National | Hākinakina

Chasing gold in the distance

With the 2019 World Distance waka ama championships on the horizon, the two J19 W6 crews from Horouta Waka Hoe in Gisborne who will represent Aotearoa are gaining momentum on the water, preparing for a race up to 27km in length.

On an early winter morning in Tūranga, the two young crews are out on the water building stamina and training to win.

Te Aho Tuterangiwhiu Paenga says, “It's a good thing to wake up early, it's invigorating for the body, it makes us happy and healthy, it's a lifestyle. My teammates and I are passionate about this sport.”

Training for a 24-27km race that will take place out on the open ocean, physical endurance on the water is paramount.

“It's a long time to think, working as a team is a vital is this type of long-distance pursuit. One must run each day, paddle long-distance each day, eat healthily and drink plenty of water”, says Te Aho Tuterangiwhiu Paenga.

Both Horouta Waka Hoe J19 men and women crews were the first across the line in the NZ Long Distance Nationals in April. For them, mental toughness is a pre-requisite for success.

Mikayla Timoti of Tūhoe says, “A lot more of a head game, a lot more of an endurance game as well, just have to have a really good caller, a really good motivated team to keep wanting to go and who all have the same focus to strive for the end goal.”

For these two J19 crews, the end goal always has and always be gold.

“Always to get that number one result of winning, hopefully, but also having a good time out there especially if we go over to Australia where it will be surf, hopefully, big waters, have fun enjoy yourself but the end goal is always to win”, says Mikayla Timoti.

The 2019 World Distance Champs will be held in Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast in August.