TWICE John Newton has come second in the annual Canoe Marathon World Championships' Masters event.
But the 67-year-old Elanora man finally claimed a first in October this year at the International Canoe Federation competition in Singapore.
The gruelling 17.5km K1 event required Mr Newton to carry his kayak 100m four times to complete each loop of the "just stunning" Singaporean course, he said.
The next day he and Currumbin Creek Canoe Club president Mark Richard teamed up to claim third in the five lap, 22.5km K2 event for 50-54-year-olds.
"It was interesting because of the weather conditions," Mr Newton said. "It must've been 30 degrees with 95% humidity, but the water in Marina Bay, right in the centre of Singapore, was beautiful and they've got amazing buildings all around."
It has been a good year for the waterman, with wins in State and national ironman events.
He said he had been devoted to water sports since he was barely old enough to swim.
"I was about two, and my aunt used to take me down the beach at Maroubra.
"I was introduced to kayaking through my surf club in Sydney during the 1950s or 1960s.
"We had a few Olympic kayakers, so I guess that's what turned me on to it."
Mr Newton tried for the Mexico City Olympics in 1968 and missed out, but like the proverbial fine wine he just gets better with age, though he attributes it to technology.
"When I was 60 I could still paddle almost as fast as when I was younger, but equipment has changed so much - particularly the paddle," he said.
"I'm big on wellbeing.
"I started my career as a physical education teacher … and I always try to practise what I preach."
The 'Silver Bullet' is next due to compete in the ICF world champs in October 2012, in Rome, then November's world surf life saving championships in Adelaide.