Teenage kayakers to compete overseas

Central Otago kayaking hotshots Nick Collier and Lotte Rayner prepare to hit the water for...
Central Otago kayaking hotshots Nick Collier and Lotte Rayner prepare to hit the water for practice. PHOTO: ADAM BURNS
Two kayaking sensations are soon to journey from Central Otago to the world stage.

Alexandra teens Nick Collier and Lotte Rayner have been paddling and shredding their way to the top of their sport.

Now, the Dunstan High pupils are embarking on separate expeditions abroad where they will both fly the flag for New Zealand over the next few weeks.

Lotte (17) leaves for Poland today to represent New Zealand in the ICF Junior Canoe Slalom World Championships in Krakow.

In 2017, she was part of a national team, which included her father Gordon and brothers Max and Otis, who competed at ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships in Argentina.

Lotte finished in seventh place, having narrowly missed out on a top four spot at the semi final stage.

"I missed the last gate. I was still pretty stoked."

It makes another case for the Central Otago community where the region sits "right at the top" of kayaking in New Zealand, says Central Otago Whitewater committee member, and Lotte's mum, Mary Tritt.

Nick (15) leaves for the Keeners training camp in Ottawa, Canada next month where he will join other teens from around the world, being coached by some of the best freestyle kayakers in the business.

Although the camp will be freestyle focused, Nick is a member of the New Zealand development squad in the slalom.

He says the camp will allow him to prove his "general boating skills" on the water.

"It's pretty cool.

With freestyle you have to be keen to take those risks on the water."

He was handpicked as a Jackson Kayak "little shredder", a designation for international under-16 paddlers who demonstrate "big promise".

Nick also took a hair-raising plunge in his kayak over Huka Falls with a group of friends in April, an experience he described as "sensational".

Having attended the Keeners camp herself as a little shredder, Lotte encouraged Nick to connect with as many people as possible.

"It's like a fun summer camp," she said.

Lotte is looking at the 2021 ICF Slalom World Championships in Auckland as a future milestone.

Nick is aiming to follow a similar pathway to Lotte's so he can also compete for New Zealand at a world championship event.

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