Professional Kayaker Dies on New Zealand River

Louise Jull was a top international competitor

Louise Jull was with a group of kayakers near Okere Falls on the Kaituna River when she became separated. (Wikimedia Commons)
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Professional kayaker Louise Jull, 26, died Wednesday while paddling a river near Rotorua on New Zealand’s North Island.

She had been paddling the Kaituna River, which her family said she knew well, with two other people at 7 p.m. Wednesday, when she went missing. Her group notified police, and a search was conducted until it became too dark to continue. Her body was found Thursday morning, the New Zealand Herald reported.

“Louise was a white water and extreme kayaker of international reputation,” reads a tribute issued by her parents and siblings. “A positive role model for women in sport and a strong advocate for women in kayaking.”

Jull represented New Zealand in kayaking competitions all over the world. She won the 2014 New Zealand extreme series women’s championship, and the 2015 Kaituna and Wairoa extreme kayaking women’s section. Most recently, Jull had become a teacher at Western Heights High School in Rotorua and had been instructing young paddlers.

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