The 2023 ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships and Canoe Ocean Racing Masters World Championships provides the perfect opportunity for international paddlers to travel down under to experience the best of Australian ocean racing conditions, and Aussie hospitality.
However, for Lithuanian ocean racer Kristina Meskauskaite, she has been hooked on the Australian paddling scene for quite some time, and is now encouraging her international friends to come to Perth and find out for themselves what all the hype is about.
Although Meskauskaite is a Lithuanian native, she lived in Melbourne for many years, before she moved to Perth two years ago to further pursue the sport of ocean racing.
The now 47-year-old first sat in a surfski in 2014, in Port Philip Bay, Melbourne, to assist with her Adventure Racing. She tried Ocean Racing for the first time in 2017 in Mauritius, Africa and was simultaneously ‘terrified’ and ‘hooked’ on the sport.
“I was absolutely terrified by it and got hooked on it at the same time,” Meskauskaite reflects.
“So much so, that one of my good mates from Melbourne and I decided to join Mocke Downwind Camp [in South Africa] at the end of that year in order to learn a bit more about this sport of downwind paddling!”
“[The sport] has an athlete community that is one of the most friendly, down to earth and diverse, with people from all walks of life, as well as a massive sense of camaraderie,” she said.
“This amazing community has led to lifelong friends from all around the world, with travel to so many places I would otherwise have never visited. In fact, I doubt I would have moved to Perth without this sport.”
Two years after picking up the sport, Meskauskaite placed third in the Surf Ski Women Masters 2 event at the 2019 ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships in St Pierre Quiberon, France.
She says the opportunity to return to the World Championships startline, right on her doorstep, is an experience she can’t pass up.
“It is going to be fantastic to see a large field of international paddlers descending on Perth for what is going to be a huge two-week festival of paddling!” she said
“It has been 4 long years since I first and last competed at this level whilst wearing the Lithuanian colours and with the discipline of Ocean Racing still being foreign to many paddlers within the Lithuanian federation it makes lining up at the start line more exciting (and more daunting) for me personally.
“I’m also very much looking forward to catching up with my many paddling friends, several of whom I haven’t seen in over four years.
“I can’t wait to show them around Perth and WA, both on and off the water!”
Entries are now open for the 2023 ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships and 2023 ICF Canoe Ocean Racing Masters World Championships.
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