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Hayden Gunn wins Trans-Tasman Water Skiing title

Year 13 student Hayden Gunn, a competitive water ski racer, was recently selected as part of the New Zealand Water Ski team to compete in the annual Trans-Tasman Ski Challenge between New Zealand and Australia held on Lake Charm, Victoria.   This is a fantastic opportunity for our skiers to test their skills against some very tough opposition.

New Zealand and Australian ski racing teams have been battling annually for a number of years with points awarded for individual races, and team points combined to find the overall champions. The challenge is held alternatively in New Zealand then in Victoria, Australia.  Team Victoria were the overall winners for 2015 by only 499 points. This was a great New Zealand team effort.

Hayden was selected to compete as the NZ Under 19 male skier, up against a skier who was recently the Australian Men’s Open Reserve skier in the recent World Championships held here in Wellington in April. This was going to be a huge task, but Hayden had prepared well for the event. Training for such an event requires a huge commitment from each competitor with a great deal of time spent both off and on the water to develop and maintain a high level of fitness, balance, strength, skill and speed training and mental strength.

Hayden’s father Vaughan Gunn travelled to Australia as Hayden’s observer for both races, with the Australian Water Ski Association providing boats and drivers for the competitors.  In Race 1 Hayden got a great start and led early, maintaining the lead for the entire 35 minutes skiing at a fast, consistent speed of 84 mph.  Day 2 was a different boat with a different driver but again Hayden started the race fast and maintained the lead for the 35 minutes receiving the chequered flag in both races and a maximum score of 1000 points for each race.  Hayden was subsequently crowned the Under 19 Trans-Tasman Champion.

This is a huge achievement for Hayden. It is the ‘off-season’ for skiers here in New Zealand with the racing season starting again in August and going through to April. Hayden continues with training right through the winter months though, and can often be found out on Lake Karapiro most weekends (weather permitting).  Hayden’s next big challenge will be the Hamilton Bridge to Bridge held in Hamilton late November and planning and training will begin towards competing at the next World Championships held in Seattle in July 2017.

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