New captain charges in


Rough waters on Lake Wakatipu won’t be a deterrent for the Wakatipu Waka Ama Club’s new club captain Leon Williams.

Williams, 60, is an experienced ocean paddler who’s represented New Zealand in a sport based on traditional outrigger canoes.

“I’m used to handling a singles waka in rough water.”

A builder, he shifted to Queenstown from Hamilton two-and-a-half months ago, and within two days was elevated to the club captaincy of the year-old local waka ama club.

“I’m keen to help the club - I’ve been involved in coaching over the years.”

Last month he competed in Samoa’s Alo Pao Pao regatta, winning masters men’s silvers in the 7km singles race and the six-man 26km marathon.

Paddling in 34 degree temperatures, a highlight was being surrounded by curious sea turtles. Going into the club’s second season, Williams says he’s keen to recruit new members.

Currently the club trains on Lake Hayes on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6pm, Saturdays at 7am and Sundays at 3pm.

The club bought a six-seater waka and two single-seaters a few months ago.