Northlanders with physical disabilities are being called out to give para-waka ama a crack tomorrow, with an eye to competing in the sport at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

Waka Ama New Zealand national development manager Conan Herbert, who hails from Northland, says he's looking for physically disabled Northlanders to try waka ama.

Herbert said that while the sport will be known as para-canoe at the Paralympics, essentially it was waka ama and the skills are easily converted.

"What we're envisaging is getting four teams at the next nationals, then that's 12 paddlers who we're hoping can form the nucleus going forward to the next Paralympics," he said.


"We'll be stoked to get a few people along [this Friday]. We've had a 'have-a-go' day in Auckland and we have a club in Auckland, which is our para-waka ama club for the region. On Friday we'll be working with Parihaka, who we're hoping will be our designated club for Northland."

While there weren't any rules in relation to what sort of disability potential athletes could have, Herbert said they would do their best to get people in the waka to have a crack.

"We want to be fully inclusive; we want it to be open to everyone with a physical disability. We understand that we may not be able to cater for everyone with the equipment we currently have, but it's something we want to work on.

"The criteria for para-waka paddlers in teams at nationals will be three paddlers with a disability and three able-bodied paddlers - the reason we did that is because we're still early in the stages and it's more achievable. We're aiming to get one team per waka ama region."

Tomorrow's event takes place at the Parihaka Waka Ama Club's base at Kissing Point and will run from 4.30-6.30pm. Bring a towel, change of clothes and a warm jacket.

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