After what felt like eight days of survival mode, a Rotorua team of rafters out-raced fierce competition and avoided potentially life-threatening wildife to prove they are the best of the best.

A team of seven Rotorua paddlers including Sarah Uhl, Kelly Wood, Nikki Whitehead (captain), Denise Martin, Nicola Kelly, Raanj Rapana, Marnie Fornusek have returned from tropical North Queensland as gold medallists after winning the open women's competition at the 2019 World Rafting Championships.

Competing as the Friedlanders, the New Zealand Open Women's Whitewater rafting team were among more than 300 of the world's best rafters at the champs and