It seems like an eternity ago that we were getting taught the ropes on how to haul ourselves and our Waka around the safe little bay in Okahu – fast forward 5 months and we can now confidently say we know how to hold the paddle around the right way and even string together a couple of long distance paddles to Rangitoto and Browns island to name a few!

The true harshness of winter training has now set in, and it is fair to say the thermals and beanies are being well used on those fresh 5:45am morning training’s. The dedication of sitting and paddling in a boat on the ocean for 2 hours whilst your hands become more and more numb demonstrates the commitment this team has. As Loukas introduced last week, the team is an awesome collection of incredible sportspeople and hardworking students.

It is fair to say the juggling act of study and training can be a difficult one but the team has pulled together to ensure that everyone feels supported in their academic and sporting fields. On behalf of the medical students in the team, we must give our nursing and health science colleagues a huge thank you for being supportive and encouraging. On the day of the Great Waka Ama Race they allowed us all to hustle back to the University library straight after the race to study for the upcoming sensory systems test – this was probably the biggest juggling act for us!

With the longest of our races in Hawaii being 29kms, our recent training focus has been on developing our long term cardiovascular fitness and mental strength with long paddles to ensure we can hit this race to the best of our abilities. Recently the challenge has been to find a weather window that is safe enough to set out on the ocean however – gotta love the Auckland weather! This will be a huge contrast to the 30 degree summer we’re about to walk into in Hawaii! When on-water training isn’t an option the team heads to the gym and does a land training, so rain or shine we are still working towards that goal of representing the University to the highest standard that we can.

Written by Billie Haresnape