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Gordon Aston | Te Wānanga o Aotearoa

There’s always hope for those of us propping up the Tau Ora leaderboard, but not much when a 61 year old Gisborne man is leaving the field in his wake, clocking up more than two million Tau Ora points in the first seven weeks.

Tauira support adviser Gordon Aston (Paddle Ezy on Tau Ora) leads the competition from Tauranga counterpart Whare Randell (wharewhiti).

Gordon says most of his points are earned through paddling and cycling, with a bit of crossfit thrown in for good measure.

“I’m training for worlds (Waka Ama World Champs) and me and wharewhiti are going in the same boat, so we’re having a bit of competition between ourselves. Tau Ora came along at the right time.”

Clearly, that competition is paying off, with the pair a good 200,000 points clear of the third placed Mikaere Paki from Porirua.

Gordon says he always wondered where to put his paddling distances in Tau Ora, which doesn’t have a dedicated paddling section. Both the cycling and swimming sections convert distances into Tau Ora points so he went with swimming, since it’s water related.

He hits the water in his one-man waka six days a week, clocking up 8-12km per day, and does bigger distances with his crew on weekends, “depending on conditions and how I’m feeling”.

And how he feels most days, is sore.

“It’s painful and the body is always sore,” he says.

“We’re all old guys on our waka and we all wish we never played rugby. All the old injuries come back when you start paddling and you look back on those days of crash tackling.”

But Gordon says he enjoys working hard and has a commitment to lose a few more kgs before the world champs in Tahiti next month.

“Three of us in the boat are carrying a bit surplus so we made a commitment to lose some. I started at 99kg, I’m 94kg currently and aiming for 90kg in Tahiti. I’m the oldest in the boat so I’m making sure I keep on my game.”

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