Kayaking champion and CurraNZ ambassador Max Brown provides a run-down on the first leg of his 2022 international racing calendar, where he competed in two World Cups in Europe.
Max, the 2021 New Zealand K1 sprint champion, says:"Competing at the World Cups with the New Zealand Team was an awesome experience with many unexpected challenges but lots of learnings.
"We spent a week in Italy training on Lake Pusiano, which is just outside of Milan, before heading to the Czech Republic for World Cup 1.
"Here I raced in the K4 500m which was our main focus for racing. The boat was going really well and we made it through to the semi finals.
"Sadly in the semi-final, we had an equipment failure and lost steering for the whole race. We think the rudder got knocked by a buoy during the warm-up. The big shame was that we had to change the K4 crews for the next World Cup due to selection policies, so we never got to give it another chance.
"In the second World Cup, Coach asked me to race the K1 1000m and K4 500m three days before the event. I hadn’t practiced in my K1 at all really and also have never raced it internationally. The K1 and K4 were also in the same day and I only had an hour in between each race. So even more of a challenge.
"I made it through the heats comfortably to the semi-final. In the semi-final you had to make a top-three placing to make the final. I ended up missing the A final by 0.6 seconds. I was pretty gutted, but also stoked because I was the only athlete in the race who had also just raced the K4.
"A storm came through and cancelled a day's worth of racing. This meant they had to cancel all the B finals and I didn’t get to race.
"I flew back to New Zealand and whilst driving home from the airport I did a RAT test and tested positive for Covid.
"So, in all, it was a challenging overseas experience, with lots of things out of my control. But I'm still hungry to keep improving and use all the learnings to help reach our future goals.
"Thanks to CurraNZ for supporting me with their recovery supplement, it’s been a big help to my training and racing, I’ve been using it seriously now for a few years and find it’s great for helping reduce DOMs during heavy blocks of training.
"Now that I’m racing a shorter distance I’m doing a bit more speed training and find the blackcurrants help me deal with the training load."