As we wrap up this year and head into 2023, we start to make resolutions and set goals for the new year. Do you want to challenge yourself? Learn a new skill or try something new? Be a winner? Or make new friends at post-event parties?
Whatever your motivation, there are a range of paddling events and challenges coming up in the first half of 2023 that will fit the bill, whether you are looking to master your current paddling discipline or try the challenge of something new.
Canoe Sprint Racing
If short and sharp is your thing, there are two national Canoe Sprint events coming up, one of which even has a bit of international flavour.
Summer Super Sprints- 3/4 March, Twizel The 2nd edition of this South Island sprint event is set to be a sizzler. There is racing for all age groups in the Mens and Womens K1, K2 and K4 with 200m & 500m and 1000m races scheduled. https://www.canoeracing.org.nz/events/summer-super-sprint-2/
2023 Canoe Sprint NZ National and Oceania Championships- 21-23 April, Lake Karapiro The pinnacle of the canoe sprint domestic season, this event is also the Oceania Championships and we expect to see some of the best in the business line up. Racing open to all age groups from 12&U right through to Masters, or just come along and see how fast they can go! https://www.canoeracing.org.nz/events/4551/
Ocean Paddling Events
Whether on an ocean ski, Waka ama or Stand-up Paddleboard, ocean paddling is like the mountain biking of paddling- exciting, adventurous and much better going downhill. The 2022/23 Darcy Price series is in full swing, and with 6 races left on the calendar this summer all across NZ, it is all to play for whether you are vying for the top spot, or just trying to beat Dave.
Deep South Downwind- 21st January, Queenstown They say some people can't organise a piss-up in a brewery, but these guys can and have! But before the post-race celebration, paddlers will get to first enjoy the spectacular backdrop of Queenstown and the surrounding mountains asthey hope to make the most of the summer thermal winds on Lake Wakatipu at this brand -new event! With both a long course and short course (which includes a multisport boat division), this race in adventure-junkie paradise is not one to miss.
Queen and King of the Bay- 28/29th January, Tasman This event weekend in the beautiful Tasman region of the upper South Island includes 2 races to make for an awesome weekend of paddling. The King and Queen of the Bay is the South Island’s longest running surfski race, and for good reason. Run by legends for legends, every paddler comes away a winner for getting to paddle in one of the most beautiful places in the country. This is a particularly friendly race for less race-confident paddlers.
Bhutty Moore/2023 NZ Ocean Ski National Championships- 4th February, Tauranga
Not one for the faint hearted, this race is a challenge of epic proportions. In memory of James Moore (aka Bhutty) who lost his life on this stretch of water, the 32km Mount Maunganui to Makatu course (or reverse) has every paddler questioning their life choices at some stage along the way but the finish line tastes so sweet. To be able to compete, or complete, means that you will have had to have done the hard yards. So if you need some motivation to do the miles this over the festive season, the Bhutty is for you.
Heads to Harbour- 11th March, Whakatane
Now in its 3rd edition of the race, the Heads to Harbour race treats paddlers to an 19km race along the truly stunning coastline from Ohope to Whakatane Harbour. It’s the home of Lisa Carrington, so if nothing else, you hope whatever is in the water will sting your eyes and give you some of that golden magic to power you home.
Auckland King and Queen of the Harbour- 6th May, Auckland
The Auckland King & Queen of the Harbour is New Zealand’s premier ocean ski event, showcasing the spectacular paddling available in Auckland. While most people would think dodging ferries, container ships and JAFA’s on launches is not great, local paddlers know they have some of the best paddling around and everyone else is just jealous. With over 160paddlers on the start line last year, it’s a fantastic way to farewell the summer paddling season. With a range of crafts and course options available, this event has something to suit all type, ability and age of paddler.
Marathon Paddling The sport of marathon is a true test of a paddler’s tactics, endurance and athleticism. If you like paddling and running and have always thought they should be combined more, this is the sport for you.
2023 NZ Canoe Marathon National Champs- 21st May, Auckland Can you go the distance? Like running a marathon, this event will require mental and physical strength but nothing that can’t be done with a summer of paddling and a can-do attitude. Put it in your calendar now and get out on the water. You can worry about how portages work later on…
This is a great endurance event without the danger of open ocean or rocky rapids, so is suited to the “less crazy” paddler and the one that loves a tactical challenge. Open to kayaks, skis, and multisport boats of all ages.