Losing leg no obstacle for waka ama athlete

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

Adaptive waka ama athlete Peter Cowan is proof that life doesn't end when you lose a leg. He's the youngest of 12 paddlers that have been named in the NZ Para Waka Ama Sprint Team heading to the worlds in Tahiti. 

The 22-year-old lost his leg in a road accident in 2010 and has since found a new love with waka ama. 

"I think it was perfect timing when I was recovering from my accident I had to turn away from all the rugby and touch all those really physical ones, but it just compensated well with what I could do, use my upper body and I fell in love with it pretty quick," he says.

"He's absolutely inspiring to everyone everywhere he goes we had the good fortune to have him paddle with the NZ Para Long Distance Team in Tahiti last year and he was embraced by everyone," says Honoria Ropiha, team manager.

His long-terml is to qualify to compete at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo in the VL3.

"It's the end goal in mind I try and keep for the long term in this sport just goals like this going to the worlds trying to make the national team just trying to make that standard and hold it for a while is where I'm trying to aim to be," says Cowan.

Cowan is a Hastings boy and is one of three Hawke's Bay paddlers in the 12 man team heading to Tahiti this July.