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The Takapuna Beach Cup was established in 2007 by the Taniwha Grizzlies Outrigger Canoe team.
The team commonly known as the “Grizzlies” are a group of 24 master, senior master and now golden master men paddlers. The Grizzlies were initially formed by a group of Dad’s who would meet around the pool most mornings to watch their children swim train. After a number of years watching their children charging up and down the pool the Dads thought it would be beneficial and timely, since they were used to an early start to the day, to participate in a sport of their own and utilise this downtime for training. The problem was deciding what sport would suit retired sportsman who were rapidly reaching middle age and who were not interested in the golf course - just yet. The search for an appropriate sport began. The search coincided with a relatively new sport that was gaining prominence. That was the sport of outrigger paddling. With Auckland’s iconic harbour beckoning it seemed ideal. That was back in 1993 and the rest, as they say, is history. Two of the originals are still racing competitively with the Grizzlies today, Lance Richards "Bush" and Rodney Evans.
What stood out early amongst the paddling fraternity was the Grizzlies desire to look for fresh and exciting challenges. The big races overseas fitted this bill nicely. It was on one of the numerous paddling trips to Hamilton Island, Australia that the question was raised as to why New Zealand did not host its own international event like all other paddling nations do. One of the Grizzlies originals took the bull by the horns and decided, damn it, New Zealand is going to have one even if he was to organise the whole thing himself. That Grizzlies member was Ken Gilbert.....a larger than life character whose passion for paddling showed no bounds. The rest of the Grizzlies soon fell in behind Kens drive and enthusiasm and did what they could to help. Ken’s dream materialised with the inaugural Takapuna Beach Cup being held in February 2007. Ken unfortunately passed away in March 2007 while paddling a race on the Tauranga Harbour. Ken was an integral part of the Grizzlies passion to compete and do well. The Grizzlies race results at that time speak for itself. His passing affected the squad deeply, however, the Grizzlies were incredibly fortunate that Lance Richards took the batten from Ken and has taken the event to where it is today.
Taniwha Grizzlies Senior Master Men Winners @ Takapuna Beach Cup 2013