Golden haul at waka ama champs
A crew of female waka ama gold medallists made a pledge a decade ago to try to repeat their wins at a future world championship. Now they’ve done it. Whitby paddler Anita Taggart was part of a masters crew that won three gold medals when New Zealand hosted the biennial world champs in 2006.
Taggart and several other paddlers from that team have just returned from Australia’s Sunshine Coast with gold medals in the same events they won in 2006.
The women, who come from all over the North Island, won the world title in the masters women’s W12, a 12-person race in which two canoes are lashed together.
W6 crews featuring Taggart also won the senior masters women’s 500m sprint and 1000m events.
Taggart’s husband, Rob, paddled with the Mana Pasifika Club’s senior masters crew that won the 1000m bronze medal.
New Zealand crews completed a good haul in Australia, even surpassing that of waka ama powerhouse Tahiti’s number of medals.
Despite the Taggarts’ successes, the flatwater races are not their preferred style of waka ama. They really enjoy marathon paddles of 30km or more, in the big swells way out to sea.
‘‘You get to do a bit of surfing,’’ Anita said.
They’ve both won medals in marathon events and will compete in the long-distance nationals off Tauranga in September.
Meanwhile, Porirua paddler Grant Barriball won a bronze in the senior masters V1 500 and another in the V6 1000m race on the Sunshine Coast.
The team he coaches, Mana Pasifika Taimania V6 women, were fifth in the masters women’s 500 and in the open V12 500.
Rob and Anita Taggart, with the medals they won at the world waka ama champs on Australia’s Sunshine Coast.