The key to success in Canoe Slalom is being able to weave through a series of gates in rushing water as swiftly as possible.
A sport of literally negotiating obstacles, Finn Anderson from Tauranga Boys’ College not only fights vigorously on the water, but out of his boat to. This year alone Anderson’s travels have cost him more than $7,000.
“I do a lot of fundraising like quiz nights and sausage sizzles to get to events. At the Youth Olympics the rules prevent you from showing a sponsor so I didn’t have one,” Anderson reveals.
Despite a lack of support Anderson went to Barcelona where he qualified for the Youth Olympics in Argentina where he won a silver medal in the C1 category earlier this month.
“I was pretty surprised to do as well as I did. The course was different to what I was used to. In New Zealand it’s uncommon to have the gates marked with buoys. The water flow was also different,” Anderson explained.
There were four races at the Olympics with the field shrinking the further the competition advanced. Anderson remained a contender by getting through his qualification heat and quarter-final. In the semi-final he achieved his quickest time over the 420-metre course finishing in 1:20:570 before achieving a time of 1:23:260 in the final.
The gold medal was won by Terence Benjamin Saramandif from Mauritius.
“Terence trains with a coach in France. He was pretty consistent. I would like to think I could beat him, but he was the better paddler,” Anderson concedes.
Anderson comes from a family of paddlers with his father coaching at Te Puke High School. Training on the Tauranga River, Anderson also travels as often as twice a week to Rotorua practice. Anderson believes his competitive breakthrough was at Tauranga Boys’ College where he made the New Zealand Development Squad and where Kayaking is a seriously successful code.
In March, Tauranga Boys’ College won the top Schools Kayaking trophy for a record 19th time at the Nationals in Wanaka.
Tauranga won the U14, U16 and U18 3-boat K1 events in a dominant display which eventually earned nine selections in the New Zealand Development Squad. The boys selected were: Sean Washer, Hugh Canham, Taylor Harris, Lachie Aitken, Dane O’Reilly, Jared Williams, Ben Pilbrow, Ryan Keading and Anderson.
Oliver Puchner also attended the Youth Olympics while Damian Torwick and Charlie Bell competed at the World U23 championships in Italy.
The next goal for Anderson is to earn selection for the New Zealand team who will tour Poland for the World Championships.
Anderson’s other interests include Maths, Science, hockey and other water sports like swimming and waterpolo.
Canterbury Claim First Scholastic Surfing Championships in Gisborne
The Canterbury Junior Surfing Team has claimed their first ever team title at the National Scholastic Surfing Championships.
In a three way battle with defending champions Bay of Plenty and the impressive Auckland Team, the lead switched several times throughout the day as surfers were slowly eliminated from the event and the champions were crowned. Canterbury eventually took a solid lead that they never let go.
1, Canterbury, 8008
2, Auckland, 7590
3, Bay of Plenty, 7565
4, Gisborne, 7013
5, Northland, 6638
6, Waikato, 6535
7, Coromandel, 5695
8, Tasman, 5103
9, Wellington, 4875
10, Taranaki, 4330
11, Hawkes Bay, 390
Canterbury went into the finals with six surfers challenging for titles and came out with one title from Casper McCormick who won the Under 18 Longboard Division.
The team title has been a long time coming with the event celebrating 30 years this week.
Canterbury is the first South Island team to win the event.
The final day started off with perfect waves in the 1.0m range and offshore winds at Makorori Beach, Gisborne. Unfortunately the onshore winds did arrive in the afternoon, part way through the finals and they deteriorated the conditions somewhat for the last heats of the event.
Caleb Cutmore won the Under 18 Boys Division which added to his win in the Under 16 Boys in 2017. His gold medal almost wasn’t to be with a tough run to the finals.
“I was stoked to actually just make the final, I had a couple of close heats prior to that but in the final I found a few waves luckily as it was a bit messy” said Cutmore who is a little over a week away from heading to his second World Junior Championship.
“I am looking forward to the worlds, it is a similar event in format so I want to build momentum from this week and head over there with some confidence” he added.
Cutmore was joined in the final by Conor McLennan (Chch) who surfed his way from fourth to second on his last wave of the final. Coromandel surfers Jay Piper Healion (Whitianga) and Thomas Carter (Waihi Beach) finished in third and fourth respectively.
Auckland surfer Aimee Brown claimed the gold medal in the Under 18 Girls Division continuing on her good form from earlier in the year. Brown claimed the upset win over Elin Tawharu (Mnt) with an 11.47 point heat total in the final.
“I am pretty stoked, I have been surfing heaps and I am happy with another win, it was a bit of a grind out there, after pumping waves all week, the surf turned for the worse in the finals” said Brown who helped her team to the runner up finish.
“The team is stoked. We didn’t actually expect to get second so it is good to finish my time at the Scholastics with a runner up finish for the Auckland Team” she added.
Tawharu finished the event in second place with Tegen Bishop (Chch) in third and Eve Findlay (WC) in fourth.
Titles in the Under 16 Boys and Girls Divisions went to Waikato surfers Kora Cooper and Brie Bennett who joined Caleb Cutmore atop the podium as the most winningest region at the event this year.
Cooper added to his Under 14 Boys Division title in 2017. Cooper started the final with an eight point ride and then midway through the heat added a seven point ride for a comprehensive lead.
“I tried to stick to the lefts because my home break is Raglan and I surf my best on my backhand so I tried to get two good ones and then paddle over to the guys on the other peak” said Cooper.
He never let the lead go holding off Tom Robinson who was Northland’s highest placed surfer in second place. Both surfers head to the World Junior Championships this month as well so their performances are vital for their preparation.
“It is good to get a win here in New Zealand and get some confidence up before we head overseas to the worlds at the end of the month” said Cooper.
