Sunshine Coast Kayak Club paddler Peter Elford is heading to Canada with the Australian kayak team.
Sunshine Coast Kayak Club paddler Peter Elford is heading to Canada with the Australian kayak team. Brett Wortman

Paddlers to test waters in Ontario

A TRIO of the Coast's top paddlers will use an Australian Canoeing camp in Canada this month to get a taste for the waters of Ontario, the host of next year's junior world championships.

Bill Bain, Charlie Copeland and Peter Elford flew out with the Australian team last Saturday for a great opportunity to familiarise themselves with the venue and conditions in Ontario.

Coach Peter Petho said being able to adapt to the conditions in different venues was critical for any athletes, particularly in a different time zone and hemisphere.

"Bill and Charlie are well on track to make that under-23 team.

They will only be 19 but I think they will be up to it," Petho said. "And Peter is still between the surf and a kayak and has only been in a kayak for a year. But in his third ever kayaking race at the nationals he made the team in a tough competition.

"He was always coming second to Billy in the surf and it is good for him to be training with these guys and experiencing the tour."

Elford, 18, a product of Maroochydore Surf Club, made the switch from the surf to still water just under a year ago and said he benefited from training and travelling with Bain and Copeland, who have set the bar in Australian junior circles.

"Bill and Charlie are the top of the game in Australia and it definitely helps training alongside those guys because you really have to lift when you rock up to training," he said.

"I started off as a board paddler and Clint Robinson came to coaching and said I looked like a ski paddler, so I started with him and had two years with him and then 12 months ago I switched to kayaking.

"I'm really looking forward to this camp because it will let us get our feet wet in the area and experience what it's like to train and compete up there."

Elford, who joined nippers only when he was 13, said the Maroochydore club had supported him ever since.

"The club has been great and has really helped me out, so I have a lot to thank them for."