Portage moves prove decisive

OUT IN FRONT: The leading open men’s group (from left) Jordan McLarin, Quaid Thompson and Andrew Mowlem start the portage section at Anzac Park in the national kayak marathon championships on Saturday. Picture by Liam Clayton
Open women’s kayak marathon championship winner Kim Thompson on her way to a second successive title. Picture by Liam Clayton

THE national open men’s kayak marathon title was decided not on water but on land in Gisborne on Saturday.

Perth-based Aucklander Andrew Mowlem made the most of the three portages — where competitors carry their boats across land — to win the 28-kilometre race up and down the Waimata River.

Defending champion Quaid Thompson, of Poverty Bay Kayak Club, finished second and Sam Newlands, of Christchurch, was third.

Poverty Bay club paddler Jordan McLarin stayed close to Mowlem until McLarin withdrew at the second portage with a rudder problem. It’s understood a steering cable guide broke off his kayak.

Thompson had rudder issues, too.

“I bent my rudder and couldn’t steer, so I had to jump out and straighten it,” he said.

He thought the damage happened in the second portage along the edge of Anzac Park when the rudder hit the ground or a piece of wood.

The effort he put in to close the gap eventually took its toll and he “hit the wall”, and Mowlem pulled away to win by a comfortable margin.

Mowlem set up his success in the Eastland Port New Zealand Kayak Marathon Championships by giving himself an edge wherever he could.

While he’s no slouch on the water, he knew it would be hard to open a gap on Thompson and McLarin on the river.

One advantage he had was his kayak — a marathon boat which, at eight kilograms, was four kilograms lighter than the sprint kayaks of the Gisborne paddlers. And it was set up with a foot-pump so water did not pool in the cockpit.

Thompson was paddling a relatively new boat that he hadn’t wanted to modify by adding a handle that would have made it easier to carry. And lack of a pump meant he had to empty the water from his cockpit at each portage.

So that was where Mowlem applied pressure.

'Through the portages I managed to get a gap'

“Through the portages I managed to get a gap,” he said.

“For the first one I was with Jordan McLarin, and we got quite a big gap on Quaid. He closed it back up but he would have had to paddle hard to catch us.

“Jordan had an issue with his rudder at the second portage and had to pull out. But I also got a gap on Quaid again there.

“When you’re paddling, normally it’s hard to get a gap.

“It’s like drafting in cycling . . . you can ride the wash of the boat ahead.

“I tried to break things up a bit.”

Getting out of the boat for portage and back in it at the other end were skills Mowlem practised “10 or 20 times” in a training session.

“You have to be really fast but not too reckless,” he said.

The K2 (two-person) races over 22km were held yesterday, and Mowlem and McLarin combined to win the men’s open. Garth Spencer and Vaughan Reed were second, and Simon McLarin (Jordan’s father) and Sean Murphy were third.

Kim Thompson was never seriously threatened in the open women’s division on Saturday, and she retained the title she won in Auckland last year.

She praised the paddling of women’s under-18 winner Seren Rogers, who was racing a 22km course, six kilometres less than the open women’s distance.

“I was impressed,” Thompson said.

“We started together and she stuck with me for half of the first lap. It just shows how well the girls are training here.”

Rogers was eligible to compete in the u16 division but wanted to try the longer distance of the u18 race.

Open women’s runner-up was Poverty Bay club member Niamh Lee.

Winners of yesterday’s open women’s K2 race were Nicki Graham and Rogers.

Saturday’s racing marked the conclusion of the New Zealand Paddler Series, supported by Canoe Racing New Zealand and taking into account the results of 800 paddlers.

The series comprises 30 races, with the most northerly being the Poor Knights Crossing — a race from Poor Knights Island to Tutukaka in Northland — and the most southerly being the Clutha Classic from Wanaka down the river to Bendigo.

Paddlers’ best five placings count for their ranking.

New Zealand Paddler Series winners

Men — Open (16-39 years): Toby Brooke (Whanganui). Masters (40-49): Garth Spencer (Auckland). Vets (50-59): Sean Murphy (Titirangi). Classic (60-plus): Simon Woods (Canterbury).

Women — Open: Alex Huffadine (Waitemata). Masters: Sarah Helmore (Christchurch). Vets: Wendy Riach (Christchurch). Classic: Rosemary Gatland (North Shore).

Eastland Port New Zealand Kayak Marathon Championships

SATURDAY

Surf ski

Open men: Peter Lipscombe (Waitemata) 1, Bruce Hamilton (Takapuna) 2, Callum Torrie (Gisborne) 3.

Under-19 men: Nathan Proctor (Gis) 1, Ruben Bronlund (Gis) 2, Hugh Mackintosh (Waimarama) 3.

Multi

Open men: Dave Conway (Gis) 1.

