It was a Top 20 finish for Whanganui's Toby Brooke at his first ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships in France, overnight on Thursday, NZ time.

Part of a nine strong New Zealand team, Brooke and Bay of Plenty's Timothy Waller were the Men's Under 23 representatives in the squad.

They had to face a tricky side-wind on the 22km course in Saint-Pierre De Quiberon.

The 21-year-old Brooke finished 16th in his race, 9m 11s behind the race winner Joshua Fern of South Africa, who won in 1h 39m 5s.

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Waller placed 24th, coming 11m 39s behind Fern.

Brooke had trekked over to Waller's patch in the Bay of Plenty, as well as Wellington, to train on open water for France.

Locally, he would train off the coast at Castlecliff and in the Whanganui River.

The highlight of the championships for New Zealand was Danielle McKenzie winning gold in the open women's class, while Teneale Hatton came third in the same race.