Thursday, June 30, 2016


The 2016 Junior & Under 23 World's tour finally began to happen with Josh, Martin, Otis, Mary and Gordon’s arrival into Prague and transfer to the Lodnica kayak club boathouse at Troja on the banks of the Vltava river and meeting up with Courtney, Callum Aitken, Zac and Kaydi who were already established in the Czech Republic. What an amazing place to be deposited from a wintery, grey landscape to a lush, green Kayaking paradise.  

Some of the team had a late afternoon training run on the Troja course before the crew headed down town to "Lokal" restaurant for a familiarisation session of local cuisine in the company of old and new friends Czech friends.  An early night for most of the team but Martin and the remaining team members trammed further across town to visit the newly opened Kayak Beach Bar established by slalom icon Vavra Hradilek.

The training got underway the following day with hour long sessions on the Troja course in the morning and at midday with Martin coaching. The team shared the course with other kayakers practising slalom and rafters from the Phys Ed  department of nearby Charles University.  It was a good opportunity for Otis and Josh to get the feel for their first European slalom course, joining the other kiwis who were well acquainted with the whitewater conditions.

Then an afternoon in town taking in the splendour of some of Prague's old historical precinct concentrating on Charles bridge and Prague castle with winding medieval streets, glorious church sculpture in Saint Mikulas, the ordered utopian architecture of the government buildings and the soaring Baroque ornateness of St Vitus cathedral in the castle precinct. We only had limited exploring time so barely scratched the surface of this lovely city.
The team had been invited to a boathouse barbeque with the local kayak club members, many of whom had spent time in New Zealand and many of whom were Martin’s old kayaking buddies. Callum Aitken was celebrating his 17th birthday and enjoyed a birthday cake and candles "kiwi style" and then partook in the local Czech birthday tradition with a full aerial immersion into the Vltava in front of the clubhouse.

We had an early 6am start, quick brekky, trailer pack and departure towards Germany via the Galasport factory at Susice to pick up Josh’s new C1 and fit it out. Some of the other paddlers took the opportunity to check their boat weights and make some minor adjustments and repairs.

We got back on the road and picked up James Thwaite at Munich Airport, a rental car, and rolled into the second oldest city in Germany, Augsburg, at 7pm.  The course was busy with many paddlers in both slalom and plastic boats enjoying the 1972 purpose made slalom course for the Olympics. The paddlers were happy to see such a beautiful setting and challenging whitewater course.

We ended our huge day at an Augsburg local around the corner from our hostel.  Cuisine of the evening was 1/2 pork knuckle, 1/4 duck, wiener schnitzel, and spaztle (ingredients unknown). 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

2015 Junior & U23 Teams in Brazil for World Champs

Great news the white water is flowing and we have now had two sessions. You would have to laugh as once they got the pumps fixed, (rumour has it some damage caused by an alligator in the pump, but who knows) someone lost the key to open the gate to let water flow down the white water course so all sessions started 30 minutes late yesterday.
We took the opportunity to visit the Brazilian side of the Falls and luckily we had free entry from the organisers as an apology for lack of white water. perfect timing as we had planned to go that day anyway.
We have also been to the Bird Park and both sightseeing expeditions a big hit-  knocking off a few sights while we have rental cars and early in training so not getting too tired close to racing.

We have had brilliant sunny days- late 20's early 30's so very hot but air con in rooms so ok once we get back to hotel.
Its been very humid but heavens have just opened so perhaps that will relieve the mugginess a bit. We have four small Ford cars, a bit like the movie 'The Italian Job' when we leave our gated parking lot and head out. It takes about 20 minutes to the course, 4 drivers ( Sue, Aaron. Martin & Malcolm)  Everyone gets in the same car, same seats- I was laughing with my car lot as its a bit of a practice for the rest home .... same seats everyday!

We are on a roll now with meals and getting organised
Breakfast is a buffet, ideal as there is lots of choice even if some strange cakes and jellies in shot glasses. Lovely fruit though!
Lunch we self cater and with the chilli bin, 2 plates, three forks and one knife I purchased  ( almost 100% fail on bringing the mess kit as per packing list)  a good bakery two doors along and 500m to supermarket it seems to be working Ok, There are three tables in a communal area which we commandeer at lunch - we leave a bit of a mess on the floor but the hotel seem Ok with it and refuse to give me  a broom to clean it up. Today I have got onto google translate and then took a note to the breakfast cooks to ask if we could have 17 boiled eggs (ovos) for lunch . With lots of hand gestures and me flapping my arms like a chook , I think they got the message although no eggs have appeared yet. 
Kids have fridges in rooms so can have extra food for in between snacks.

