Age no bar to competition

Gage Laughton competing on the rapids

Wellsford Primary School student, Gage Laughton, will be the youngest competitor at the upcoming NZ Secondary School Slalom Champs in Kawerau.

The 10-year-old has proved himself recently in Tauranga coming third place in the special plastic slalom boat competition against adult competitors and at the Bay of Plenty Slalom Champs where he beat five under-14-year-olds with his time.

“Gage is four years off high school and is the youngest competitor because of his ability on the water. NZ Canoe Slalom had reservations about letting him compete at this event but Gage has proven he can be competitive at this level,” said his father Lee.

Gage has entered in four of the five events at the NZ Secondary School Champs — the slalom, short down river race, boater cross, and the classic down river race. 

“He was also selected to be part of the All Wallace Worldwide Team of 2016. Fifty-four people from around the world were nominated and Gage made the final seven and was also chosen to be captain of the 2016 team. “My daughter Darcie is also competing. I am a very proud dad and I am over the moon that both my children have taken to slalom kayaking. It is a great family sport to be involved in.” Gage also has his own Facebook athlete page. To follow Gage go to


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