What began as her parents’ concern with water safety has turned into a 13-year interest and competitive career with surf lifesaving for new Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship recipient Karina Radley.
As a Hillary Scholar at the University of Waikato, former Bethlehem College student Karina will have her course fees covered, receive specialist coaching and mentoring, and will take part in leadership programmes.
“I feel so privileged to be selected for this opportunity,” says Karina. “With this scholarship I will be able to train and compete while I’m studying, knowing that I have support from a variety of academic and sporting professionals.”
Surf lifesaving career
Karina’s surf lifesaving career began with the nipper programme in Mount Maunganui when she was eight years old. Over the next 13 years her talents in surf lifesaving and kayaking saw her selected to represent New Zealand in Australia, Japan and Germany.
To stay in top shape, Karina trains up to three times a day across various disciplines – sprinting and running, kayaking and swimming.
She enjoys the unpredictability of surf lifesaving, which can sometimes see competitors taking on large swells and stormy conditions.
“Every competition is different. You always have to be thinking and planning different strategies for each race.”
Interest in conservation
Sport-wise her long term goal is to be the New Zealand open women’s surf ski champion. If her past success is anything to go by, it’s fair to say she’s well on her way.
The Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship programme is the most prestigious scholarship on offer at Waikato University. It’s awarded to students who are high academic achievers and who are also achieving in the arts or sports. Scholars have their course fees covered, receive specialist coaching and mentoring and take part in personal development and leadership programmes.