NZ Tekapo Throwdown 2014

The first weekend of November is known by many a kiwi paddler to be the annual Tekapo Throwdown. Located in the central south island by the beautiful glacial feed lakes is the beautiful hidden gem of the Tekapo whitewater course just down behind the small township. Tekapo is one of my favourite places in New Zealand to work on my freestyle skills, though also one of the coldest with its fresh crisp water.

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The weekend started off awesome with a bit of freestyle training and then the event began. First competition the famous Tekapo ball race, but with the extreme winds we had to adapt the game and use tennis balls instead of the usual beach balls, in our teams of two we raced them down the course to be first to get them to a checkpoint at the end. By the time finals came round one of the tennis balls had gone missing and with none to spare we had to resort back to the beach balls even in the high winds. My team mate Mac Miller and I made it to the bottom in a good position before a gust of wind picked up our ball and blew it into an eddy upstream that we could not possibly make it back to. There was only one answer…so I leapt out of my boat, ran upstream and dived into the water to rescue and then swim down the rapid with it. Unfortunately these efforts were only enough for us to take second behind the team of Aidan and Connor. Suinana and Annie took 3rd.

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Next up was the rescue race. In teams of three we had to make a successful throw rope, tow a boat and paddle through a gate, do a deep water rescue and pack a throwbag. It was a great race with a lot of different aspects and created a great learning experience for all the paddlers. I was teamed up with two young and budding kayaker chicks, Annie and Sunaina. Our girl power proved strong taking the overall win!

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Next was the third and final event for the day, switch racing. Competitors’ started at the top of the class 2 channel facing upstream and first to touch the marker at the end of the course taking only backward strokes along the way won. In the under 18 category Max Collier took the win. In the creek boat category karmas took 1st and 2nd with Aidan Haig following close behind me. Then in the playboat section Max took yet another win, followed by me then Rob Evans.

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This left the rest of the day to play and have fun in the upper hole.
After a long and windy nights sleep we got to start again only with slalom this time. Everyone got in the water started warming up and then took their two runs.
After their two runs the results stood…
Mens 1st Petr Hradek, 2nd Antz Longman, 3rd Justine MacGregor
Womens 1st Courtney Kerin
U15 Men 1st Will Nelson, 2nd Max Collier, 3rd Tim McGimpsey
U18 Men 1st Connor Daly, 2nd Sean Daly
U18 Women 1st Sunaina Borne, 2nd Annie Wardle, 3rd Justine Middlemiss
Veterans 1st Alan Hoffman, 2nd Aidan Haig, 3rd Mike Tubbs

 Finally we finished off the Tekapo throw down with a showdown. The freestyle competition is always the grand finale here. Competitors gave it their best shot showing off a variety of tricks.

In the under 15 men Max Collier earns 1st place, followed by Tim McGimpsy in 2nd and Chris Olsen in 3rd (Rockstar M)
In the under 18 men Connor Daly took the win just ahead of his brother Sean.
In the under 18 women it was a tight battle that ended with Sunaina (Rockstar S) narrowly defeating Annie Wardle for the title, followed by Justine in 3rd. Jason won the men’s; Stephen took 2nd (Rockstar S) and Michael 3rd.
In the women’s I took the win in my Rockstar S, followed by Mary Haig in her 2010 all-star. And last but not least Aidan won the veterans (Rockstar L) followed by Alan Hoffman in 2nd and Rob Evans grabbed the final position on the podium.

Cheers to Antz Longman for yet another awesome Tekapo Throwdown and Mac Millar for the awesome pictures!
Bring on Tekapo Throwdown 2015!

Courtney Kerin

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