Question Hawke's Bay kayaker Jack Wilkinson about his career choices and he's quick to reply.
"I want to see how far canoe sprint takes me and then I'll probably get into farming."
If his recent paddling feats are an indication don't expect to see him in a pair of gumboots riding quad bikes on Hawke's Bay farms fulltime for at least a decade. One of four Hawke's Bay Kayak Racing Club members who represented New Zealand at the recent Asia Pacific Sprint Cup regatta at Lake Karapiro, Wilkinson, 15, was the sole title winner.
The Hastings Boys' High School Year 11 student won gold with a New Zealand under-16 mixed K4 200m crew. He also won silver in his specialist K1 200m event, the mixed mega relay and the under-16 boys K4 500m, bronze with the Kiwi under-16 boys K4 200m crew and a fifth placing in his K2 200m final.
"I was pretty stoked as this was just my second time competing at this regatta," Wilkinson said.
"I could have done better in the K1 200m where an Aussie beat me by a millisecond.
A finalist in the Junior Sportsperson category at tomorrow night's Hawke's Bay Sportsperson of the Year function in Taradale, Wilkinson, is aiming to qualify for next year's junior world championships and his long-term goal is the 2024 Olympics.
After a busy summer Wilkinson has been training twice a week for the past month but will resume his weekly routine of six training sessions next month. With Lindisfarne College student Daniel Brown, Wilkinson, is also a finalist in the Junior Team category tonight.
They were undefeated in all K2 races entered during the 12-month period ending March 30. Brown collected bronze in the under-16 mixed relay at his first Asia Pacific regatta.
He also finished fourth with a Kiwi under-16 K4 500m crew, fifth with a K2 1000m crew and K4 200m crew, sixth with a K4 200m crew and eighth with a K2 200m crew.
Fellow Lindisfarne College student Reuben Rorrison competed in the under-18 age group. He paddled for the fourth placed Kiwi K4 500m crew, the fifth placed K4 200m crew, the ninth placed K2 1000m crew and 10th placed K2 200m crew.
Rorrison, 17, is in his third year of kayaking.
"I used to do canoe polo but we didn't have the numbers at school for canoe polo so I switched to kayaking. I'm a type one diabetic so that makes it trickier for me than most paddlers but I like to paddle to keep healthy," explained Rorrison who intends to study medicine and veterinary courses at university next year.
Taradale High School's Brooke Cheyne also competed in the under-18 age group. She was eighth in her K1 500m final and a member of the fourth placed K4 500m crew and fifth placed K4 200m crew.
"It was a cool experience and it was good to get a taste of international competition. I'm keen to go back next year," Cheyne said.
The 16-year-old Year 12 student has only been kayaking for 12 months but pointed out her six years spent as a canoe polo player helped.
"I want to try to keep improving and go somewhere with kayaking," added Cheyne, who intends to study agriculture science at university when she leaves school.
The Asia Pacific Sprint Cup is a regatta for junior paddlers in the under 16, 18 and 21 age groups. It is the result of an international partnership between Canoe Racing New Zealand, Paddle Australia, and the Japan Canoe Federation with the aim to create an event for developing athletes in the Asia Pacific region.
The recent event was also attended by paddlers from Singapore and the Cook Islands.
"We've only got 30 paddlers at our club so we were rapt to have four selected for the New Zealand team at this regatta ... they all did pretty well," Hawke's Bay Kayak Racing Club head coach Ben Bennett said.
"This regatta is a great launching pad for those athletes racing at the next level in future years. It introduces paddlers to a taste of international racing without the cost of travelling to Europe."
He confirmed Wilkinson was on track to achieve his goal of world championship selection over the shorter distances.
"Daniel did well to race over 1000m as we don't usually do that distance. Reuben and Brooke did well considering they have come into the sport relatively late and were up against paddlers who have had plenty of time to develop," Bennett added.