The final day of racing, and perfect conditions greeted the paddlers for their long journey around Rarotonga.
Sunshine, calm waters, and a light breeze made for perfect paddling conditions.
Twelve brave crews took on the arduous teams race with 10 paddlers in the women’s teams and nine in the men’s.
From the green start flag, Ngakau Toa open men made it clear they were out to win, opening up an early lead that increased the farther round the island they went.
As the race progressed the swells increased with solid sets of over four metres pounding the reef on the Arorangi side, but the ocean swells themselves remained calm and no obstacle for the crews.
By the halfway mark, Ngakau Toa open men had increased their lead to three kilometres from second placed open Team Wale, the boys from Pukapuka – and that’s how far ahead of the field they were when they crossed the line. They finished in 2hrs, 45mins.
Second team home after the victors was in fact Te Tupu senior masters, finishing 22 minutes behind Ngakau Toa.
The women’s racing was a much closer affair and the race of the day was between Te Tupo open women and the Hawai’ian women from Kai Makana.
The lead changed several times throughout the race with Te Tupu women eventually claiming victory by just two minutes, in a time of 3hrs, 17mins.
Special mention of course to the Ngakau Toa open women, who had four of their amazing junior paddlers earn their stripes, taking third place in their first real ocean race.
The finish line crowd witnessed all the juniors and coach Vaea Melvin in the canoe and congratulations all round were the order of the day.