The Portage Race goes from Strength to Strength

30 05 2016
Portage 2016 Matt and Hayden

Matt Loveridge (L) fights a close battle with Hayden Lockie to take the win by one second after the better part of three hours racing.

Portage 2016 Results

Waka Ama Results 2016

A few years ago we had such low numbers in this event that there were more race officials than competitors, but in recent years, that has all changed.

In 2014 we gave the event a bit of push and celebrated the race’s 25th anniversary with a big field. We achieved this by promising a bit of a 25th party, reinstating the 10 km kayak event from Picton to Torea (we won’t go into the minor detail that the paddlers then have to get back from Torea!), and inviting Waka Ama paddlers to join us for a 20km or 10 km race.

And, now we have a bit of a party every year in Picton for this event. My thanks goes to all the paddlers who have kept the event the special thing that it is and also to Waka Ama paddlers who have joined us and for bringing your style and enthusiasm – I love it!

This year we had more than 120 paddlers, and they were all racing to Torea together – what a sight.

There were 10 kayakers who didn’t want to brave the portaging sections of the race and took on an unscheduled ferry, and each other in the battle for the 10km crown. Carole and Nick Webby teamed up in their double ski and used that advantage to make it to Torea first, followed closely by John Blackmore, and then Thomas Moore who was back visiting old haunts for the weekend. The 10k’ers then had some fun on the return trip to Picton checking out the dolphins, fish-eating seals, wash riding (I’m not so sure that was part of the support boat drivers’ brief!) and generally enjoying the beautiful waterways we have on our doorstep.

Meanwhile the long course “hard bastards” were away from the crowds in the Kenepuru and challenging themselves with some hilly running with some extra unwieldy weight. Matt Loveridge and last year’s winner Hadyn Lockie pretty much held hands most of the way and could well have been still doing so at the finish line with less than a second separating them. Nice racing guys.

Naomi Whitehead was our only women on the long course – and made it look easy too, which is more than I can say for some of the old timers our there!

Back in the Queen Charlotte Sound the 13 W6 Waka Ama teams were a great sight as they paddled together from Picton to their start line at Mable Island. The field spread out after the start with some racing within the race going on between many pairs of boats. The boys from Motueka (Abel Tasman Soul) cleared out from the field to lead home from the mixed crew of ATG (Against the Grain) and the women’s team Katcha Whaea.

Thanks to all the volunteer race officials and the sponsors, We look forward to seeing everyone in Picton again next year for another great day, and we’ll see if I can get the ferrys to give way to us!

 

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