In the year of her 30th birthday, Olympic silver medalist Luuka Jones admits she's had a season to forget on the World Cup Canoe Slalom circuit.

But after an encouraging win in a C1 ranking event last week on the Vltava River in Prague, the Tauranga paddler is feeling much more confident ahead of the World Cup Finals regatta in northern Spain this weekend.

Jones, who these days competes in both C1 (kneeling in the boat) and K1 (sitting) says the year has been frustrating because of technical issues with her equipment.

Read more: Young Bay of Plenty duo leading New Zealand kayaking charge

Advertisement

"I ended up buying a new canoe and it was the wrong model for me. I ordered another one and it turned up and it was the wrong size," Jones says.

"So I ended up racing different boats during the World Cup and it's a bit of a nightmare because you have to be at one with your boat.

"You can't go out and race with confidence when you don't have the right equipment."

Sadly that showed in her results.

In the first three World Cups she's finished 30th, 26th and 18th in C1 racing, and 23rd, 27th and 16th in the K1.

But ahead of this weekend's racing on the historic Parc Olimpic del Segre in La Seu d'Urgell, venue for whitewater canoeing at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Jones is in a much better frame of mind.

Related articles:

ROTORUA DAILY POST | Sport
9 Jul, 2018 1:13pm
2 minutes to read

The win in Prague appears to have really lifted her spirits.

"I was especially proud of that performance because I was really sick beforehand, throwing up and all that.

"So now I'm feeling really good heading into the business end of the season."

The World Cup Finals are just over two weeks before the pinnacle event of the season, the World Championships, this year back at a place she knows and loves – Rio de Janiero.

The Deodoro Whitewater Park was the scene of her 2016 Olympic silver medal in K1.

"I like to think I have a bit of an advantage there, because I spent a lot of time there building up to the Olympics, so I know the course well."

While he biggest success has come in K1 events, Jones is now coming to terms with the demanding C1.

"You only use half a paddle instead of two blades. So it is quite tricky navigating a white water course with just one blade.

"If I'd known how uncomfortable it was going to be, I might not have started!

"But it's awesome now. I like the challenge of doing something different because I've been paddling for so long."

After the heights of Rio just over two years ago, Jones has struggled to make her mark on the world stage.

Currently her world ranking is 11th in C1 and 18th in K1.

But sorting out those equipment issues has put her in a much better frame of mind for the big events this month.

"I'm very at one with my boat."

WHAT: Canoe Slalom World Cup Finals
WHERE: La Seu d'Urgell, Spain
WHEN: September 7-9