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New Marathon event brings Porirua Harbour to life with paddlers

The inaugural Central Watersports Marathon event hosted by Mana Kayak Club in Wellington got off to a big splash on the Porirua Harbour with up to 90 people taking part in a range of different craft across the watersports community in June. The harbour  was alive with waka, ocean skis, multisport boats and kayaks all competing across a number of different divisions and marathon races in a "a real community event". 



3 marathon format events over two days made up the Watersports Marathon Champs, an event which aimed to connect as many different water sports organisations together to  collaborate and learn from each other so that we can engage more people across our community into this exciting sport of marathon racing. The event also doubled as a trial for the 2024 World Canoe Marathon Championships, attracting some of NZ's leading marathon exponents and also some younger athletes looking to broaden their experiences of flatwater kayak racing.


The event kicked off with long course marathon racing for single-person craft and 6-person waka.  Previous masters K2 marathon world champion Garth Spencer was the overall mens K1 winner in the 20km race ahead of Paul Moreno and Ben Manners. Local paddler Emma Kemp won the open womens race ahead of U18 Bay of Plenty paddler Grace Richardson. There was a tight battle in the U18 men, with Hawkes Bay's Julien da Silva just pipping Auckland's Brydon Storey, with only 5 seconds separating the two after 16km.



After a shared lunch, there was short course racing, an exciting new ICF format, of short laps and portages. The event concluded after the K2 race on Sunday morning, where K2 pair Garth Spencer & Vaughan Reed came out on top after a close battle with mixed pair Emma Kemp and Glen Muirhead in the 12km race.



Mana Kayak Club would like to thank the many volunteers who helped make this event a success over the weekend and the paddlers that travelled from across the North Island to attend the event. The intention is for this to be an annual event and a permanent fixture in the marathon racing calendar.



Well done to all paddlers and Mana Kayak Club for a great new event!




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