CPIT student enters international kayaking scene

CPIT student enters international kayaking scene

 Christchurch kayaker and CPIT student Rebecca Bailey is making her debut onto the international scene at the World Flatwater Kayaking Championships in Hungary, this month.

The CPIT Sustainability and Outdoor Education student will travel to the home of canoeing and kayaking, the Hungarian city of Gyor for the three-day event from September 11 to 13. This is part of the International Canoe Federation ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships.


Paddle me a river: Christchurch kayaker and CPIT student Rebecca Bailey heads out for training on the Avon River, where she is preparing for the World Flatwater Kayaking Championships in Hungary, this month.

The 19 year-old Christchurch woman is normally a kayak sprinter. However, Bailey has also proven her endurance ability by being offered a spot on the New Zealand national squad to compete in the gruelling, crowd-pulling 22 kilometre marathon event. She is one of a few world-class South Island paddlers, most of them based in the North Island.

"This will be my first time to marathons. I got second at nationals, and two bronzes at sprint nationals in K2, which is a two person kayak. That was the first time I'd ever gone to sprint nationals, so this is something a bit different."  

She said her selection onto the national team had given her a boost, with her idol Olympic gold medallist in kayak sprints Lisa Carrington continuing to be an inspiration.

"She's just amazing and one of the reasons I started kayaking. She's inspired me to do this, both of us coming from a surf background as well."

Her goal is to get home in under two hours and to make the New Zealand team again in either sprints or marathons. It's a tough sport that kiwis excel in.

"Your body feels wrecked at the end, and you're wrecked emotionally as well. You find it hard even paddling to the bank and then you've got to warm down. It feels good though, because you finish, and all the training feels worth it."

She trains on Christchurch's Avon River, which combines her passion for the aquatic environment that she studies as part of her degree course at CPIT, with her love of kayaking. Dodging territorial swans and rowers, is part of the fun and real-world challenge of negotiating the river's picturesque length.

"Those black swans can get pretty mean, and so can the rowers," Bailey jokes, in the spirit of the friendly but competitive rivalry that exists between the different water fowl and human paddlers that jostle for passing-room on the Avon.



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