New Zealand Tour Incentive For Canoe Slalom Development Squad To Train Even Harder

Paddle Australia’s 2019 Canoe Slalom National Development Squad returned to Australia last week, after a successful couple of weeks training and racing on New Zealand’s North Island.

The Squad arrived in Auckland on the 10th of April with paddlers from four different states and first trained on Auckland’s Wero Whitewater Stadium before travelling south to Kawerau, near Rotorua to contest the New Zealand Secondary School Championships and New Zealand Nationals.

The Squad also had the opportunity to visit some of the local rivers and sites whilst in Kawerau before returning to Auckland to train once more at Wero before flying home just before Easter.

Squad member and 2019 Canoe Slalom Junior Team paddler Sophie Wilson (NSW) was one of the stand-out athletes on the tour winning all her U16 age-group events in both the women’s K1 and C1 and enjoying the opportunity of testing new waters.

“We trained hard in New Zealand to get used to the water. It’s been a good experience to get used to new water and new courses while being with great competitors and great friends,” Sophie Wilson said about the tour.

Team mate Abby Collins agreed, “It was a great tour. We had a pretty short time frame and we made the most of the water time we were getting. And off-water, working as a team was important too. We did a lot of training and racing but also for example went creek boating down a water fall which was amazing. The whole tour was definitely an incentive to go home and start training even harder.”

Sebastian Montalto (VIC) who has been paddling since nine years, was also thankful for the opportunity to try new waters. “I was really happy to get on to new freshwater that’s completely different.”

With the squad back in Australia, focus for the national team paddlers now turns to preparation for the ICF Canoe Slalom Junior & U23 World Championships to be held in Krakow, Poland in July.

In preparation for the World Championships, the team will also do the ECA race in Augsburg, Germany at the end of June (29/30 June).

In addition to the national team paddlers, NDS members Keanu Crunkhorn, Sebastian Montalto and Ryan Huges will also travel to Europe for training and race experience at the ECA Cups in Augsburg, Solkan and Bratislava.

Ryan Hughes is also a member of the Australian Wildwater Junior team and will be competing at the Junior & U23 Wildwater World Championships in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina from 23 – 28 July.

See the 2019 Canoe Slalom Junior and U23 National Team paddlers HERE.

Canoe Slalom Development Squad in New Zealand:

Josh Montalto VIC

Abby Collins VIC

Claire Hodgman TAS

George Lazenby TAS

Declan Ellis NSW

Kate Moorhen VIC

Sophie Wilson VIC

Georgie O’Callaghan VIC

Ben Ross VIC

Jayden Hart WA

Ben Little VIC

George Pankhurst WA

Hugh Clements TAS

Hamish Dalziel TAS

Sebastian Montalto VIC

Keanu Crunkhorn VIC


Mike Druce

Emir Mujcinovic

Christian Fabris

Team Leader:

Jill Bassett

Rebecca Lazenby


2019 New Zealand Canoe Slalom Nationals



3rd Sophie Wilson, Abby Collins, Claire Hodgman


1st Ben Ross, Declan Ellis, George Pankhurst

3rd Sophie Wilson, Kate Moorhen, Georgie O’Callaghan


1st Josh Montalto, Seb Montalto, George Lazenby

K1M U16

1st Ben Little, Hamish Dalziel, Hugh Clements

2nd Keanu Crunkhorn, Jayden Hart, Ben Ross

Individual Classes


1st Sophie Wilson

2nd Georgie O’Callaghan


1st Sophie Wilson

2nd Georgie O’Callaghan


3rd Josh Montalto


1st Hamish Dalziel

2nd Seb Montalto


1st Ben Ross

Not NDS 


2nd Lachlan Bassett

A Finals


2nd Lachlan Bassett (Not NDS)

10th Ben Ross


8th Sophie Wilson


4th Sophie Wilson

5th Georgie O’Callaghan


6th Hamish Dalziel

9th Sebastian Montalto

10th Josh Montalto


Results 2019 New Zealand Canoe Slalom Secondary School Championships

Senior C1M

Fastest time 87.81

George Lazenby 7/15114.31

Senior C1W

Fastest time 124.34

Claire Hodgman 3/9148.58

Inter K1M

Fastest time 79.99

Sebastian Montalto 2/3285.35

Hamish Dalziel 3/3288.03

Jayden Hart 5/3289.77

Hugh Clements 10/3297.46

George Pankhurst 11/3298.06

Ben Ross 12/3298.89

Declan Ellis 14/32103.12

Keanu Crunkhorn 21/32122.06

Ben Little DNS

Inter K1W

Sophie Wilson 1/16100.70

Georgie O’Callaghan 4/32111.80

Kate Moorhen 5/16122.16

Day 2

Senior K1W

Fastest time 98.11

Claire Hodgman 4/9105.52

Abby Collins 5/9118.99

Inter C1M

Ben Ross 1/2596.58

George Pankhurst 3/25101.08

Declan Ellis 4/25101.74

Hugh Clements 9/25111.24

Ben Little 10/25  113.44

Hamish Dalziel 17/25   157.25

Inter C1W

Sophie Wilson 1/11107.22

Georgie O’Callaghan  2/11117.78

Kate Moorhen 4/11123.00

Senior K1M

Josh Montalto 2/1784.31

George Lazenby 8/1794.39

Team results – New Zealand Secondary School Championships 2019

Inter K1M team

2nd Jayden Hart, Hugh Clements, Hamish Dalziel

3rd Keanu Crunkhorn, Ben Little, George Pankhurst

Senior C1W team

1st Sophie Wilson, Kate Moorhen, Georgie O’Callaghan

Senior K1W team

2nd Abby Collins, Sophie Wilson, Claire Hodgman

Senior K1M team

1st Josh Montalto, Seb Montalto, George Lazenby

Inter C1M team

1st Declan Ellis, Ben Ross, George Pankhurst

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