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Rimene ready for nationals

Paddy Rimene in action. PHOTO/FILE


Masterton paddler Paddy Rimene is confident of strong performances at Waka Ama ki Waitangi – the 2022 long distance waka ama national championships to be held in Waitangi, in the Far North today and tomorrow.

The former national representative will start his competition tomorrow in the W1 [men’s] Masters rudderless championship over 16km.

Rimene then hopes to back up in the W1 Masters ruddered 16km race if he can get the use of a ruddered canoe, and he has recovered sufficiently from his first race, which will finish about an hour before the start.

Then on Saturday, he will contest the W6 six-man race over the ultimate distance of 24km as part of Auckland’s Akarana club Pinuela Masters Crew.

All the racing is on the open sea, and although Rimene said he is “going pretty quick at the moment”, he admits he hasn’t done as much open water training as he would normally do in the lead-up to the event, with his preparation consisting of eight to 10 hours a week on the flat waters of Masterton’s Henley Lake.

“I haven’t done much surf training, and the currents and tides can have a big say, so I might get caught out,” Rimene said.

“A lot of the racing can be determined by the weather and Friday is meant to be okay, but the wind is supposed to get up on Saturday.”

Rimene expects the 16km single-man races to take about 90 minutes to complete, with the V6 24km marathon an arduous two hours.

The lifting of covid-19 restrictions has resulted in a staggering number of entries, with more than 1000 paddlers from 62 clubs competing over the two days of racing.

Waka Ama NZ chief executive Lara Collins said the big fields make it one of New Zealand’s biggest long-distance nationals ever, and that should guarantee some outstanding performances of athleticism, power and endurance on the water.

“Paddlers have been training for months for these championships. The marathon event tests their limits physically and mentally and we often see some epic sprints to the finish line for those top placings,” Collins said.

The championships come at a busy time for the determined Rimene. The former Wairarapa-Bush rugby representative has been mixing his waka ama training with training for two multisport events over the next two months.

The first is the IronMaori half distance ironman in Napier on November 5, then December’s Taupo 70.3 Ironman, comprising a 1.9km swim, 90km bike, and half-marathon.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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