The first event of 5 in the NZ extreme racing series kicked off in November with the Kaituna time-trial. Doubling as a qualifier for the WhitewaterXL boater X at Vector Wero the following weekend, the event drew a strong line up of both local and international competitors. Big international names such as 2012 Olympic silver medalist Vavra Hradilek and Vit Prindis were pitted against local speedsters Mike Dawson, the Sutton brothers and Kenny Mutton. The women also had a stacked field with current and past world champions in the mix.
With 2 runs fastest one counts, 70 paddlers lined up to take on the grueling 6 and a half minute sprint to see who would become the fastest paddler down the Tuna in 2016. With such a high caliber of paddlers in the field even making the top 32 to qualify for the following weekends’ WhitewaterXL boater X was no easy task. Hradilek’s time of 6mins 27.49secs saw him take the win just 1 second ahead of Mike Dawson in 2nd with 6:28.67 and 16yr old Zak Mutton in 3rd with 6:32.29. Jamie Sutton and Czech paddler Vit Prindis rounded out the top 5.
This was Hradliek’s 2nd Kaituna Time Trial title adding to his win in 2013, however the biggest headline from the event was the impressive result from the young Mutton. Only 16 years of age and already proving very competitive in a world class line up, indicating a bright future ahead. This also is the first time he has beaten his father and local paddling legend Kenny Mutton in the race, who was 2 time winner and defending champion coming into the race.
French paddler Nouria Newman topped an all-international podium in the women’s race with a time of 6:46.92. Just 0.60secs behind Newman was British paddler and 2016 Adidas Sickline champion Sandra Hyslop in 2nd, with Martina Wegman (Netherlands) in third with 6:59.17. First Kiwi lady home was Nikki Kelly in 4th.
Cheers to everyone for an awesome day on Sunday. 70 paddlers battled it out down the Kaituna @ a 400’s flow, the most we’ve ever seen at this event.
Full results are available from the link