Just keep paddling – that’s how St Leonards paddleboarder Garry Porter is coping with cancer.
The 68-year-old was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014, but it quickly spread to his lungs.
Since then, he has had surgery twice to remove tumours and is having ongoing radiotherapy in a bid to keep the cancer at bay.
A major part of his recent treatment has been training for the New Zealand Masters Games (February 1-9) in Dunedin.
The semi-retired digital print finisher for Certa Solutions said sport – particularly paddleboarding – was keeping him mentally positive and physically fit, which stood him in “good stead” for his cancer treatments.
“I’m pretty lucky so far because I can do most things.
“But thoughts about the cancer do weigh heavily on my mind. That’s why I do sport, because it keeps my mind active and focused on something else other than the cancer.
“There’s nothing better than getting out on the water on my paddleboard.
“There’s something about being on the water – especially when I paddle on my own. It’s the peace and quiet and the beautiful surroundings.
“And of course, when you’ve been out and you get back in, you get a bit of a buzz from it. That’s really what keeps me going.”
Mr Porter is one of more than 4400 competitors in this year’s Masters Games.
He has been participating in the games since they started in 1989, and has won many medals in archery, mountain biking, road cycling and more recently, paddleboarding.
This year he is competing in archery and the 4km and 200m paddleboarding events.
They are among more than 60 sports on offer.
Since its inception, the New Zealand Masters Games has grown from the humble beginnings of 1500 entrants competing across 29 sports, to become the country’s largest and longest-running multisport event.