Bring on the nationals...
The Horouta Junior Race Simulation Day yesterday was the chance for those new to the sport to take part in a big regatta ahead of the waka ama sprint nationals on Lake Karapiro next week.
“We have a high percentage of people competing today who have never been to nationals before,” said Horouta coach and one of the event organisers, Irene Takao.
“It’s a chance for them to get over any nerves and get some experience before the big competition on January 14,” she said.
Racing started early yesterday, with most of the district clubs taking part, including Gisborne’s Horouta Waka Hoe, Mareikura and YMP clubs, and Adventure Wairoa.
Hundreds turned out to support and cheer on the paddlers from the riverbank.
Horouta volunteer Joan-Ella Ngata said it was a successful regatta.
It gave many competitors a snapshot of what the national competition would be like so they would not be overwhelmed, she said.
The simulation day was the first time some of the younger ones, or those new to the sport, had taken part in a regatta.
“The success can be measured by the smiles of enjoyment on the kids’ faces.”
Next week’s nationals will feature thousands of paddlers from midgets to golden masters age groups.
Horouta will be defending the overall top club trophy.