‘Heck of a road trip’ to champs

Aim . . . Matthew Randall (15) prepares to throw the ball. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

Napier Boys’ High School waded more waves than most to make it to the South Island Secondary School Canoe Polo Championships.

The championships, which are part of a national canoe polo calendar making them open to all schools, were held at the Waitaki Aquatic Centre last weekend.

Tournament organiser Justin Randall said three teams from Napier Boys’ had made the 990km journey to Oamaru to take part in the competition.

‘‘It’s a heck of a road trip,’’ Mr Randall said.

‘‘They would have taken two days to drive because you can’t fly boats in — the boats have to be driven.’’

The championships were held in Oamaru for the ninth consecutive year — despite the North Otago town having no secondary school teams.

A record 22 teams entered in this year’s event, involving both junior and senior grades, with teams from all over, including Christchurch, Invercargill and Dunstan.

Randall, of Christchurch, a self-confessed ‘‘canoe polo tragic’’, said the competition had been ‘‘awesome’’ and it was great seeing the athletes enjoying themselves in the water.

‘‘At this level, some of them are beginning to become quite good, but a lot of it really is just get into it and they’re happy and smiling.’’