Sunday, July 17, 2016

The morning saw the awesome finals racing spectacle for U23 Mens and Womens C1, Mens K1, Junior Mens and Womens C1, and Mens K1 top 10 individuals battling it out for world championship honours. There were amazing runs for our team to watch on the Kolna course as the medals were decided. 

After the lunch break the rain came in as our teams prepared to take on the challenge against other nations on the semi-finals course.  First Kiwis to go were Patrick, James & Callum in U23 C1 who gave a stout performance to the umbrella welding spectators finishing in 14th place. 

Next Finn, Theo and Callum did a tidy and efficient run down the course with some nice weaving thru the upstream gates resulting in a 15th placing.

Then it was the junior boys with Callum Aitken in the lead, Josh second and Otis bringing up the rear.  That race started OK but began to unravel when Otis rolled just above the bridge. A little further down Callum also rolled but, not to be outdone, Otis did 2 more rolls in quick succession with some 50s thrown in by Callum and Otis for good measure.  By this time the commentator got quite excited at the freestyle component of the run and spectators were reaching for the video buttons on their phones. 

The Junior K1 run by Zac, Callum and Otis was more conventional but a 50 second penalty saw them well down the scoreboard with a number of other countries teams who also 50ed including Slovakia and Italy.  It was a relief to head back to the hotel to warm up and dry out.

Saturday, July 16, 2016


Semi finals day arrived overcast and cool. The Kiwi contingent arrived mid morning to meet Callum and Finn who had travelled to the course early for their final preparations with Aaron and Martin on the newly set semi-finals course which had been completed the previous evening during the wind, rain, and delays. The new course was more demanding than the qualifications course and having placed highly in the first runs, Callum and Finn had the opportunity of watching their fellow competitors tackle the new layout. 

Callum was away first, looking fast, on line, and comparable with the competition. However a touch on gate 2 put him out of the top 10 going thru to the finals.  Finn was second last away on account of his high qualifying result and he looked fast and smooth. However, all errors are punished at this level and an eddy stall in one gate and a touch on gate 16 meant Finn too was out of the final -  (Jiri, the current European and World Champion who followed Finn, rolled between gates 20 and 21 and missed out on the final as well). 

The kiwi cheerleaders sporting facial tattoos with flags waving were unable to enhance Callum and Finn's performance by the little extra needed to get them over the line.  Finn finished 15th and Callum finished 18th.

Callum and Zac had their semi final debuts in the afternoon.  Callum had a very nice run with only one touch and placed 24th.  What a great result for his first big European competition.  Zac blazed down the course and picked up 4 touches to just inch him out the finals.  He placed 19th overall.  Both Callum and Zac paddled so well against their experienced and talented competitors. 

It is exciting for New Zealand to have so many paddlers receive a placing here at the Under 23/Junior Worlds in the top 24.

Friday, July 15, 2016


Today Kaydi, Courtney, Anna, and Kensa had their K1 runs down the Krakow course. The U23 started the day with a field of 49 paddlers.  The girls had to place in the top 20 to go thru to the semis in their first runs.  They all got a second run down in the afternoon to try and qualify but didn’t quite make the top 10.  Courtney placed 39th and 19th, Kaydi placed 46th and 20th and Anna placed 44th in her first run and had a solid second run, paddling well placing her in 17th place.

Kensa had a big long day!  Her first run placed her in 31st place.  She was a bit like Zac and Callum yesterday racking up a few too many touches.  She had a nice run time of 98.64 seconds which was close to the 6th place holder but with the addition of 12 penalties she ranked a bit lower on the scoreboard.  Her second run was hard to get started.  The weather came in with a bit of wind and rain then the river lowered and the race had to be delayed.  Twice!  About 8 racers started their second runs but had to re-run them once the water came back up again.  Kensa had a solid run and it looked like she was all go for the semis placing 9th ….the flag was waving and the teammates were cheering..until they made a video review to find she had 50 gate 13.  Bad luck.  

Thursday, July 14, 2016


After our first two days of racing in unpredictable weather reaching temperatures in the mid 30’s with  threatening thunder showers, we have four paddlers that have made the semi finals!  

Our U23 C1 paddlers started the event off on a very difficult C1 course.  James Thwaite, Callum Gilbert and Patrick Washer all had two attempts at making the semi finals in a field of 60.  James had an exciting first run with loosing his paddle for a couple seconds placing 53rd and his second run put him in 36th place.  Callum Gilbert hopped into Otis’ boat for the first run which put him in 38th place and used Kaydi’s boat for his second run which placed him 31st.  Patrick Washer had two solid runs.  He placed 29th in the first run (only the top 20 went thru directly to the semis) and placed 12th in his second run, just missing out on the top 10 going thru to the semis.  

Our junior C1 paddlers experienced their first world class event.  It was exciting watching them paddle on this very difficult C1 course.  Out of 58 competitors, Callum Aitken placed 53rd, Otis Rayner placed 52nd, and Josh Bell placed 46th in their first runs.  Josh had a great second run improving his time by 19 seconds to place 23rd, Otis placed 31st, and Callum 37th.

Our K1 teams - both U23 and Junior - were very successful today.  Finn Butcher took out the field of 75 and placed 2nd.  Jiri Prskavec, the European Champion and the Czech Republic’s 2016 olympian, beat him by 1.76 seconds.  Callum Gilbert also put down a great run and placed 10th.  Both Finn and Callum go directly to the semis on Friday.  Theo Pepper placed 55th in his first run and 45th in his second.  Very tough competition for the paddlers here and Theo was right in all the action with a borrowed boat and short build up to the event.

