Paddle Pathways | C1 specialist Tristan Carter building to London 2023

Melbourne-born athlete Tristan Carter fell into the sport of Canoe Slalom by following in the footsteps of his big sister, Chelsea. A self-proclaimed ‘restless’ kid, Carter was always giving new sports a try, but in his early teen years, something clicked with Slalom, and he never looked back.

“I was 14 or 15 and had a home nationals on Eildon, which is my home river in Victoria, and I did quite well at this event,” Carter reflects.

“I got some points for the Junior Team that year. I didn’t make it that year but it was a bit of a wake up call. It was like ‘well, if I stick at this and take it a bit seriously, then I might be able to go some places’.”

The now 25-year-old competed at his first Junior and U23 Canoe Slalom World Championships as a 16-year-old, when they were held in Penrith in 2014. He traveled overseas for the 2015 Junior and U23 World Championships in Brazil, before making his senior World Cup debut later that year at World Cup 3 in Liptovsky, Slovakia.

Carter became a regular on the senior national team in 2017, competing at all five World Cup events and making his senior World Championships debut.

The Victorian Institute of Sport athlete, who has become a C1 specialist, recorded his best World Cup result this year, when he narrowly missed out on his first podium, placing fourth in the MC1 at the Ljubljana-Tacen World Cup in Slovenia in June.

Heading into the 2023 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in London next week, Carter is hoping to qualify Australia an Olympic quota spot in the C1. While he says the pinnacle of his career is still to come, he is most proud of the progression and learning he’s experienced as an elite athlete over the last decade.

“I’m proud to say that I’ve represented Australia on nine or 10 occasions now… so it’s been a good journey, it’s been plentiful of experience and it’s really just constant learning,” he said. “Every opportunity has been a learning one for me, nothing is ever the same and I take solace in the fact I am constantly developing and constantly growing.

“I’m more happy at the moment with the progression and maturity and learning that I’ve physically noticed in myself, which makes me proud as an athlete.”

Heading into this important international season, Carter said a season of consistency was his major goal, but the London World Championships was his greatest focus.

“I would like to show myself and to show people that I can build off consistency. Last year I had a good year, but I know in myself that I could have done better, but we always do, don’t we?

“So I want to take everything I’ve learnt over the last year and show what I can do, the consistency I feel I’m at and how comfortable I am.

“London is the only course I am least familiar with, I’ve only been there once and I did a world ranking race there, so I haven’t done a major event there, but London is the one I am most excited for.

“The course, the city and the atmosphere around London as a whole, there’s something a bit different about London and I really like it.”

Carter is one of nine Australian athletes competing at the 2023 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships at the Lee Valley Whitewater Centre in London from 19 – 24 September.

The World Championships will be streamed on the Planet Canoe recast channel HERE.

Find out more about the event HERE

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