Dangen returns to paddle and qualifies for New Zealand Slalom Canoe team
Jack Dangen retired from kayaking at the tender age of 17 to start a building apprenticeship.
But two years later, he has carefully constructed the perfect comeback.
The Ngāi Tūhoe and Ngāti Porou descendant has been named in the New Zealand Slalom Canoe team for the world championships.
Dangen says it is not as if his ride to this point has been straightforward.
“So I was based in Europe for 2015 for six months and when I got back from Europe I kind of eased out of training and moved to Auckland and there was no course up here. Kind of found it a bit hard with no one around and a coach and that.”
He also adds that he abandoned the paddle for the hammer, to pursuit a building apprenticeship.
“It's kind of the money side of things if I had to be honest. I wanted to get a full-time job and get more time into my apprenticeship and stuff like that.”
Seeing his good friend Luuka Jones succeeding at the Olympics prompted Dangen to return to the water.
“I slowly eased into it. I started paddling for a fun a little bit and then I was like, nah I want to get serious again. So I started full-time training.”
Eventually getting back out in front in at the nationals and securing a spot in the NZ team and still keeping his job as a builder.
“It's still going. I've just got a flexible boss that works around it. And yeah, lots of time off I suppose!”
The competition begins in June in Slovakia.