Mike Dawson (NZL) set the marker in today’s first heat with a time of 81.28 in his opening run in the K1M at the 2015 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships.

With the K1M class being the last World Championship event to start, Dawson, like many others, took the chance to relax ahead of the season’s grand finale.

"Being from New Zealand we don't have to many days off, we're always on the road travelling, so it's been kind of nice being a tourist for a few days. I love London."

"The cool thing about my run is that I just try to have fun. I'm pretty stoked about what I do on the water and that was pretty fun. I was happy with that, but even if I was slower or faster I would be happy with that too."

When asked about the additional pressure due to this World Championship also acting as an Olympic qualifier, he continued,  "It's not so much pressure when you've already been to an Olympic Games. I'd love to go to Rio, but at the same time it's not the end of the world if you don't make it.”

"I love the London course, to get the chance to race by myself on the course without hundreds of other people is a pretty wicked opportunity, an opportunity a lot of people would be stoked to have."

It's been a gentle rise through the ranks for Dawson who now appears to be gaining in confidence with each event.

"I'm just learning that the more I trust myself to paddle the more fun it is then the times start to reflect that. So it's a lesson, be confident, you belong here."  

"It's cool in slalom at the moment, there's so many wicked athletes, the sport is really progressing, so many countries that support their athletes. So you know if you break onto the podium you're doing really well. I'm stoked with where I am right now, if it gets better I will be even more happy."

Talking about the camaraderie at the elite end of the sport, Dawson added, "Some of these guys I've known for a really long time and raced with a lot. Obviously at the start everyone’s a bit nervous so there's not too much banter going on. Round the bank we always talk about stuff and listen and chat."

As with life, the 28-year-old also appears to have pretty laid back approach to training, but has surrounded himself with some of the world's best in a bid to fine-tune his preparation.

"I work with Campbell Walsh (GBR) he's super good.  On the other side I have a guy called Gordon Walker who also coaches Lisa Carrington (NZL)."

Carrington is a Canoe Sprint superstar with an Olympic gold and multiple world titles to her name, so Dawson is certainly in good company.

The forever smiling New Zealander joked, referring to his approach to training, "I don't really know what I'm doing man, I come from New Zealand just to go paddling so it's good to have some people around that know their stuff.

The K1M semifinal and final will be contested on Sunday 20th September.  


Canoe Slalom