Bay of Plenty surfer Jacob Saunders finished the final in third place in his first ever final and Tom Butland (Tara) rounded out the finalists in fourth place after opting to surf his own peak up the beach.
Brie Bennett posted a 10.10 point heat total to win the Under 16 Girls Division. The turning point in the final came on a nice right-hander for Bennett where she completed two big backhand turns for a six point ride.
“I got one good right-hander. I only got two waves in the final but that was enough for the win I guess”.
Bennett defeated Georgia Wederell (Mnt) who finished in second ahead of Estella Hungerford (Chch) in third and Summer Carkeek (Auck) in fourth.
Finn Vette (Gis) and Natasha Gouldsbury claimed the Under 14 Division titles with convincing wins. Vette posted a 14.2 point heat total in his high scoring final to fend off Christchurch surfer Jai Oakley in second, Jayden Willoughby (Rag) in third and Koby Cameron (Chch) in fourth.
Gouldsbury finished with a 9.1 point heat total to comfortably take home the gold medal over Auckland teammates Alice Westerkamp and Liv Haysom in second and third with Anna Brock (Mnt) in fourth.
Casper McCormick defended his title in the Under 18 Longboard Division with his stylish approach netting him a 13.2 point total well clear of his opponents Joel McMullen (Auck), Ben Counsell (Auck) and Billy Whelan (Northland) who finished second through fourth respectively.
Natasha Gouldsbury and Myka Black (Chch) claimed the Adam Clegg Breakthrough Performance Awards for their outstanding surfing all week. Black was in impressive form throughout the event until he came unstuck in the semifinals finishing fifth overall. Natasha Gouldsbury carried her form through to the final to claim her first scholastic title.
The Adam Clegg trophies were donated by the Clegg family in honour of their son who had previously competed at the event but tragically passed away in 2014.
Under 18 Boys Division Quarterfinals
Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 11.93, 1, Jay Piper - Healion (Whiti), 11.86, 2, William Van der Beek (Mnt), 11.4, 3, Riley Gibson (Chch), 8.03, 4
Luke Griffin (Mnt), 12.07, 1, Thomas Carter (Waihi Bch), 10.07, 2, Ayrton Yarrell (Waihi Bch), 7.24, 3, Te Haukopa Ehau - Taumaunu (Gis), 7.14, 4
Conor McLennan (Chch), 11.44, 1, Max Brunker (Whngrei), 9.28, 2, Alex O'Dwyer (Whaka), 5.9, 3, Raul Ventura (Nel), 4.1, 4
Under 18 Boys Division Semifinals
Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 14.06, 1, Thomas Carter (Waihi Bch), 9.83, 2, Max Brunker (Whngrei), 9.66, 3
Jay Piper - Healion (Whiti), 15.67, 1, Conor McLennan (Chch), 11.3, 2, Luke Griffin (Mnt), 10.43, 3
Under 18 Boys Division Final
Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 13.07, 1, Conor McLennan (Chch), 10.80, 2, Jay Piper - Healion (Whiti), 10.13, 3, Thomas Carter (Waihi Bch), 9.9, 4
Under 16 Boys Division Semifinals
Tom Butland (Tara), 13.83, 1, Kora Cooper (Rag), 13.74, 2, Jack Lee (Whaka), 12.27, 3, Manawa Ruru (Gis), 8.3, 4
Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 14.8, 1, Jacob Saunders (TGA), 12.06, 2, Myka Black (Chch), 10.23, 3, Finn Johnson (Gis), 9.27, 4
Under 16 Boys Final,
Kora Cooper (Rag), 15.4, 1, Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 11.47, 2, Jacob Saunders (TGA), 9.2, 3, Tom Butland (Tara), 9.14, 4
Under 14 Boys Division Semifinals
Jayden Willoughby (Rag), 15.87, 1, Finn Vette (Gis), 12, 2, Reuben Lyons (Kaik), 10, 3, Te Kauwhata Kauwhata (Sandy Bay), 9.47, 4
Jai Oakley (Chch), 10.44, 1, Koby Cameron (Chch), 8.14, 2, Tiger West-Hill (Gis), 7.3, 3, Navryn Malone (Rag), 6.26, 4
Under 14 Boys Division Final
Finn Vette (Gis), 14.2, 1, Jai Oakley (Chch), 12.5, 2, Jayden Willoughby (Rag), 11.6, 3, Koby Cameron (Chch), 9.2, 4
Under 18 Girls Division Final
Aimee Brown (Auck), 11.47, 1, Elin Tawharu (Mnt), 9.93, 2, Tegen Bishop (Chch), 8.26, 3, Eve Findlay (WC), 4.13, 4
Under 16 Girls Division Final
Brie Bennett (Rag), 10.1, 1, Georgia Wederell (Mnt), 6.64, 2, Estella Hungerford (Chch), 6.03, 3, Summer Carkeek (Auck), 2.67, 4
Under 14 Girls Division Final
Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 9.1, 1, Alice Westerkamp (Auck), 7.77, 2, Liv Haysom (Piha), 5.7, 3, Anna Brock (Mnt), 3.4, 4
Under 18 Longboard Division Semifinals
Caspar McCormick (Chch), 14.77, 1, Billy Whelan (Nrthlnd), 6.84, 2, Karson Burns (Wgtn), 4.27, 3
Ben Counsell (Auck), 12.83, 1, Joel McMullen (Auck), 9.1, 2, Sonny Eades (BOP), 7.14, 3
Under 18 Longboard Final
Caspar McCormick (Chch), 13.2, 1, Joel McMullen (Auck), 8.74, 2, Ben Counsell (Auck), 6.83, 3, Billy Whelan (Nrthlnd), 6.2, 4
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