Home-water advantage was without a doubt a key factor for the Ngakau Toa Vaka club paddlers with open men’s team Toa Fetu Boys setting a blistering pace over the 12km course to cross the finish line in under an hour with a time of 59.29.
Adapting to the changing sea conditions over the course was another crucial factor for V6 crews who started the race in half-a-metre swells at The Boiler start line and pushing east into the wind towards the turnaround buoy at the Matavera Point where swells were bigger and more challenging.
Global Positioning System (GPS) devices clocked oe vaka crews pushing 8 knots heading towards the Matavera Point before rolling surf waves helped paddlers pick up their speed to up to 14knots on the way to the finish line at Avarua harbour.
Second place in after the Ngakau Toa Vaka open men’s Toa Fetu Boys winning team were the very able I Mua Nui crew from the French Polynesian island of Moorea who crossed the line in 1.00.58 to take out their master men division. Next across the line to take out third overall and second master men crew home were the NTV Toa Ketaketa crew who certainly lived up to their name to add to their Ngakau Toa Vaka success for the day.
The local club’s Under 19 lads, who were aptly named Tamatoa O Te Moana came home in seventh place overall and first Under 19 team home in a time of 1.07.31 with fellow Cook Islands paddlers from CI Outrigger Club in New Zealand right on their tails to take out second place in 1.07.58.
The tough Ngakau Toa Vaka open women’s team had a more comfortable win on the water finishing two minutes ahead of their nearest rival the Xylobladz crew from Australia.
NTV Vaine clocked in at 1.09.58 wth team Xylobladz finishing in 1.12.21 with third place going to the Boiler Babes from the local Te Tupu O Te Manava paddling club with a finish time of 1.14.25.
Matson Vaka Eiva 2016 is not all about hardcore paddling on the ocean with event paddlers and supporters in for a fun treat today with the sprint races at Muri lagoon.
A tradition turou welcome will kick off today’s sprint race across Muri lagoon that will see fast and furious racing over short and middle distances.
The turou welcome will begin at 8am and all paddlers and supporters are asked to be at Ngatangiia Rugby Club field for the welcome challenge and parade along the shore to the Sail’s Restaurant – base for the day’s sprinting action.
Adding to the fun atmosphere of the day, there will be lots of fun novelty races to kick off the Muri Mingler party for all.
Awards for the fastest crews will be awarded after the finals race before paddles take a rest and hips take the lead on the dance floor.
- Matariki Wilson