17-year-old paddler sets new national waka ama record

By Kereama Wright

Kacey Ngataki is a name that will go down in waka ama history.

On day four of the Waka Ama Sprint Nationals, the 17 year old Manukau Outrigger Canoe paddler created a new national W1 record having paddled 500 m in 2:06.40. 

To put it into perspective, Ngataki's was the fastest recorded time of any W1 category this year including the winners of the premier and U23 men's finals.

New Zealand born Tahitian, Manutea Millon took out the premier mens final for the second consecutive year with a time of 2.07:68, one second slower than Ngataki. 

It was fourteen seconds faster that last years J19 winner, Darius Nepe Apatu, who finished in two minutes twenty seconds. 

While it doesn't officially qualify as breaking the world record, Ngataki also beat the world J19 men's record by of 2:06.81.

Ngataki who won silver last year was himself surprised by the achievement. 

"I don't really know what to say to that. I've been training my hardest this year.

"My biggest driving force was, over the last couple of years I've lost almost every nationals, I've never won a gold medal, it's my first gold medal and over the last couple of months I've just been working so hard to achieve that gold medal. First ever win."

This years premier silver medalist, Tupuria King, winner of the premier men's division from 2014 to 2018 congratulated Ngataki. 

"That's a pretty impressive time. Congratulations Kacey Ngataki. This is a beautiful year, pretty rare conditions that we've had a wind that's behind us, so got to make the most of it. I'd say these records will stay for another few years." 

Ngataki lead a Manukau onslaught, with team mates, Jezius Peyroux and Jake Suitauloa coming in closely behind to snatch silver and bronze medals. 

The three will also be top contenders for Aotearoa at the IVF Va'a World Sprint Championships to be held in Hawaii in August this year. 

Other W1 results: 

Premier Men: 

1. Manutea Millon - 2:07.68

2. Tupu King - 2:08.76

3. Ash Roozendaal - 2:10.58 

Premier Women: 

1. Akaysia Williams - 2:21.73

2. Cory Campbell - 2:23.10

3. Kiwi Campbell - 2:23.76

Master Men: 

1. Turi Hodges - 2:09.93

2. Jordan Edmonds - 2:12.27

3. Grant Donaldson - 2:12.65

Master Women: 

1. Nicky Kingi - 2:24.36

2. Tui Mccaul - 2:25.73  

3. Ngaire Pehi - 2:26.19