Since 2010, Courtney Kerin (25) has competed in every single kayaking world cup and world championship. She lives the endless summer dream, travelling the world to train, compete and teach kayaking. Rebecca Ryan finds out more about the former St Kevin’s College pupil.
Q So, instead of returning to St Kevin’s College for year 13, you went overseas to kayak. How did that opportunity come up and why did you decided to do it?
In my last year, I made the New Zealand team and went to the world cup in Germany, where I placed second and met all the top athletes, who opened my eyes to greater opportunities and helped me out.
Q Where do you go and what sort of events do you compete in these days?
I travel to the US every year and compete in the pro circuit in freestyle and creek racing, as well as some SUP [stand up paddleboarding] events. I also go to the world cups and world championships every year – the location changes around the world. I have repeated this every year, as well as travelling to Canada to teach kayaking and many other countries like Uganda to train and explore.
Q How did you get into kayaking?
My St Kevin’s College science teacher, Aidan Haig, introduced me to kayaking. I was hooked instantly and he was a huge encouragement and inspiration for me to get better. Thanks Aidan, you are a legend!
Q Where did you learn and train in Oamaru?
I trained at the Oamaru and St Kevin’s College pools, as well as the Kakanui beach. My first river was the Ahuriri, inland from Oamaru. Once I got better I started travelling and pushing my skills and limits higher.
Q What do you love about it?
I love the feeling you get from kayaking – the freedom, endorphins and feeling that nothing else matters. The community is amazing. We always have each other’s best interests at heart and live in each other’s hands sometimes. When I’m on the water I feel amazing and I get to explore the world from a beautiful angle going places most people will never even see.
Q What are some of the highlights of the past nine years kayaking?
I’ve won three medals on the world stage – two bronze and a silver. I was also selected as one of only six athletes in the world to represent freestyle kayaking at the 2012 London Olympics.
Q And you came back to NZ for summer this year? What did you get up to?
I come back to work every summer to fund my adventures and competitions. I’ve spent the last few years working as a tour guide. This summer was the best yet. I ticked off lots of NZ bucket list adventures like mountaineering, rock climbing, mountain biking and hiking..