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Aussie kayakers want race-off with rowers

27 March 2013

ROWING & CANOE/KAYAK: Paddling or rowing, which is faster?

That's the question Australia's K4 men's Olympic champion kayakers want to find out by taking on the national men's rowing coxless four in a one-on-one match race.

The quartet of Tate Smith, David Smith, Murray Stewart and Jake Clear are preparing for next week's national championships in Perth but have issued the challenge to the "oarsome foursome" and they believe it's an event which will happen.

"When we get some time to figure out a date and place, I think it'd be a really good race to see who's the fastest," Smith told AAP on Wednesday.

"That'd be a great race to see who is the fastest one-on-one, rowing or kayaking. It'd be really exciting to see if we could pull that off... the timesheets are pretty close over 1000 metres.

"We won the bragging rights in London, the only gold medal there, so we won that one but they've got a lot of runs on the board - definitely bragging rights on the line."

Senior oarsman James Chapman, who was part of the four who won silver at the London Olympics, was pumped up when asked whether he'd be keen to take up the challenge.

"We're up for it. The four of us guys, that are carrying as much weight in our legs as the K4 guys do in their shoulders, are always looking for extra race practice," said Chapman, who teamed with Will Lockwood, Josh Dunkley-Smith and Josh Booth to win gold at the World Cup event in Penrith last weekend.

"This is like League vs Union to us.

"It needs a venue, like Darling Harbour or South Bank, Brisbane and it needs a promotional genius who can build up an event pitting girls and guys from both kayak, rowing boat, dragon boat, surf boat.

"And maybe a few lifesavers for CPR given the hurt locker we'll slam ourselves in for our sport's pride."

First priority for the gold medal-winning kayak quartet is securing a spot in this year's world championship team by winning Wednesday's national title in Perth.

The four Gold Coast lifesavers are keen to stick together and defend their Olympic crown in Rio, even as they take on new challenges out of the water.

"We're moving on. Tate's got a kid on the way. Murray's getting married. When you're going into your late 20s-early 30s, you've really got to start juggling real life with an Olympic campaign," he said.

"That's one thing we really never had to do before London.

"We've got to be really smart in how we pace ourselves for the next four years."

The plan for Perth couldn't be simpler however: rise to the challenge of being defending Olympic champion in the same method that took them to gold in London.

"As you saw in London, we won the race from the very first stroke and that's what we want to do in Perth," he said.

"We want to make sure we win that race by such a distance that the guys don't want to race us."

Ed Jackson

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