Yesterday marked the last day the younger paddlers take to the water at the Waka Ama Nationals in Karapiro.

Although they may be young, their passion and drive is still the same as those of the older competitors.

When asking the competitors what their aim is.

“Gold. To bring home gold.”

Those words are on every competitor’s lips no matter what age.

Horouta took out the competition last year, however, this year the 29th year of the competition every team wanted out to take the title.

One young competitor added.

“It's very challenging.”

Taiapa is 11-years-old and is part of the Te Toki team who took out the double-hull competition.

He says by sticking to core values they succeed.

“Ko te parakatihi me te noho a kapa.”

The champion girls of Horouta agree.

“It was good because we won. We all worked as a team and we did it together.”

Today the elite competitors take to the water.