Open women: Bella Bassett-Foss (Waimarama) 1, Amy Spence (Gis) 2, Nan Baker (Gis) 3.

Waka ama

Open men: Grant Donaldson (Gis) 1, Billy Maxwell (Gis) 2.

U18 men: Wiremu Maxwell (Gis) 1, Hunter Hewson (Gis) 2, Jarrod Hill (Gis) 3.

Open women: Raipoia Brightwell (Gis) 1, Akayshia Williams (Gis) 2.

Kayak — K1

Men — Open: Andrew Mowlem (Waitemata) 1, Quaid Thompson (Poverty Bay Kayak Club) 2, Sam Newlands (Christchurch) 3. U14: Angus Baker (PB) 1, Jamie Walker (PB) 2, William Hall (PB) 3. U16: Daniel Brown (Hawke’s Bay) 1, Neo Stuart (PB) 2. U18: Sam Ferkins (PB) 1. Masters 35-44yr: Jeremy Kuggeleijn (Waitemata) 1. 45-54yr: Garth Spencer (North Shore) 1, Glenn Muirhead (Mana) 2, Vaughan Reed (Waitemata) 3. 55-64yr: Kim Harker (Bay of Plenty) 1, Simon McLarin (Waitemata) 2, Phil Exeter (Waitemata) 3.

Mixed — Tyros: Ollie Egan (PB) 1, Georgie Beaufoy (PB) 2, Ben Edwards (Karapiro) 3. Masters 65-plus: Ben Bennett (HB) 1; Barrie Baker (Waitemata) 2, Rosemary Gatland (North Shore) 3.

Women — Open: Kim Thompson (PB) 1, Niamh Lee (PB) 2. U14: Manon Rogers (PB) 1, Jayha Egan (PB) 2, Amber Dearness (PB) 3. U16: Genna Robertson (PB) 1, Emma Brownlie (PB ) 2, Nicki Graham (PB) 3. U18: Seren Rogers (PB) 1, Stacey Warren-Moiser (PB) 2.

SUNDAY

Kayak — K2

Open men: Jordan McLarin/Andrew Mowlem 1, Garth Spencer/Vaughan Reed 2, Simon McLarin/Sean Murphy 3.

Master men: Ian and (his brother) Glen Grey 1, Peter Lipscombe/Phil Exeter 2, Marshall Hollister-Jones/Kim Harker 3.

Women: Seren Rogers/Nicki Graham 1, Niamh Lee/ Stacey Warren-Moiser 2, Manon Rogers/Jayha Egan 3.

THE national open men’s kayak marathon title was decided not on water but on land in Gisborne on Saturday.

Perth-based Aucklander Andrew Mowlem made the most of the three portages — where competitors carry their boats across land — to win the 28-kilometre race up and down the Waimata River.

Defending champion Quaid Thompson, of Poverty Bay Kayak Club, finished second and Sam Newlands, of Christchurch, was third.

Poverty Bay club paddler Jordan McLarin stayed close to Mowlem until McLarin withdrew at the second portage with a rudder problem. It’s understood a steering cable guide broke off his kayak.

Thompson had rudder issues, too.

“I bent my rudder and couldn’t steer, so I had to jump out and straighten it,” he said.

He thought the damage happened in the second portage along the edge of Anzac Park when the rudder hit the ground or a piece of wood.

The effort he put in to close the gap eventually took its toll and he “hit the wall”, and Mowlem pulled away to win by a comfortable margin.

Mowlem set up his success in the Eastland Port New Zealand Kayak Marathon Championships by giving himself an edge wherever he could.

While he’s no slouch on the water, he knew it would be hard to open a gap on Thompson and McLarin on the river.

One advantage he had was his kayak — a marathon boat which, at eight kilograms, was four kilograms lighter than the sprint kayaks of the Gisborne paddlers. And it was set up with a foot-pump so water did not pool in the cockpit.

Thompson was paddling a relatively new boat that he hadn’t wanted to modify by adding a handle that would have made it easier to carry. And lack of a pump meant he had to empty the water from his cockpit at each portage.

So that was where Mowlem applied pressure.

'Through the portages I managed to get a gap'

“Through the portages I managed to get a gap,” he said.

“For the first one I was with Jordan McLarin, and we got quite a big gap on Quaid. He closed it back up but he would have had to paddle hard to catch us.

“Jordan had an issue with his rudder at the second portage and had to pull out. But I also got a gap on Quaid again there.

“When you’re paddling, normally it’s hard to get a gap.

“It’s like drafting in cycling . . . you can ride the wash of the boat ahead.

“I tried to break things up a bit.”

Getting out of the boat for portage and back in it at the other end were skills Mowlem practised “10 or 20 times” in a training session.

