TUPU’S JOURNEY ON THE WATER
“Paddling isn’t just about who is the fittest or the strongest but who is racing the smartest, who is the most aware of their competitors and the environment around them. Having trained with some of the top paddlers in the world, it’s becoming more apparent that skill isn’t just about fitness alone. That’s the evolution of paddling.” – Tupu King.
Each year waka ama (the Māori term for outrigger canoeing) grows in popularity with people of all ages and ethnicities becoming paddlers and avid spectators.Tupu King aims to give paddlers the fundamental tools and knowledge for a fulfilling waka ama experience. Whether training is for novice or expert level, there is always something new to learn and there are always new experiences to master.
Although the physical challenges and competitive nature of outrigger canoeing keep him motivated, it’s the underlying social and cultural significance of the sport that makes it fun and meaningful for Tupu King. Introduced to waka ama by his father at the young age of 7, the champion paddler considers paddling not just a sport, but a lifestyle. With his whānau actively involved in waka ama for many years, King too has amassed over 18 years of experience in paddling.
Labelled a ‘wonder kid’ and ‘King of the water’, King has competed professionally since 2012, both nationally and internationally. As one of the top world paddlers of waka ama, King has travelled extensively to compete. Tahiti, Hawai’i, Rarotonga, California, Bora Bora, New Caledonia, Australia and Brazil are amongst some of the locations the Aotearoa-based King has journeyed to.
As a trainer, King has found competing to be beneficial. For a number of years, he has competed in Tahiti where he has paddled for one of Tahiti’s most popular teams Paddling Connection. Through this experience and picking up new skills wherever possible, King has accumulated a wealth of invaluable expertise which he has applied to his training. This methodology is ongoing and sees King’s knowledge continue to grow with every race.