Jan & Carol – World Long Distance Championships Samoa

It’s less than a week now until two of our club stalwarts head off to Samoa to represent New Zealand at the World Long Distance Championships. Jan Blythe and Carol Hunter have been working hard over the past months since qualifying for the Masters Women 70 crew wearing the black shirts and silver fern of Aotearoa.

We wish them the best of luck and are proud to have them as club members. They are a great reminder that with a high level of commitment it’s within the capability of many of our club paddlers to excel at national and international level. Below is part of their story, supplied by Jan.

We feel very privileged to be representing Aotearoa New Zealand at the International Va’a Federation World Long Distance championships. 

Carol and I are paddling in a Masters Women 70 crew. There is only 1 crew from each age division per country (unlike sprints where the quota is usually 6 crews per age division). Aotearoa has crews from J16 to Masters 70 (men and women) competing, along with a mixed para crew. We also have 1 paddler in each age division racing in rudderless singles. We are racing Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hawaii and the USA in our age division. Our race is on 15th August. The race distance is 16km in the W6 for our age division (12km for the singles).

To see who has entered in which divisions go to http://www.ivfiv.org/view-entries.html

Last weekend the New Zealand long distance squad gathered for training at Akarana Yacht club in Okahu Bay. Each crew were allocated time on the water for training along with a support boat. This meant that our 7th paddler and manager were able to get out on the water to film us as we paddled. Afterwards we had a combined waiata and haka practice before our uniforms were presented to each of the crews. Uniforms (on and off water) have been sponsored by Pure Athletic. 

It’s been a huge commitment to get this far. Lots of travelling to Wellington and mostly to Auckland for trainings.

We have been using a training programme written for us by Bernie Merch (Auckland) to get us ‘match’ fit. Four on water sessions a week and at least 2 sessions in the gym. Carol and I have been able to get at least 2 of those sessions in a W6. The rest we do in our singles. This morning it was 3 degrees – fortunately our session was 10 times 200m at high 200m @ low, and that was it. They are not all so short. Tomorrow is 14km in our singles.

In our crew we have me and Carol from Nelson, Gaylene Sciascia from Porirua, Liz Webster from Hamilton, Lou Henderson from Auckland and Kura Heke from Whangarei. Barb Rudd from Otaki is coming with us as our seventh paddler just in case something happens to one of us. Kura is paddling masters 70 singles and Gaylene is paddling masters 75 singles. Both have a really good chance of medalling in their age division. 

We have just come back from Speights Ale House where a group of Nelson paddlers gathered to wish us well. I am blown away by the support we have received. Thanks everyone.

Its never too early or too late to start paddling waka ama

We always welcome new members to the Maitahi Outrigger Canoe Club.
We have social and racing waka ama crews catering for a wide variety of ages and abilities.