Canoe paddler Michael Esterhuizen is taking the first steps in what he hopes is a champion career.

The 15-year-old Trident High School student has been named as part of Canoe Racing New Zealand's high performance athlete pathway. He has been named in the foundation squad which will take part in three camps, with two in Rotorua on August 10 and December 9. The other camp is in Twizel on September 30.

Hailing from Whakatāne, it would be against the grain if Michael did not have high aspirations, sharing the hometown of double Olympic champion Lisa Carrington and K4 Olympian Jamie