Student in ocean class

May 31, 2017

Paddler Matt Walsh. Photo by Luke Hemer.

‘‘We did 22 kilometres there and out of around 35 V6 teams we got seventh, which is pretty good because we were competing against a lot of the elite teams that are also going over to Tahiti.’’

The world championships would bring teams from across the globe, particularly from countries in the Pacific where outrigger paddling is quite a big deal.

‘‘In Tahiti it is huge; it’s outrageous how big it is over there,’’ Walsh said.

‘‘It’s that big over there that major companies make their own teams and make them race. So it’s really different over there and New Zealand is the same.’’

Training regularly on the Murray River, Walsh said ocean racing does mean adjusting racing technique.

‘‘Here it’s about trying to go for long, strong strokes but in Tahiti they’ll expect a quicker rate of stroke to get us to go quicker,’’ he said.

‘‘That’s how the guys over there all paddle and get their canoes to work.

‘‘Another big difference is adjusting my speed to get on waves because I’m not used to it down here. I’ve done ocean racing a few times so it should be good.’’

And after his tilt at the world titles, Walsh said he will keep training and see where paddling can take him.

‘‘I’m hoping to keep going with it; since I’ve paddled with a lot of the Queensland teams they’ve given me opportunities to race in New Zealand next year and other things like that,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ll keep at it and hopefully get somewhere with it.’’

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