Dinner so far has been mostly at this Brazilian BBQ place next door- costs around $13 NZ for all you can eat plus a bottle of water. The boys are mostly into speed eating and have timed they can be in an out in 20 minutes-  the meat is continuous from a rotisserie BBQ arrangement and there is plenty and its really good. They have  a dessert buffet and the finale is the BBQ pineapple which is rotisseried whole and coated in a sugary cinnamon mix and they bring it around and carve off slices.
Some of us are taking a more leisurely pace ( than the 20 minutes)  and having an adult drink-  caiparinha  - lots fresh limes-  Yum.

Dave & Marg McCulloch have joined us a couple of times and they head off now for a week then will be back for the business end.

We were invited out to the Brazilian team's compound. It was Pepe's birthday (one of their team ) I say a compound as they all live together with a gym and pool and even a cook. Ettore their coach ( from Italy)  cooked the BBQ (Churrascaria ), all meat and buns and it was a bit chaotic as lots of young kayayers. Very vibrant and we got a glimpse of how they party when people started to dance, then drums and ukes came out. We got everyone home early but Im sure if the racing had been over it may have been more of a struggle.  Great to see teams mixing up though and it seems that our Churrascaria restaurant next door is popular with all the teams so at night its been just about full with kayakers.

Not sure that many are handwashing but I sussed a laundry place outside of the hotel for 8 Real per kg, so just under $4 so the troops went en masse yesterday with their named plastic bags of washing. Haven't got it back yet and there was some concern about whites and coloureds- be interesting to see if all works out.
Post your message to the team here

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Silver success for Kiwi junior paddlers
Tauranga paddlers Luke Robinson and Dan Munro have won New Zealand's first-ever junior world championship medal in canoe slalom, picking up silver in today's C2 final in Penrith.
Robinson, 16, and 17-year-old Munro qualified sixth-fastest for the final but unleashed a faultless performance when it counted, finishing in 130.56secs.
They were 7.66secs behind top-qualifers Michael Matejka and Jan Vetrovsky (Czech Republic), with Poland's Adam Kozub and Jakub Brzezinski third in 135.06secs, after collecting four 2sec penalties.  Australians Steven Lowther and Brodie Crawford missed two gates after qualifying second, eventually ending in eighth.
Fellow Tauranga paddler Callum Gilbert also qualified for a final, finishing eighth in the K1 decider.
Gilbert qualified third-fastest and only picked up a single 2sec penalty but a small error on the tricky move at main wave saw his podium chances slip away.  Austrian Mario Leitner edging Slovakian Vid Kuder Marusic for the gold medal.

In the junior women K1 the NZ girls had some problems on the difficult semis course, as did many others. Showing plenty of tenacity Kaydi finished 23rd and Kensa 24th.
Later in the day the K1 boys team of Theo, Callum and Alex put down a pretty solid performance to finish 6th ahead of some strong paddling nations.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The first day of qualifications are over at the Junior and U23 World Champs.
All the K1 Men (juniors and U23's) are through to the top 40 semis. Junior Alex Hawthorne the fastest qualifier of the kiwis with a solid second run recording a 100.3 Disappointment in the U23 K1 W for Jane Nicholas and Anna Higgins who finished 31st and 32nd to just miss the top 30 women's cut. Both on target in their second runs but incurred 50's. Haylee Dangen in her first year of U23 making it through in 28th in the strong field. The junior girls, both through also in the K1W, with Kaydi in 25th and Kensa on the bubble at 30th.The Junior C2 crew of Dan Munro and Luke Robinson have automatic progression to the finals due to the numbers starting but got some time on the course today in qualifications where they finished 6th.
Tommorrow are the quals for C1 and C1W.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The team before the opening ceremony.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The countdown is on with demos and opening ceremony tomorrow with racing starting on Wednesday.
Full schedule
The team has been training well and all seem relaxed and happy. Lots of time spent at the accommodation, hanging out with Australian friends , a smattering of homework, movies and computer games.
Parents are starting to arrive to support the NZ team and dropping in to say Hi- the support is really appreciated.
Good luck to those sitting their IJCSL, international judging exam.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

First few days Junior& U23 World Champs 2014 Sydney, Australia

We are all are settled in and into a training routine.
The group is divided in two, with split training sessions twice a day for now, before nation training starts on the 19th.  Our accommodation is working out well at the Nepean River Holiday Park, where we have 6 villas and the large function room/kitchen where we meet for all meals.
To fill in the time between trainings athletes are doing Uni or school work, watching movies and the inevitable trips to the mall to fill in the day. The photos give a snap shot of action around the venue.