Timmins reminded of his rugby days

Triple Threat paddlers (clockwise from front left) Rochelle Cooper, Brendon Timmins, Ray Cooper,...
Triple Threat paddlers (clockwise from front left) Rochelle Cooper, Brendon Timmins, Ray Cooper, Phil Shaw and Karen McDonald preparing for waka ama at the Masters Games. Absent is Janelle Timmins. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
When it comes to the Masters Games, Brendon Timmins is a triple threat.

The former Highlander dabbled in basketball at the games a while back, but more recently has poured all his energy in to waka ama, making its long awaited return to the games today.

Timmins, who is also on the board of the Masters Games, is in for a busy day.

He will host the waka ama event in Macandrew Bay, as president of the Fire in Ice Outrigger Canoe Club, and be gunning for a medal himself.

He will jump in the boat alongside his wife, Janelle, and other couples, Ray and Rochelle Cooper, and Karen McDonald and Phil Shaw, for some fun and fierce competition.

The team, named Triple Threat, were all "reasonably" competitive people and were looking forward to racing together for the first time in two years.

"We’re going to give it a go and hopefully be in and amongst the medals," Timmins said.

"We’re really excited by the opportunity, individually to race, but also as a club to be hosting it back in the Masters Games after quite a long hiatus."

Paddlers from Taranaki, Motueka, Southland and Fire in Ice, are lining up for the 300m sprints and a 12km long race — half the time of traditional long-distance waka ama race — in a 4km loop in close around Macandrew Bay and Company Bay.

Waka ama, one of the fastest growing sports in New Zealand, attracted a whanau-first mentality, one of the key traits that drew Timmins to the sport three years ago.

It reminded him of his rugby days. He played 42 games for the Highlanders and 74 for Otago, working alongside like-minded individuals who wanted the best for each other and the same outcome.

"Waka ama mentality is a really supportive caring space.

"You might be going hammer and tongs against each other during the race, but the moment that race finishes, you’re best mates."

After two knee reconstructions — "I’m a bit broken these days from my days gone past from rugby" — waka ama allowed him to still be active and compete.

"There’s that competitive juice that still flows in me.

"When you have the wakas lining up, waiting for the green flag to come down, the heart’s going again and it reminds me of, you know, prior to that first whistle.

"And then obviously that competitiveness to be as good as you can be."

The Masters Games also fed all three key aspects in Timmins’ life.

"Doing it with your mates — that’s a big thing for me these days.

"Days are long gone since I was a competitive, professional athlete, but it’s that camaraderie ... that’s what I really enjoy.

"Looking forward to being in amongst the hub as well and rubbing shoulders with the other competitors across the other sports.

"I’m excited for the move back to the university union and what that brings with it as well."

Waka ama starts at the Macandrew Bay yacht club at 8am.