Former New Zealand singles champion and world champion Brad Anderson of Ngāpuhi says this will be his last year at the Waka Ama nationals as a paddler. He announced his future plans as he trains for the Waka Ama nationals in 11 days time.
The Manukau paddler has been in the sport for nearly two decades but will hang up his paddle after this year's worlds in Australia.
Anderson has completed one of the last waka ama training sessions he will ever do.
He has been paddling for 17 years, and will complete his last competitive paddle with his first club, with Manukau Outrigger Canoe Club in Auckland.
From its humble beginnings to now, the nationals have changed.
“It’s unbelievable what we have now at the nationals, it’s the best run event in the world by far. I remember my first nationals, we didn’t even get back to shake hands that’s how slow we were, it was pretty bad but it’s all good, we shook our own hands and we walked off, it was sweet,” laughs Anderson.
Brad had a successful career in the sport and has travelled the world. He competed at the Tahiti Worlds in 2002, Hawai'i in 2004, New Zealand in 2006 and Sacramento in 2008.
He didn't paddle at the 2010 World Championships in New Caledonia, however, he came back stronger with his team in Canada in 2012, where they won the Open Men's gold in the 500m race, but that isn't his favourite memory.
“My proudest moment was seeing my old man win his first gold medal that was a pretty special moment,” admits Anderson.
Anderson and his team Vaka Manu will defend their Open Men's title for the fourth time at this year’s nationals. If they win they will be equal with Pineula on four consecutive wins. But will he stay to win their fifth title?
Anderson will compete at his last World Championships in Australia this May.