Luuka Jones is keen to brush up on her French.

She's also determined to push herself to discover if she can cut the Olympic canoe slalom discipline in a bid to pursue success in two events at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.

So the Rio Olympic silver medallist is basing herself in Pau, near the Pyrenees in the south of France, for several months to immerse herself in the sport. The fact that it's also the venue for this year's world championships in September is, er, not exactly coincidental.

Hence the French, which she studied at school but is now endeavouring to brush up.


"I'm battling a bit but I am trying. I should definitely have paid more attention in school," she laughed.

Jones has company on her European summer. Fellow Olympian Mike Dawson, up and coming under 23 paddler Finn Butcher from Alexandra, and her coach Campbell Walsh are with her and this weekend she is in La Seu d'Urgell for a Pyrenees Cup event, a forerunner to the World Cup competitions.

Her two fellow Rio medallists, Spain's gold medallist Maialen Chourraut and Australian Jess Fox are there too which should provide some quality, if relatively low-key competition.

She's competing in Paul next weekend, then has world cup meets in Prague and Augsburg, Germany on June 16 and 23, possibly another world cup in Ivrea, Italy on September 1 a week before the world cup final in La Seu d'Urgell, which is the final leadup to the worlds.

Laughter comes easily to the Tauranga 28-year-old these days. Life is good right now.

The podium in Rio last year was terrific reward for years of hard yards and at her third Olympics.

Talk about squaring a circle too. Jones could recall at Otumoetai Intermediate she had listed on an English project goals including 'I want to be a world famous kayaker' and 'Olympic medal'.

She dipped her toes into C1 racing late last year at the Wero Whitewater venue in south Auckland with pleasantly surprising results.

The difference is whereas kayaking involves sitting and using a paddle with two blades, the canoe has one blade and the athletes kneel on one knee. Comfortable it's not.

"I have picked it (canoeing) up a lot faster than I thought I would. I'm not really fast but I'm capable and it's a good platform to build from," she said.

"It's an interesting approach doing two classes because you can only do a certain number of training sessions per week so you try and find the balance of not compromising K1 but still spending enough time in C1 to develop and get to a good level."

Jones is on a Prime Minister's scholarship and while she's not parking up in five star hotels around Europe there's enough to give more volume to the work she can do.

"We pay for our accommodation in Pau, as if we were living there. We're renting an apartment but everything else is covered.

It's a huge help, to just be able to focus on kayak and not have to work and have that little extra support."

Jones now has support in a range of ways from High Performance Sport New Zealand such as a nutritionist, physio, psychologist and strength and conditioning advice.

K1 remains her core event and she's certainly not insisting she's a lock to attempt both in Tokyo. But it's a nice challenge, and brings more interest to the sport for Jones.

"This is very much an experimental year. Next year hopefully I can build on what I've learnt this year and make a decision.

"Kayaking is still my main event and if it's being compromised and I'm not feeling I'm giving it a good enough go I'll probably just do K1 again.

"But I'm loving the challenge. You're looking for such small gains, but in every session you learn something really big and It's quite motivating. From a mental point of view it's quite interesting racing both classes - and it really fills out the weekend."

There's that laugh again.