“You have to be really fast but not too reckless,” he said.

The K2 (two-person) races over 22km were held yesterday, and Mowlem and McLarin combined to win the men’s open. Garth Spencer and Vaughan Reed were second, and Simon McLarin (Jordan’s father) and Sean Murphy were third.

Kim Thompson was never seriously threatened in the open women’s division on Saturday, and she retained the title she won in Auckland last year.

She praised the paddling of women’s under-18 winner Seren Rogers, who was racing a 22km course, six kilometres less than the open women’s distance.

“I was impressed,” Thompson said.

“We started together and she stuck with me for half of the first lap. It just shows how well the girls are training here.”

Rogers was eligible to compete in the u16 division but wanted to try the longer distance of the u18 race.

Open women’s runner-up was Poverty Bay club member Niamh Lee.

Winners of yesterday’s open women’s K2 race were Nicki Graham and Rogers.

Saturday’s racing marked the conclusion of the New Zealand Paddler Series, supported by Canoe Racing New Zealand and taking into account the results of 800 paddlers.

The series comprises 30 races, with the most northerly being the Poor Knights Crossing — a race from Poor Knights Island to Tutukaka in Northland — and the most southerly being the Clutha Classic from Wanaka down the river to Bendigo.

Paddlers’ best five placings count for their ranking.

New Zealand Paddler Series winners

Men — Open (16-39 years): Toby Brooke (Whanganui). Masters (40-49): Garth Spencer (Auckland). Vets (50-59): Sean Murphy (Titirangi). Classic (60-plus): Simon Woods (Canterbury).

Women — Open: Alex Huffadine (Waitemata). Masters: Sarah Helmore (Christchurch). Vets: Wendy Riach (Christchurch). Classic: Rosemary Gatland (North Shore).

Eastland Port New Zealand Kayak Marathon Championships

SATURDAY

Surf ski

Open men: Peter Lipscombe (Waitemata) 1, Bruce Hamilton (Takapuna) 2, Callum Torrie (Gisborne) 3.

Under-19 men: Nathan Proctor (Gis) 1, Ruben Bronlund (Gis) 2, Hugh Mackintosh (Waimarama) 3.

Multi

Open men: Dave Conway (Gis) 1.

Open women: Bella Bassett-Foss (Waimarama) 1, Amy Spence (Gis) 2, Nan Baker (Gis) 3.

Waka ama

Open men: Grant Donaldson (Gis) 1, Billy Maxwell (Gis) 2.

U18 men: Wiremu Maxwell (Gis) 1, Hunter Hewson (Gis) 2, Jarrod Hill (Gis) 3.

Open women: Raipoia Brightwell (Gis) 1, Akayshia Williams (Gis) 2.

Kayak — K1

Men — Open: Andrew Mowlem (Waitemata) 1, Quaid Thompson (Poverty Bay Kayak Club) 2, Sam Newlands (Christchurch) 3. U14: Angus Baker (PB) 1, Jamie Walker (PB) 2, William Hall (PB) 3. U16: Daniel Brown (Hawke’s Bay) 1, Neo Stuart (PB) 2. U18: Sam Ferkins (PB) 1. Masters 35-44yr: Jeremy Kuggeleijn (Waitemata) 1. 45-54yr: Garth Spencer (North Shore) 1, Glenn Muirhead (Mana) 2, Vaughan Reed (Waitemata) 3. 55-64yr: Kim Harker (Bay of Plenty) 1, Simon McLarin (Waitemata) 2, Phil Exeter (Waitemata) 3.

Mixed — Tyros: Ollie Egan (PB) 1, Georgie Beaufoy (PB) 2, Ben Edwards (Karapiro) 3. Masters 65-plus: Ben Bennett (HB) 1; Barrie Baker (Waitemata) 2, Rosemary Gatland (North Shore) 3.

Women — Open: Kim Thompson (PB) 1, Niamh Lee (PB) 2. U14: Manon Rogers (PB) 1, Jayha Egan (PB) 2, Amber Dearness (PB) 3. U16: Genna Robertson (PB) 1, Emma Brownlie (PB ) 2, Nicki Graham (PB) 3. U18: Seren Rogers (PB) 1, Stacey Warren-Moiser (PB) 2.

SUNDAY

Kayak — K2

Open men: Jordan McLarin/Andrew Mowlem 1, Garth Spencer/Vaughan Reed 2, Simon McLarin/Sean Murphy 3.

Master men: Ian and (his brother) Glen Grey 1, Peter Lipscombe/Phil Exeter 2, Marshall Hollister-Jones/Kim Harker 3.

Women: Seren Rogers/Nicki Graham 1, Niamh Lee/ Stacey Warren-Moiser 2, Manon Rogers/Jayha Egan 3.

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