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Ella 9th in Oceania event

Friday 26 February 2010 | Published in Regional

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Accomplished Cook Islands slalom kayaker Ella Nicholas qualified ninth fastest in the final of the women’s C1 slalom event at the Oceania Canoe-Kayak Open in Sydney this week.

The C1 canoe slalom is a new discipline of canoeing for Nicholas who had just four weeks of training prior to the competition.

Clocking a time of 198.9, Nicholas said she had enjoyed the run.

“I think I got all the gates, it wasn’t amazing. I did a bit of switching hands but it was good fun,” Nicholas said following her race.

The C1 canoe slalom is a new International Canoeing Federation class which will also be raced at the World Championships later this year.

“Being here is just good experience for me. I have only been training for four weeks so I am not expecting to be amazing straight away.”

Nicholas is the only member of the Cook Islands slalom canoe/kayak team but hopes more people will take up the sport.

“I know there’s heaps of people from the Cook Islands in New Zealand and it’d be cool to get some more people into it,” she said.

It is the start of her second season competing in the open competition having accomplished much success through the junior grades.

“I think it’s a pretty tough course for some of us girls out there who are just starting,” she said.

Nicholas also competed in her normal K1 slalom discipline but was disappointed with her placing of 33 from a field of 200 paddlers from 20 countries.

Nicholas will return to Dunedin, New Zealand, to continue her medicine degree and training for the World Championships in Slovenia in December. –Matariki Wilson

Note: The K1 slalom event is very similar to the C1 event in that there is only one paddler in the boat. The difference, of course, is that in the K1 event the boat is a kayak and the C1 event is for canoes. Since the slalom event is paddled on whitewater course, both canoes and kayaks use spray skirts. The difference in distinguishing between a canoe and a kayak is the type of paddle used. A double-bladed paddle means that the boat is a kayak. Single-bladed paddles, as in the photo of Ella, are used to propel canoes.