Portage Kayak Race 2015 Race Report and Results

18 05 2015

Husband and wife team Nick and Carol Webby starting the 2nd paddling stage in Kenepuru Sound


The Portage Race was held on Saturday 16th May, and after the success of adding Wakaama races to the programme in 2015 we again invited the wakaama paddlers to join us and 106 paddlers across both codes enjoyed a magical day in The Sounds.

Despite the gale force winds in Cook Straight and a rather severe forecast making the race organiser nervous, Picton put on a beautiful calm day.

In the traditional portage kayak race local paddlers Paul Bourgeois and Dave Fernandez and Hadyn Lockie from Nelson battled if out neck and neck until Te Mahia where Paul dropped off the pace, and Dave pulled away from Hadyn on the Portage. Dave did all he could to stay away  but by the time they turned the last buoy with 1km to go he and Hadyn were side by side again, until Hadyn took out the sprint by 1 second. Carole and Nick from Ward had the advantage over their rivals from Nelson (Mark and Sam) in the kayak but could not match the portaging speed of the lads and were unable to catch them on the last leg to Picton.  Mark and Sam coming out the victors by just under two minutes.

Surprisingly, there were no ladies prepared to tackle the Long course this year. I say that because it is so achievable  and such a buzz to do. Maybe I’ll make a Portage comeback next year and convince some others to join me!

The 10km race to Torea was popular this year with 24 paddlers (kayaks and wakaama) racing to Torea, and then returning to Picton as a neutral paddler after seeing the W6 Wakaama turn at Torea, and the other kayakers run up the  hill en route to Portage Hotel. Long time Portage Race competitor Keith Alderson took out the 10km race from John Blackmore. Naomi Whitehead took out the women’s race, with Belinda Heaphy the fastest Vet Woman.

The 10km paddlers were treated to displays from dolphins and seals on their paddle back to Picton much to everyone’s delight.

In the Wakaama races the only Christchurch team added to the competition and after a good battle they came in ahead of Koro by 24 seconds. Of the battles for minor placings the stand-out finish was between Maitahi White and the teenagers of Wai So Serious with the boys taking it out in a photo finish. Very exciting! I imagine the banter is still going on between dad in Maitahi White and his son who was paddling in Wai so Serious. 

It was absolutely delightful to have the Wakaama paddlers join us and bring extra energy and atmosphere to our longstanding classic event, and I hope this partnership can continue.

Well done to everyone involved and a huge thank you to our sponsors (Kono Wines, Le Café, Martella Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Flow Kayaks, Rasdex, Callahan and Martella Electrical) and all the race officials: Ian MacAlpine, Grant Clifford; Allan Martella, Lew Bright, Mark Grammer, Chris Ireland, Ryan Lock, Mondo Kopua, Grant Williams, Nick Moore and Gerald Ballagh.

Results are here





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