North Shore Canoe Club has another year to be proud of. The 2023 NZCT New Zealand & Oceania Canoe Sprint Championships saw an incredible performance from the NSCC athletes, with the club again taking out the top spot. A fantastic haul of 61 medals, including 19 golds across all racing divisions. Fantastic results from our youth, Open and Masters paddlers. Seeing the club continue to grow and excel in the sport at the highest level in NZ is something that you all can be proud of. The emerging talent at the club indicates a bright future to look forward to.
While we have the inspiring performances of our top athletes it is also incredibly heartening seeing our novice paddlers and new club members attempt something new with the Try Learn Explore programme. A huge pat on the back for the coaching and committee teams who have worked hard to cater for these sell-out programmes.
To help our club support this growth, this year we applied to the Auckland Council Sport & Recreation Fund for a cornerstone grant to allow us to commence the building upgrade. This $1.2m project extends the building at both levels over the space where the container currently sits. It remodels the bathroom and changing room spaces, gender balancing them, and also provides an accessible (externally accessible) toilet. It provides more space for additional kayak racks and exercise space upstairs. Importantly, it also addresses the significant maintenance deficit of the building in general, including the roofing and joinery as well as removing asbestos cladding before it becomes a hazard. While we are not guaranteed to be successful in this round (there is $13m available, but it is hotly contested), it puts us in good stead for the next round which opens in October.
It is great to see the need for one aspect of this work: the rebalancing of the bathroom sizes. The smaller women’s area is a legacy of a time gone by, when female paddlers were a distinct minority at the club. Today, female paddlers make up 49% of our club’s young adults and youth members - I’m sure in no small part due to the hubris of NZ’s most successful Olympian, Lisa Carrington, but also simply due to society moving forward in the right direction.
This year also saw a near-complete return to normality in a post-Covid world. While we were out of lockdowns for the 2022 Nationals, most people’s training was severely affected and there was still an air of uncertainty hanging over things. This time we had a clear run at it, and the results speak for themselves.
I can’t finish a report without again acknowledging the hard work of not only the paddlers who make up the club and create the positive, supportive and inclusive club culture, but also the coaching staff, in particular Gavin Elmiger. Gav’s perpetual positive attitude rubs off on all those around him, permeating a culture of success founded on a balance of hard work, self-belief and respect for one’s own well-being.
Thank you also to the NSCC Committee Members for another year of contributions towards the club - it goes without saying that the wheels wouldn’t turn without you.
James D’Anvers- President NSCC