Urgent for NZ Freestyle selections

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Hi everybody

Once again...the NZ team selections are at Penrith on Monday 12th January, 9.00 - 10.30am. There is a cost to this of over A$400.

To date, I only have confirmed entry from Donald Calder & Lawrance, with application from late entry from Nathan & Mike for the Juniors as they are in Melbourne for a slalom event.

If we do not get enough entries to cover the costs, I need to cancel the booking by 14th November. So please let me know if you are going to be there before this date. To be fair to those who will make this committment, no confirmation by 14th Nov. means no entry.

Please also circulate this email to anyone that you know I may have missed.


kayneo's picture

Hi Kevin,

The $400.00 that I refered to was the airfare at the moment. To attend all three events (Without any fundraising and/or sponsorship) just the travel alone will be $1200.00 NZD plus accom and expenses...Money that buys a whole load of time in Murch or the like. But yes the attendance from the South would be cheaper then the wallet emptying domestic fare north.

I am not a competetive playboater, but I have looked at the systems that we have used and the competetors that have attended over the last few years and it seems to me that there is alot of talent being left out of the mix and I see this as real shame.

Surfing in this country had the same problem in the 80's. Loads of talent (and a world champ) but no infrastructure to help get them to the real competitions with real prize money. As you say a "circuit" made all the difference and now they have it plastered all over the tele. (It helps that there are 120 000 surfers in NZ)

You are correct that the locations that we have are different in nature then Penrith and this is the reason that I wonder why we HAVE to make our team decisions at one single event. I am sure that we have experienced enough judges and selectors to allow for a multiple event selection process possibly followed by a team camp prior to preworlds. But the Mangahao comp seems sound.

I guess that the major barrier to this will be funding and to get a good crew of event organisers, but I am also sure that we have enough paddlers with the right contacts to make this possible. The NZ Worlds Team could quite possibly become a non profit organisation and therefore may do well from corporate sponsorship (How much Pump did they sell at the Rugby World Cup???) if the organisation is set up correctly (Trust/Charity etc) there is also the possibility of a share of some gambling profits plus a few other avenues. (This may be more then the weekend sausage sizzle can raise)

Hell if Tao Berhmann can get Microsoft to make a kayaking computer game we should be able to get SOMETHING???

Like I have said in the past this will take a whole load of work from a very few people...Is there anyone out there with the vision of what the team could be and the drive to take it into the future??? And how do we come up with a process that keeps the majority happy and gets the best results possible. Im a starter...But could do with some help.

Remember NZ has a large percentage of the best paddlers in the world but we havent "marketed" this properly. Lets not fall behind.

Onto New Years and a brand new season....

kevin0's picture

Hi guys,

Sorry I haven't been around for a while. Have just caught up with your email discussions. At last...some valid points and healthy discussion.

Just to clarify a couple of things first:

The FJ event (Niamh Tomkins Memorial) was not a selection, neither was Tekapo. However, they were events at which you could rank yourself against your peers and decide whether the trip to Penrith was worth a shot. Donald Calder @ Sunspots has a record of results and subsequent rankings. This system will become more useful as more events are held.
I have heard from the mainland that Penrith is a cheaper option than FJ & Kaituna anyway.

It does not cost each paddler $400 to try for selections @ Penrith. This figure was the cost for all to share to have sole use of Penrith for that time frame on that day. Due to a low response from paddlers, I have cancelled this "guaranteed flow" and will instead convene a training and selection for those Kiwis who make the effort, on the 12th & 13th. I would appreciate contact from those who wish to attend.

If you have a look at the website for the event, numbers are down for these pre-worlds, particularly from Europe. They love it when we all flock up there, but they don't seem to want to return the favour. Some have said that the January timeslot, rather than the original March date, has been partially responsible for the reduced numbers.

We have started some verbal discussions for the Worlds selections. When, how, where??? Multiple events (as suggested by someone above) or a single event??? Which NZ feature has the closest characteristics to the main wave @ Penrith?

Try this for size:
A one weekend training and selection event @ Mangahaoa in April (school holidays).
Day One...training incl. video and peer feedback & support, and maybe start heats depending on numbers.
Day Two...example format Men's K1 (say 15-20)...2 heats x 3 rides with best 2 aggregate...top 5 go straight through to final...remainder have repercharge for 5 places...semifinal also best 2 of 3 down to final 5 (the NZ Team)...then 1 ride knockout final???

I need to discuss date options with John Snook. The slalom paddlers seem to think it could work around one of their calendar events.

Pros and cons as "I" see them:
South Islanders would need to come up.
Anybody not available for that date would miss out.
Only one chance/event to do well enough (even with repercharge format).
Less exposure for sponsors.

Only one event to organise.
Paddlers only committed for one weekend.
Significant cost benefits for all.
As central as it can be for north and south (could somebody please build an artificial course in Wellington or Picton...may I suggest using rubble from the Beehive).
Plenty of time for those selected to program training and travel schedules (incl. visit/s to Penrith).
More time for Team fundraising on a personal & national level.
Time for in-camp team trainings...face the facts guys and girls...the game has evolved...laid back talent will not win at this level again!
More time to increase freestyle kayaking awareness through the media.
Time for all to paddle and train at other events (selected team and reserves).
A feature better resembling Penrith.

Your feedback will be appreciated. Your offer of organisational assistance even better.

We (the sport) needs more people to run more events!!!...paddlers need them, sponsors need them, the public will see them, the media will notice them, more paddlers (NZ and overseas) will hear about them...thus more paddlers, more sponsors, more public and media etc, etc.

Wouldn't a NZ circuit be great???!!! It does not though, need to also be the selections for the next / or future World Champs.

