Wind the clock back to 2008 and the news wasn't good for Hawke's Bay waka ama exponent Trevor Taurima.

A month out from the world champs in California Taurima had a stroke while training on Lake Rotoiti. Doctors later told him he had a heart condition and he had to withdraw from the trip to Sacramento.

"There were a few things I had to change in my life including my doctor and some of my training methods. I did that and next month I will get the opportunity to make up for lost time when I compete at the world champs in Australia," Taurima said.

"I've got to thank Lesley ... she's been my unpaid doctor and inspiration," he said pointing to partner, multiple world champs medallist and Hawke's Bay's 2015 masters sportsperson of the year Lesley Lenden.


A bronze medallist in the master men's 70-plus singles at the Lake Karapiro-hosted nationals in January, Taurima, 70, will compete in three events at the May 10-15 club worlds at Lake Kawana on the Sunshine Coast. In addition to the 70-plus single he will paddle for a composite six-man 70-plus crew known as the Rock in Rollers and a composite 12-man 60-plus crew, the Fluffy Slippers.

"In the single I would be happy if I make the final. Our Rock in Rollers are aiming for gold and the Fluffy Slippers will be happy for any berth on the podium," the retired Taurima explained.

He said the Rock in Rollers had been training since last year. There were monthly sessions from April to December, fortnightly sessions from January to mid-March and weekly ones for the past month.

"I'm the baby of our 70-plus team as well as the only paddler from the Bay. In our 60-plus team Wi Smith is the other Bay paddler," Taurima said.

"We're heading over a week early so we can acclimatise and get familiar with borrowed waka. They tell us their waka are lighter than ours and easier to turn ... hopefully that's the case," he added.

While it will be his second worlds Lenden, 60, will be competing at her third. She will be paddling for the Heretaunga Tuis 60-plus women who will be representing the Heretaunga Ararau o Ngati Kahungunu Waka Ama Roopu she and Taurima established in 2003.

The crew, which also includes fellow Bay paddlers Linda Rennie-Hill, Bev Williams, Jana Johnson and reserve Tania Sorensen, Huntly's Linda Tomuli and Wellingtonian Gaylene Sciascia will aim for silver in the V6 1000m event and bronze in the V6 500m event. Lenden, who is also "the baby" of her crew, said their best chance of gold was in the V12 500m event where they had combined with the Aurora crew from Auckland.

The Tuis won gold in their 1000m event at the January nationals and bronze in their V6 500m event.


"Obviously we don't know everything about all our opponents who will be in Aussie. But we expect the Aussies to be tough along with those from Hawaii, Tahiti and Brazil.

"Our training sessions have been fantastic. We've been fortunate enough to get some technical expertise from experienced Bay of Plenty coach Corrina Gage," Lenden, a Tumu Merchants administration team worker, added.

Another crew from Lenden's club, the Steel Eels senior men's 50-plus team, will tackle six-man 500m and 1000m events in Aussie. Hawke's Bay will also have representatives in a New Zealand W6 Adaptive Mixed team and in Kahungunu Taumata Rau J19 12 and six-person girls and boys crews.

Taurima reminded us of the Rock in Rollers slogan ... Sit Down, Shut Up and Hoe (Paddle). After what he experienced in 2008 he will be happy to hear those words when he competes in a waka for the first time at Lake Kawana.