Another second place at rafting worlds for Cairns and co

Anne Cairns, left, and the New Zealand team competing at the International Raft Federation world championships in Japan.
International Raft Federation

Anne Cairns, left, and the New Zealand team competing at the International Raft Federation world championships in Japan.

Manawatu paddler Anne Cairns and the New Zealand women's rafting team finished second again at the world championships in Japan this month.

They were unable to step up from their second overall two years ago, but were happy to convincingly secure second behind a classy Japanese team on their home river.

Leading into the final event the New Zealand team were sitting third overall points, and a six-boat startline made for a lot of clashing of paddles and rafts.

New Zealand entered the first rapid in third behind Japan and Great Britain, and Great Britain took what they thought was a faster sneak left line on the next rapid, so the Kiwis made their move to pass, which paid off.

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New Zealand spent the rest of the race nose to tail with the Japanese team, trying to make passing manoeuvres when possible and waiting for them to make a mistake in the big rapids which never eventuated.

They made a last passing move right into the finish line and nearly got them, but not quite. After 42 minutes of hard racing, just over a second separated them, securing second overall for New Zealand and the Japanese first.

Unlike two years ago, New Zealand were more consistent with their results, never placing outside the top four.

They won the sprint time trial, something they haven't done in a number championships, placed fourth in the head to head sprint knockouts, third in slalom and second in the downriver.

The river was great with good grade four rapids and long flat stretches, which meant a good mix of skill and endurance was needed to do well in the downriver race.

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Cairns said the Yoshino River and Koboke Gorge area was stunning and the people really got behind the event and were welcoming and supportive of all the visiting teams.

Cairns is straight into the long distance waka ama championships in Napier this weekend. She is racing in the singles on Friday and the six man on Saturday.

"I may be a bit jaded, but I'll just make it work and enjoy a rest on Sunday," she said.

Her next big event is third world championships in a third paddle discipline for the year, the ocean surf ski world championships in Hong Kong in November. 

 - Stuff

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