All King and Queen of the Harbour Paddlers Deserved a Crown
By Radix Team 1/06/2017 11:30 am
2017 King and Queen of the Harbour

2017’s King and Queen of the Harbour (KQH) was eventful and challenging, but not necessarily in the way organiser, Garth Spencer, expected. “I’ve organised 15 events across the past four years and none have been so challenging as the KQH. High winds, transportation let-downs and logistical impediments meant it gave me a few headaches. But despite this, it was the biggest field we have had for the event - We had 187 entrants – a magnificent turn out.”

Taking place at the same time was the World Masters Games, bringing 30,000 athletes to Auckland, (around 1700 of those athletes were paddlers). This meant that more athletes were attracted to the KQH event.

“Of our entrants, around 33% were from East and Central Auckland, 30% from the North Shore, 19% were international visitors and the rest came from other areas in New Zealand. I think having a mix of long and short courses also helped to attract the greater numbers. The Waterman Store Prone event brought us into a new space with the event. I am keen to expand on this format in the future.”

Sam Clark wins the C2C

Aligning with the World Masters Games had benefits, but it also brought some obstacles for Spencer. Due to many events in multiple locations, it rendered preferred competition routes for KQH out of bounds – start and finish points were compromised.

“We ran into difficulty and our permit to race the new race route was only granted by the council on race day morning – I was pretty anxious in the lead up to the event.”

Spencer reflected on the moment when he knew the event had been a success:

“Amidst a deluge of heavy rain, in poor conditions, I turned around at one point to see everyone huddled and steaming, chatting under the Giltrap Volkswagen tent, while the Giltrap crew served up hot meals. There were big smiles on all the faces I could see. You want all the hard work to have been worth it.”

Spencer admits, the event wouldn’t have been the success it was, without sponsors.

“We were stoked to have Radix Nutrition on board, mainly because the company aligns with the health-and-wellness focus of our paddling community. We are outdoorsy, adventure lovers – looking for ways to make small, incremental gains with our paddling. Radix products are one way this can be achieved. Personally, through using Radix meals on family adventures, I have realised what is important. Good nutrition is imperative and I don’t want to make compromises – Radix high-quality meals are everything I’ve been looking for. It was great for the community to learn what Radix can do for them at KQH. There was a buzz about the products.”

Radix co-founder, Mike Rudling took part in the 12km race.

“In his first ever competition, Mike did great and came second. That’s the inspiring stuff that sends out the right message. Anyone can enjoy this sport, regardless how experienced they are.”

“There were many special moments, but my highlights included; father and son, Charles and Eli Nepia winning the two-person Waka-Ama category; local Auckland engineer, Andy Mowlem coming second overall – that guy was hot on the heels of eventual winner, Australian, 2014 World Champion Cory Hill; and North Shore’s Rachel Louise Clarke taking the Queen of the Harbour title for the fifth time!”

“I’m already planning next year’s KQH, we are focusing on expanding the social aspect while simplifying logistics – a chance for athletes and supporters to celebrate the sport and its community. I want to build on the high participant numbers by growing interest in the event and its various race categories – such as the prone-board race, born from a surf-lifesaving culture. It’s all about developing interest and facilitating participation from as many people as possible.”

Radix were thrilled to support the 2017 King and Queen of the Harbour and thank Garth Spencer for inviting them to be part of such as exciting, growing event for Auckland.

For a full race report, check out the results page at: