Two good friends become rivals on the water at Waka Ama Nationals


Day four at the Waka Ama Nationals at Karāpiro is all about W1 races. All age groups from Intermediate through to 70+ are on the water with 102 races to complete.

They're good friends off the water but rivals on the water.

Tupu King says, “He's a top competitor. He always has been but this year I'm expecting him to come back even stronger than last year.”

Brad Anderson says, “He's unreal, and the things he's doing in our sport, it hasn't been done from anyone in our country. He’s so young but someone I definitely look up to."

King is the pinnacle of Waka Ama in New Zealand for W1, winning last year's Nationals and coming third at the Worlds in Brazil in August. He says he's well prepared for this week.

“I've raised the intensity and shortened the distance so I’m hoping for better results than last year," says King.

Anderson has had a long history at the Nationals. He won the W1 open race in 2013 but was pipped by Tupu last year.

“You go out there to win and if you fall short by one or two places or three placings it's not where you want to be. It's always in the back of your mind and hopefully go one better this year," says Anderson.

While Tupu is the favourite, Anderson isn't going to just give the gold to him.

He says, “If this old fella can put a bit of pressure on him and the other young boys coming through I think I'm doing my part."

Anderson and King roomed together at the Worlds in Brazil, an experience they both fondly recall.

Anderson says, “We had some good banter and some good laughs over in Brazil and I think we'll keep those ones close to our chests I think.”

“All in all it's about having fun. So no matter what, we’re always good friends. But great competition on the water,” says King.

While their respect for each other is clear, only one will wear the gold medal.

You can watch their final race here: