Tai Tokerau paddling legend Tupuria King has reclaimed his position as the best across 500m as his whānau also recorded medal-winning performances at the Te Wananga o Aotearoa National Waka Ama Sprint Championships on Lake Karāpiro.
King, 27, came out ahead of tough opposition on Wednesday to claim his sixth premier men's one-person 500m title after his five consecutive wins from 2014 to 2018. In 2019 and 2020, Tahiti paddler Manutea Millon claimed the crown.
King, who finished second behind Millon last year, was glad to add to his title collection in the 500m race.
"I'm super stoked to finally get the win again because it's been a while."
Unfortunately, Millon could not compete this year due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. However, King said paddlers like Julius Peterson and Bradley Anderson from Auckland gave him strong competition.
"It was the most nervous I've been in nationals for a long time."
However, Tupu wasn't the only King whānau member to take home a medal on Wednesday. In fact, his mother Nylee, father David and sister Rose all earned top-three finishes in their respective divisions.
Nylee, paddling for the Ruamata Waka Ama Club from Rotorua, won the gold masters women's one-person 500m race while David, paddling for Tai Tokerau Club Kaihoe o Ngati Rehia Trust, claimed bronze in the men's equivalent.
Rose, paddling for Gisborne's Horouta Waka Hoe club, finished third in the premier women's one-person 500m race, finishing behind two of her clubmates.
King said his win was made even better by the success of his whānau.
"It's awesome, we've been doing it for so long ... it brings us together as a family."
King was still to compete in the six-person format before he raced as the top seed in the showpiece event tomorrow, the 250m one-person sprint, which he had won five times before.
Other significant Northland results:
• Cordell Allan (Mitamitaga o le Pasefika Va'a-alo Canoe Club): 1st in intermediate men's one-person 500m
• Waitangi Piripi (Nga Hoe Horo): 1st in junior women's one-person 500m
• Chelsea Reti (Nga Hoe Horo): 2nd in intermediate women's one-person 500m
• Noel Clark (Nga Hoe Horo): 3rd in master 70 men's one-person 500m
• Mary Sissions (Mitamitaga o le Pasefika Va'a-alo Canoe Club): 3rd in senior master women's one-person 500m
• Elite Reti (Nga Hoe Horo): 4th in junior men's one-person 500m
• Robert Gabel (Nga Hoe Horo): 4th in master 70 men's one-person 500m
• Margaret Brown (Tai Tokerau Polynesian Canoe Assn): 5th in master 70 women one-person 500m
• Ali Robinson (Kaihoe o Ngati Rehia Trust): 5th in gold master men's one-person 500m
• Ngaire Pehi (Parihaka Waka Ama): 5th in master women's one-person 500m