9 Weeks to Go

As we count down to the departure date for Hawaii I have decided to introduce the team members to you all so you can get to know them a bit better. So to start off with I will give you the personal profiles of two team mates:

Name: Cara Berghan
Degree: Fourth year of Electrical and Computer Engineering
From: Kaitaia, New Zealand
When did you start paddling? I started in high school for Epsom Girls Grammar and also joined Hauraki Sports Club during this time
What do you hope to get out of the trip to Hawaii? A medal – preferably a gold coloured one!

Name: Billy Bowman
Degree: Second year of Chemical and Materials Engineering
From: Born and raised in England until I was nine and then moved to Helensville, New Zealand
When did you start paddling? I started in year ten at school, where I competed in many races including Heiva va’a in Tahiti. I’ve also been paddling for Tu Tangi Ora my club based in Helensville for many years. Some of the cool races I’ve done with them include the Vaka Heiva in Rarotonga and the Takapuna Beach cup, a 42km changes race around Rangitoto, Motutapu and Rakino.
Any other hobbies? I’m not involved in any other university sports however I’ve been competitively swimming for 7 years now, emphasising on open water and 10km open water swims. Recently I’ve turned to Triathlon, and my next big goal is Ironman Taupo in March which I’ve entered and am currently training for.

I can’t believe its been another few weeks of training already. For me, and I’m sure for the rest of the team also, its been a very hectic, total whirlwind for the past 3 weeks. There is one word for it all: Exams.

Because everyone in the team does various types of engineering and are at different stages in their degrees we all had different exam timetables. Working around this to schedule trainings was a challenge and there was a lot of back and forth facebook messaging to get it sorted! The recent Auckland weather has not been our friend either (when has it ever been?!), with the wind and rain forecast causing a few training cancellations.

Our coach Leki asked us if we were interested in a race at Narrowneck Beach that weekend. It was just over 10km (no stopping at the Harbour Bridge for a rest this time). Luckily we had exactly six of us available to participate on the day, with Cara and Georgia busy with exams.

Waka 2

The team for the Narrowneck Race from left; Te Wera, Billy, Shan, myself, Dallas, Nona and coach Leki

We had a great race start, immediately pulling ahead of the other crews. For the first few minutes we were neck and neck with one other waka, before they started pulling ahead of us. We spent the rest of the race focusing on maintaining our lead, staying in time and practicing our power sets. The race also featured turning around buoy markers. This was new to me as the Takapuna race did not have any turning required. It was really cool to see how it all worked, and experiencing the turns you can really feel everyone in the waka doing the hardest to make it around the buoy in the best time possible.

Towards the end of the race Te Wera started calling more power sets, to see if we could make up any ground with the lead waka. It was really awesome to try this and to see how hard we could push ourselves at the end. The waka really did start to surge forward a bit more and we did make some ground up, but not enough to win the race. We were very happy with second though, but we still have some work to do if we want to last the 30km paddle in Hawaii!


Time results for the Narrowneck race, we were named the Hauraki Engineers