The passionate New Zealand canoe-slalom community has urged paddlers to fully embrace the World Masters Games 2017, which he be hosted at an impressive new state-of-the-art facility in South Auckland.
Set to open in April 2016 WERO Whitewater Park will be the home of the high-action sport of canoe-slalom, which involves paddling a kayak or canoe through a course of hanging gates on the river rapids, during the Games.
“It will be the first artificial slalom course in New Zealand and it has been designed by the same people who built the London Olympic course,” explains Sue Clarke, World Masters Games 2017 canoe-slalom representative.
“It is very exciting and gives the chance for masters athletes to compete at a world-class venue.”
The canoe-slalom action will take place in group age divisions of five years from 35+ all the way up to 70+ and they will compete in K1, C1 (one person) and C2 (two person) events. The K events take place in a kayak, where competitors sit down and use a double bladed paddle, and the C event denotes a canoe in which participants sit in a kneeling position with a single blade paddle.
Competitors undergo two timed runs down the course with the fastest time determining the winner.
Former Kiwi World Championship representative Andy Fuller struck gold in the K1 event in the 40+ age group at the 2009 World Masters Games in Sydney and he would encourage any prospective paddler to attend the event in Auckland.
“Canoe slalom is a technical sport but you also have to be physically fit to do it,” explains Rotorua-based Andy. “One of the coolest things is we are still a little under two years away from the event so it gives you plenty of time to set yourself a target and it acts as a good motivator to get fit before the Games.”
Andy, who plans to enter the K1 45+ event at the World Masters Games 2017, also stresses the event presents a great opportunity for competitors to experience other sports and also embrace the social side to the event.
““It is nice to catch up with your old mates from years gone by and meet with people from many different sports,” he adds.
Meanwhile, Sue emphasises that canoe-slalom also provides great entertainment for the spectators.
“Visually it will provide a great spectacle,” she says. “Spectators will be right up by the action which will provide great drama with the challenge of the white water and potential for Eskimo rolls. It will be exciting.”