Pad­dlers at the ready

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

Three months of hard train­ing will come down to min­utes of fran­tic pad­dling this week.

Mem­bers of the J16 Toa Waka Ama Club crews have been work­ing hard for the sprint na­tion­als that started yes­ter­day at Lake Kara­piro, near Cam­bridge.

Since Oc­to­ber, the teens have had an in­ten­sive train­ing regime that ramped up this month to in­clude three ses­sions on Porirua Har­bour a day.

At­tend­ing schools in places like Otaki and Feild­ing, the bond­ing last week as they roomed to­gether at Taka­puwahia Marae has helped take their prepa­ra­tion to the next level.

‘‘When they’re com­ing from far and wide to train, it’s dif­fer­ent to a lot of lo­cal clubs,’’ coach Andy Ha­nara said.

‘‘But those few days were great, work­ing on tech­nique, tim­ing and blend­ing. The weather wasn’t great, but we were out there [on the wa­ter]. They’re com­mit­ted to what they’re do­ing.’’

Toa J16 crew mem­ber No­ho­rua te Hounuku Ropata said the train­ing had been full on but he was lov­ing it.

‘‘It’s great for your fit­ness and you be­come men­tally stronger as well,’’ he said.

‘‘You work hard be­cause you don’t want to let your team, or your par­ents and ev­ery­one who has helped you, down.’’

As a pad­dler in the mid­dle of the six-man waka, he is one of the pow­er­houses of the crew.

Whatarangi Wini­ata, mean­while, sets the pace as one of the front two pad­dlers.

‘‘Ev­ery­one has a role and we know what our job is,’’ he said.

‘‘We love go­ing to Kara­piro and the at­mos­phere there is great, but we’re fo­cused on what we want to achieve.’’

The Toa boys have a goal of mak­ing their fi­nal at na­tion­als.

Their longer-term aim is to win the J16 ti­tle in 2018, when they’re all 15, and then go for gold at sprint worlds in Tahiti that year.

While some 50 Toa pad­dlers, across sev­eral age groups, will make the trip to Kara­piro, more than 140 will be there from Porirua Ca­noe Kayak Club.

Coach Turi Hodges said it had been a tough build up for them, with poor weather keep­ing crews off the har­bour, but it gave them the op­por­tu­nity to train dif­fer­ently.

‘‘We’ve done a lot of land-based fit­ness work, some sports psy­chol­ogy, and that’s been a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for PCKC,’’ he said.

Hodges said his club was keen to keep push­ing waka ama as an op­tion as the sport of choice in Porirua.

‘‘What makes me happy is see­ing par­ents proud of their kids and the hard work com­ing to fruition.

‘‘That’s worth more than medals.’’

PHOTO: KRIS DANDO

Toa Waka Ama Club J16 pad­dlers, from left, No­ho­rua Te Hounuku Ropata, Whatarangi Wini­ata, coach Andy Ha­nara and Nathaniel Ngarue Cashell.

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