Cairns intends to be back in black

If Anne Cairns gets to the world waka ama outrigger canoeing championships in Brazil next year, it will be the fourth water sport in which she has represented New Zealand.

The Palmerston North firefighter has also worn black in wildwater canoeing, flatwater kayaking and whitewater rafting.

She is planning to go hard out in singles sprint waka racing next year, with the ultimate goal of making the New Zealand waka ama team for Brazil.

"It'll be very similar to training for flatwater, as it's a 500m distance race - same training programmes but just a different craft," said Cairns.

She has retired from the Olympic sport of flatwater racing, so waka ama is her focus now.

Cairns has been racing for Hawke's Bay-based Haeata OceanSports, whose open women's team are three-time national long-distance champions and two-time Takapuna Beach Cup champions.

They raced at the nationals at Lake Karapiro last weekend for a second, a third and a win in the W12 500m, beating the world champion Horouta team from Gisborne.

"We were unsure how our teams would go at the sprint distances, and aimed to make finals," Cairns said. "So were really happy to have medalled in all of our races."

The other paddlers are from Napier, Auckland and Rotorua, and include Kelly Wood and Olympic slalom paddler Luuka Jones. All three will represent New Zealand at the World Rafting Championships in November.

Next month, Cairns' team will chase their third successive win in the 42km Takapuna Cup race around Rangitoto Island, against teams from Hawaii, Australia and Tahiti.

In April, they will try for a fourth national long-distance title in Auckland.

The World Rafting Championships are being held on Rotorua rivers, and the New Zealand crew want to improve on their third placing in Costa Rica in 2011.

Manawatu Standard