Zack Mutton | Sport2018
Going kayaking has always been part of 17 year old Zack Mutton’s life. Growing up in the paddling community of Okere Falls, just north of Rotorua, with the Kaituna river literally at the bottom of his garden and his Dad running the local kayak school, it is easy to understand how Zack got into paddling. Zack always had easy access to a boat and a paddle and was already paddling the slalom course before he started school.
Zack attributes much to the inspiration given to him by top NZ and also international paddlers who came to train on the Kaituna every summer. These visiting athletes offered plenty of encouragement and allowed Zack to paddle with them in their training sessions. Zack has also had no shortage of role models when it comes to running big creeks and is a member of the Waka Kayaks team, surrounded by the world’s best extreme paddlers. New Zealand provides an impressive playground when it comes to big whitewater and Zack has been making the most of this with Huka Falls, Tree Trunk Gorge, Aratiatia and Nevis Bluff rapids amongst those he has paddled.
Zack has been a member of the NZ junior whitewater slalom kayaking team since 2015. Zack headed into junior worlds in Bratislava, Slovakia this year ranked 4th in the world. After qualifications Zack was 2nd fastest to qualify and a solid semis run put him into the junior worlds final where the top 10 junior paddlers in the world race off for overall position. His finals run was good but had a few small costly mistakes resulting with Zack finishing the competition in 8th place. Zack has one more year in the U18 category and has already shifted his focus to Junior Worlds 2018 which will be in Ivrea, Italy. The race is also on with NZ team selections in January 2018 and Zack firmly aiming to make Senior team.
Zack mixes up his racing a bit also competing in extreme paddling. This year Zack represented New Zealand at the Senior World Cup Boater Cross in Prague, achieving an impressive 7th overall in the open men’s.
In his spare time Zack also enjoys skiing, backflips, hanging out with his neighbours and eating lasagne.