King on trial
Tupuria King backed up the silver medal claimed at last month’s sprint nationals in Cambridge by winning the James Bhutty Moore-morial in Tauranga on Saturday.
As the favourite, King completed the gruelling 32km course from Maketu¯ to Pilot Bay in 2h 54m 18s; a significantly slower time than the tide-/ wind-assisted course record of 2h 17m which he set in 2017.
King noted that conditions were “. . . quite flat, not really what we like,” and difficult for the whole field. It was his fourth title in five years competing at the event which included wins from 2015 to 2017 but not last year as he was attending his sister’s wedding.
Second paddler home in an individual outrigger canoe was Whangarei’s Stephen Roulston with race organiser Paul Roozendaal third, fastest woman was Maketu¯’s Nicky Kingi, while the surfski division was won by former Olympic sailor Tom Ashley.
Every paddler in the annual James Bhutty Moore-morial raced with a woven flax flower on their canoe, in memory of the former waka ama champion.
This year’s event attracted 135 competitors, including many of New Zealand’s best. It also served as a trial for the New Zealand men’s and women’s teams to compete at the 2019 World Distance Championships in Mooloolaba, Australia in August.
Twelve men and 12 women were selected from the race to do further training with the final teams to be announced in the next two weeks.