THE HEROES PROJECT
EPISODE 1: NZ SPRINT KAYAK TEAM
NZ SPRINT KAYAK TEAM
The New Zealand Sprint Kayaking Team is recognised as one of the world’s leading high performance teams. The current team’s whakapapa stretches back to the early 2000s, with Ben Fouhy’s breakthrough 2003 World Championship victory and 2004 Olympic Silver Medal, and strong performances with Steven Ferguson in the K2. Ben’s remarkable successes over almost a decade made him a legend of K1 paddling, and a structure was built on his shoulders that created opportunities for others.
Ben’s mantle was picked up by Lisa Carrington, who won OIympic Gold in 2012. The program has matured over the years as the majority of NZ’s best paddlers committed to working together under a unified structure. Currently, the women’s team includes the holders of World-best times in all three sprint distances and winners of multiple Olympic, World Champs and World Cup medals, led by Lisa Carrington who has a legitimate claim to being the World’s greatest-ever paddler. The men’s team is full of exciting young talent following a rebuilding phase, and includes Tokyo Olympic-bound K2 pairing Max Brown and Kurtis Imrie.
The coaching team is led by NZ Coach of the Decade Gordon Walker, and includes Olympic medal-winning coach Nathan Luce and kayaking legend Tim Brabants. The team is supported by an amazing group of support staff, many of whom are world-leaders in their fields.
The team is committed to building a legacy for the next generation.
So, Wait . . .
WHAT actually IS PADDLER?
We are a proud sea-faring nation. In Māori tradition, a great fish was pulled from the ocean by the demigod Maui, with his magic fish-hook. ‘Te Waka a Maui’ (Maui’s Canoe) is New Zealand’s South Island, and ‘Te Ika a Maui’ (Maui’s Fish) became the North Island. Word spread of a new land, and our ancestors travelled vast distances seeking-out Aotearoa – ‘The land of the long white cloud’.
Waka and sailing vessels are part of our heritage. Our oceans, rivers and lakes are integral to our Kiwi identity. From the great Polynesian navigators such as Kupe and Toi, to Te Rehutai, the foiling America’s Cup winner. Today’s Kiwi heroes include some of the worlds greatest paddlers, such as Ben Fouhy, Luuka Jones and Lisa Carrington.
Paddler is the hub that connects us in our love of the sport. This is the place to find inspiration, information and opportunities. You don’t have to be from NZ – in the Kiwi spirit, we welcome paddlers from anywhere!