King on trial

The Northland Age - - Age Sport -

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.

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