Our two junior paddlers, Zac Mutton and Callum Aitken, both made it into the semis on their first runs!  Very exciting stuff when both of them could have been a lot cleaner.  In the field of 79, Zac placed 24th with 10 penalties and Callum placed 27th with 8 penalties.  We are all looking forward to Friday’s Semi Finals racing starting at 10:50am for the U23 and 4:05pm for the Juniors.

Kaydi O’Conner-Stratton and Kelly Travers raced well today.  The top 15 paddlers went thru to the semis in the first run and the top 5 went thru in the second runs.  Kaydi placed 28th in her first run and 18th in her second run.  Kelly placed 27th in her first run and 12th in her second run.


The team gathered in the main square of Krakow to officially open the 2016 U23/Junior World Championships with 47 other nations.  It was a scorching 35 degrees so team shorts and white tops and water were on order.  Official speeches were giving by the ICF dignitaries followed by local cultural and modern dancing.  

We had a delicious team dinner at Kogel Mogel partaking in many local specialities:  Boczniaki podsmazane (oyster mushrooms), Pate z resiny (Goose pate), Tradycyjny choldnik litewkie lub chlodnik z ogorka i miety (Traditional cooler soup made of beetroot, cucumber and egg), Pierogi’s (dumplings), Kaczka marynowana (roast duck), Nozka z gesi (roasted leg of goose), Kopytka z maselkiem (potato noodles with butter), and much more ….. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


We were a little too fast off the mark to give you the true start times for all the athletes.  Here are the bib numbers and corrected start times.  You are able to watch live stream on

TUESDAY (Polish time) 12 July
C1Mens U23  60 Competitors

James Thwaites  Bib 22 Start time 12:54
Callum Gilbert   Bib 20  Start time 12:55
Patrick Washer  Bib 17 Start time 12:58

C1Mens Juniors  58 Competitors

Callum Aitken  Bib 57  Start time 13:21
Josh Bell  Bib 54  Start time 13:24
Otis Rayner  Bib 25 Start time 13:53

WEDNESDAY (Polish time) 13 July
K1Mens U23  75 Competitors

Theo Pepper  Bib 60  Start time 9:45
Finn Butcher  Bib 14  Start time 10:31
Callum Gilbert  Bib 9  Start time 10:36

C1Womens U23  39 Competitors

Kaydi O'Conner-Stratton  Bib 29  Start time  11:00
Kelly Travers  Bib 17  Start time  11:12

K1Mens Juniors  80 Competitors

Callum Aitken  Bib 49  Start time 15:01
Zac Mutton  Bib 7  Start time  15:43
Daniel Tuiraviravi  Bib 4  Start time  15:46

THURSDAY (Polish time) 14 July
K1Womens U23  49 Competitors

Kaydi O'Conner-Stratton  Bib 44  Start time  9:35
Courtney Williams  Bib 43  Start time  9:36
Anna Higgins  Bib 24  Start time  9:55

K1Womens Juniors 55 Competitors

Kensa Randle  Bib 12  Start time  13:43

FRIDAY 15 July


C1Mens U23
Patrick Washer/Callum Gilbert/James Thwaite  Bib 14  Start time 13:32

K1Mens U23
Finn Butcher/Callum Gilbert/Theo Pepper  Bib 12  Start time  15:07

C1Mens Junior
Callum Aitken/Josh Bell/Otis Rayner  Bib 8  Start time  15:59

K1Mens Junior
Zac Mutton/Callum Aitken/Otis Rayner  Bib 15  Start time  17:09

K1Womens U23
Anna Higgins/Courtney Williams/Kaydi O'Conner-Stratton  Bib 7  Start time  13:25

SUNDAY 17 July
FINALS - K1W, C2M (May have been shifted..TBC)

Monday, July 11, 2016


The U23/Junior Team have been training everyday rotating their time slot from 4pm to 8am to 6pm to 3pm.  We have one more 1/2  hour training slot tomorrow at 8:30am then the course will be set and the competition begins.

TUESDAY Patrick Washer, James Thwaites and Callum Gilbert start off the racing at 12:15pm (10:15pm on Tuesday night) in the U23 C1 category.  Second runs start at 1:20pm (11:20pm NZ Tuesday night).

TUESDAY the Juniors - Josh Bell, Callum Aitken and Otis Rayner - have their first runs at 2:30pm (12:30am Wednesday morning NZ time) and have their second runs at 4:43pm (2:43am Wednesday morning NZ time).

WEDNESDAY begins the competition for K1 Mens and C1 Womens.  Callum Gilbert, Finn Butcher and Theo Pepper will be racing at 9:15am (7:15pm Wednesday night)  followed by Kelly Travers and Kaydi O’Conner-Stratton.  Second runs at 11:45am (9:45pm Wednesday night).

WEDNESDAY Zac Mutton and Callum Aitken have their first runs at 2:30pm (12:30am Thursday morning NZ time) and second runs at 5pm (3am on Thursday morning NZ time).

THURSDAY Anna Higgins, Courtney Williams, and Kaydi-O’Conner-Stratton will be racing K1 Womens starting their first runs at 9:15am (7:15pm Thursday evening NZ time) and their second runs at 11am (9pm NZ time).

THURSDAY Kensa Randle will be racing in the Junior K1 Womens at 1:25pm (11:26pm on Thursday NZ time) and her second run will be at 3:25pm (1:25am Friday NZ time).

All racing will be live streamed through Canoe Planet on youtube.  Go onto and look for a link to take you to the days racing.  We will try to provide a link once it is up and going.