaking career reached new heights a day earlier when he had his best international result.
The 30-year-old finished seventh in the K1 final of the canoe slalom world championships in France, 12 years after making his debut at that level.
"I'm stoked to do this for the sport and it's an awesome result for me and something I've been so close to for so many years," Dawson said.
Having finished 10th at last year's Rio Olympics and with a couple of ninth-placings at World Cup level, Dawson squeaked into the final with a 95.35 second semifinal run, grabbing the last qualifying spot by just 0.38 seconds.
He was on track for a dream final run until a bubble of water pushed him outside the 15th gate. He lost time there, then clipped the subsequent gate to pick up a 2 second time penalty and drop him to 98.80 seconds and seventh overall.
"It's been a wicked off season since the Olympics - going to Pakistan and doing a few extreme kayaking missions around the world is something I've wanted to do for a few years," Dawson said.
"To be able to do that and come back and compete with these guys at a world champs and step it up is pretty cool."