Multi-Olympic Gold Medalist and 5 x World Champion.

My Story

Hi and welcome to the official website of Lisa Carrington

From the beginning..

In 1996, as a seven year old, I recall watching the Atlanta Olympics. After Danyon Loader won his gold medals in the pool my Dad said “you should go to the Olympics”. All I knew was that Olympians were amazing people who I looked up to… the seed was planted.

I grew up in a few places around the Bay of Plenty, firstly born in Tauranga and then finally settling in Ohope. We moved to Ohope beach when I was 8 while attending Waiotahe Valley School in Opotiki. My two older brothers and I continued being students at Waiotahe until we were old enough to attend Whakatane High School.
I stepped on the netball court at the age of 5 and aspired to be a Silver Fern, along with most New Zealand girls.

Being the youngest of three I had a really bad habit of wanting to hang out with my bothers and their friends.  I thought what they did was pretty cool, so there I was following them around, taking up surfing and Surf Life Saving just like them. It was important for us to learn about the beach and to become Lifeguards. These skills I will have for the rest of my life.

At first I was incredibly shy and hid from my parents so I wouldn’t have to attend nippers, but after I had my first session down at the surf club I was hooked. I had awesome friends, learning about the beach and being in the water, I just couldn’t get enough.

As I got older, watched my brothers in the surf ski (similar to a kayak) they seemed to be pretty good so I thought I wanted to do that also. Turned out I was also alright at it, and managed to win a few national titles.

My Dad took me along to a kayak camp that was being held near Ohope on Lake Rotoehu, even though I had no idea what K1 paddling was or even that it was a competitive sport. I think my Dad took away much more information than I did that day. Next thing I know I am borrowing someones boat and I am racing at the National Champs in Auckland later that year.

From that little taster I started kayaking a little more, mainly to improve my fitness for Surf Lifesaving over the winter. In spending a little more time in my K1 over the next year I managed to make the NZ team that competed in Australia and also at the World Championships later that year.

At this point I had to give up netball, which was tough, it meant I missed out on hanging out with friends but I really wanted to do the best I could for the Canoe Sprint World Championships that year.

It was my last year at high school that I traveled all the way over to Czech Republic to compete, I placed 16th and 17th in the K1 500m and 1000m. These weren’t great results but it was an important experience for what Canoe sprint is really about.

Once finishing my last year at high school I had a few decisions to make. Was I going to follow my friends into University, or pursue kayaking. The decision wasn’t a hard one to make, I knew what I wanted to do….


Birthday: 23 June 1989

Born: Tauranga, New Zealand

Height: 168cm

Weight: 63kg

Club: Eastern Bay of Plenty

Lives in: North Shore, Auckland

Whakapapa: Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki and Ngāti Porou descent

Qualifications: BA 
Studying: for post-graduate diploma in psychology

Profession: Athlete


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