I look forward to seeing as many as possible @ Penrith. Book now also for the 2005 Worlds...it will be the biggest paddle party in the South Pacific for some time. The more Kiwis that are seen @ Penrith, the more overseas paddlers NZ will see in years to come.

Cheers for now, hope you have all had a great Christmas, and safely enjoy your New Year celebrations.


kayneo's picture

Naa I wasnt responding to anything. I just thought that there has to be a better situation then what we just had. I understand that this year time was tight. This is not a "dig" at anyone just a chance to get a topic that I think is important out for discussion.

As for the respective Islands...There are some class paddlers from northland to Otago, but I do beleive that some really good paddlers miss out on selections due to time, travel and money constraints. How many south islanders made it to the FJ selections?? I dont see this as an easy task either. like I said this situation will make for some serious work for the minority.

As a whole we Kiwis are really disorganised compared to some other countries (Competition structure etc). We have been lucky that we have some super talented paddlers and this has made things easier for us. But over the last 3 years there has been a insurgence of new talent and we should really make use of these boys and girls. Of course there will be the standouts that we all know will be on the team should they be at selections.

I just think that $400.00 to attend selections then another load for the preworlds and then the Worlds will endup being quite an expensive comp for the average NZ paddler talented enough and capable of attending. We do not have the money associated with other sports (Sponsors etc) as most (If not all) NZ sponsors give "pro deals" and/or product sponsorship only. Therefore the only way that we will get funds via a sponsorship scheme is to push the competition structure into the open and make it a sport that get noticed by the general public. Can this be done by having a few more rodeos at different locations.

We have a activity that is one of the best spectator sports around. Its exciting to watch, easy to access and the vibe at most rodeos is one that is attractive to average joe. We just need to let people know what its all about and with the spectators come the sponsors. Not an easy job.

The media that Kayaking received last year (Newspapers) was almost all negative press, we had drownings and accidents that were all press worthy. However we did get Dawson and Taylor running McLarens into the NZ Herald and Mr Brown on 3 News and the Schorschi Shauf interview in 2001. Those situations need to taken advantage of.

The question isnt who will do it and when, more so how will we do it with what we have. This is the discussion that i am after.

enjoying.it's picture

I think you missed the point, if you were responding to me.

Anyway there is only one selection event because it was too late to do anything else and still be able to get flights over.

The worlds is a one off event. And you cant win by being medeocre lots of times. You win by paddling like a demon for one event on one feature.

What is paddlers going to their selections in their, i think you mean respective, islands going to acheive apart from more confusion and tension. The spots are for NEW ZEALAND, not North Island, South Island.

And who is this 'we'you keep refering to that needs to be more organised? Are you and a group of friends going to organise the selections for worlds???

greg.thomas's picture

If you want someone to run an event then they should be able to price it accordingly, no shame in the organiser making a tidy profit for their troubles.

Should be able to make a few grand from an event without no dramas. Chances are there would be a few people putting their hand up if you made some good coin out of it.


kayneo's picture

I dont understand why there is only one selection event in NZ??? Okay last year there was 2 but FJ and Tuna with the same competetors, this year Penrith for a one off event....The way things are going this will be the smallest contingent in many years, and the comp is almost in our back lawn!!!

We need to be more organised (As a sport) and try to run a selection process over a series of NZ events, maybe 3 in each island? This would give us a better idea on those that are more consistant in a competetive situation, as opposed to those that have a one day blinder and make the team. It would also show the dedication by each member to make every selection event in their prospective island. Gives the competetors a range of locations and river features to deal with.

Just from watching over the years. I have seen some paddlers that have been super consistant in their training heading into the selections and pulling winning rides, but when the pressure of comp comes on they lose it. (For those in Taupo remember Grant R before the selections 2001) then we have also sent folks off that almost "fluked" their spot on the day.

We need some consistancy but this will require some time and effort by a number of people. Organisation of a Rodeo is a big job and those that do it get very little back from the Kayaking fraturnity....Maybe its about time we looked at who is doing all this work and giving them some praise???

What do you all think?

enjoying.it's picture

I can see that Penrith was the best way to hold selections this time given it was left quite late and only one man put his hand up to do anything - good on ya Kev.

I have a few points I would like ALL to consider when you hopfully have constructive input into the selections for worlds.

- The date shouldnt be dictated by when ever some one will be back, sure not in the middle of the europain/US summer. But otherwise if making the team means that much to people they will make sure they come bcak in time or delay leaving NZ by just a little.

- The purpose is to select a team to probably live together at worlds for a few weeks and support each other. If individuals abuse or make life difficult for others INCLUDING ORGANISERS they shouldnt be on the team. Speacking to people in Taupo in the weekend (and organiser of only mangahoe rodeo so far) that is why there is not many freestyles anymore.

Other sports omitt people for political reasons and say this is when selections are, if you want to make team i suggest you make an effort to get there.

I know freestyle is layed back but obviously not enough to stop people getting fired up about decisions.


mikedawson's picture

Well said Kevin,
Brett if you ever tried to organise something youd find out instead of letting everone else do it the critizing them Cheers Kev
ride on,

kevin0's picture

You have no idea. If you think you have, then you can try to organise such an event to fit in with the national and international committments of the majority of NZ's serious freestyle paddlers. Please be prepared to spend a lot of your time and own money for the cause.

Given the time frames before the Pre-Worlds, and the above logistical situations, combined with trying to also cater for South Islanders, it was decided that the Penrith option was best...end of story.

If you're serious about freestyle, get to Penrith and mix with some of the worlds best white water kayakers...I'm sure you'll be a better paddler for it.


brian.spilner's picture

Right on Brent

brent1's picture

I guess thats what you get for having them in Oz to enhance the chances of the minority. I recon there woudl be way more entries if they were in NZ....maybe have one in NZ as well....