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Waka ama paddlers, supporters to gather for race simulation day

Not the real thing . . . but close.

Waka ama paddlers and supporters will gather on the banks of the three city rivers tomorrow for the annual race simulation day.

Normally the simulation day is aimed at younger paddlers, to prepare them for racing at the national sprint championships at Lake Karapiro.

But this year the threat of Covid transmission has caused the cancellation of the sprint nationals.

The Self Storage Gisborne Race Simulation Day might be as close as most paddlers get to the real thing this year.

Organiser Vesna Radonich has added an adult section, W1 500m races and competition for mixed crews. Those and many of the events associated with the nationals — such as W6 1000m races with turns, W6 500m sprints and double-hull events — will keep things humming on the water tomorrow.

The first race is set to start at 8am and the last at 3.20pm, with races starting every five to 10 minutes.

Almost like being there: Midget female paddlers from Horouta Waka Hoe, YMP and Mareikura Waka Ama Club — with their adult minders at the back — in action during a W12 250-metre race at a 2019 “race simulation day” held to get young paddlers familiar with what happens at the waka ama national sprint championships at Lake Karapiro. This year the sprint champs have been cancelled, so the race simulation day tomorrow might be as close to a real racing experience as most local paddlers get this year. Picture by Paul Rickard