Night SUP lights up the lagoon

Saturday December 05, 2015 Written by Published in Hot on the Rock
Night paddle boarding gives a unique view of the lagoon and the island not seen in daylight hours. 15120415 CREDIT: Harvie Allison Night paddle boarding gives a unique view of the lagoon and the island not seen in daylight hours. 15120415 CREDIT: Harvie Allison

I wouldn’t say I’m a natural born athlete – actually I don’t think anyone would say that.

So when Jules and Kave Tamaariki from Ariki Holidays told me there was a special button on my night stand-up paddle board to send out a flashing SOS call, I was secretly relieved.

However thankfully my friends and I did not need the SOS light during our unique night stand up paddle boarding (SUP) tour this week, as we were too busy gliding easily through the waters of Avana with our paddle boards flashing with colourful disco lights.

I have always wanted to try this unique tourist attraction so when Jules and Kave and their island dog Tama invited CI News to experience their night tours I jumped at the chance.

We met at 7pm outside the Muri Beach Club Hotel, received a quick demonstration on how to use the paddles and how to make the undersides of our paddle boards light up.

Jules and Kave take tourists and locals on a 90 minute tour of our beautiful lagoons.

Their special lighting system reveals the wonders of being on the water at night in a way that simply cannot be experienced during the day.

The thrill of being on the water under the stars and the connection with marine life below was a Rarotongan experience I will never forget.

Once our group were confident enough balancing and kneeling on our paddle boards, we headed down through Avana, and one by one we each stood up, feeling like Kings and Queens floating down the lagoon. Luckily the current was on our side so we were able to gently paddle ourselves towards Avana wharf.

Looking down, we could see the beautiful coral that blankets the lagoon floor and the occasional fish and creature.

Looking up, we could see the island from a perspective we had never seen before.

Shrouded in clouds and the lights of houses dotting the mountainside, it was a breathtaking side.

And all the while Tama the dog was paddling along side us, wearing his specially-made lifejacket. Kave and Jules led us to Avana wharf and back across the lagoon to the motu, where we all sat atop our paddle boards and talked about island life.

Luckily Kave had driven the Ariki Holidays quad bike down to Avana, so we did not have to paddle against the current back to Muri.

Kave and Jules Tamaariki moved to Rarotonga in September 2014 from Wellington, New Zealand to establish their business and make a lifestyle change.

Kave has a background in the New Zealand Defence Force and Jules is a sports massage therapist. Kave’s parents, the late Naku and Te Vaerua Tamaariki, hail from Ngatangiia and Arorangi respectively.

Knowing that one day he would return to live in the homelands of his parents, Kave built a house in Ngatangiia over 10 years ago

In developing their business plan the couple saw a niche market to build their boutique bungalow accommodation and introduced Night Stand up Paddleboard Lagoon Tours to Rarotonga, as well as kite surfing lessons.

In the warmer waters in the summer, tourists can’t resist a night swim with all the boards rafted up, said Jules.

And they have even seen turtles and rays during some of their night adventures.

The tour can also be incorporated into Christmas functions and special events. For more information on the night SUP tours and everything else Ariki Holidays has to offer, call 27955 or 51980 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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