New Zealand elite paddler Max Brown relished the chance to drop back from his high performance duties to race at the Blue Lakes 2 Sprint Kayak Regatta in Rotorua with his old Whanganui clubmate Toby Brooke at the weekend.
The pair spearheaded a squad from the kyak division of the Whanganui Multisport Club competing at the second largest regatta on the New Zealand sprint kayak calendar behind the nationals at Lake Karapiro.
The Blue Lakes regatta featered star studded fields racing with the fields including the open women's team members, some of whom had already achieved multiple Olympic and World Championship successes. Along with the golden girls of the sport, the fast developing men's open high performance team was also in attendance.
The high performance team, including Whanganui's own Max Brown, train out of Cambridge and were relishing the chance to compete in the club based regatta.
Brown and Brooke remain undefeated after the weekend in the open division two person team when they clearly won the K2 1000m by over a boat length. But their team boat performance was not the only event for the Whanganui club as the U14yr boat made up of Angus Sewell and Zane Mills-Nossiter showed a clean pair of heels over both 200m and 500m journeys, while the U18 boat of Lucas Thompson and Jack Clifton snuck home ahead of a stacked composite crew in the shorter 200m event and were second in the 1000m race.
Keeping with a club tradition of strong big boat performances the Whanganui boys U18 K4, which included Thompson and Clifton teaming up with Cameron Russell, George Pedley and Archie Tonks to win both the 200m and 500m events while U16 paddler George Pedley also helped the Waitara (New Plymouth) crew to a win in the U16 division.
Whanganui coach Brian Scott said the team performed well across the board in the individual racing, however, there were notable performances that gained podium placings.
These included Brown gaining second place to last season's national champion in the Open Mens K1 1000m, Clifton taking third in the U18 K1 1000m, Sewell taking third in both the U14 200m and the 500m and Mills-Nossiter leading the medal count with wins in the U14 200m and 500m.
"The girls in the team had just come off three weeks of illness, so they were unable to train and were still feeling flat through the weekend," Scott said.
"Despite their best efforts they remained low on the energy levels required to compete at the big regattas and struggled to get the results they would normally be capable of. They will regroup and no doubt be looking forward to some good racing at the nationals in February where hopefully they will be joined by additional female athletes being developed by the club."
The Whanganui club welcomes new members with a view to train and race in kayak events throughout the country.
Anyone interested in learning to either be involved in paddle sports or the club's newly formed surf skills program should contact Robyn Scott via email — firstname.lastname@example.org