Paddlers and supporters gathered at the Ngatangiia rugby field for the traditional turou welcome conducted by the warriors and vaine toa of the Pacific Resort.
Warriors lead the large crowd of paddlers along the shores of Muri with challenges and welcomes issued.
Thunderous drumbeats by expert Mark Short and his talented tamariki got paddlers’ blood pumping for the fast and action-packed oe vaka sprint races across Muri lagoon.
The sprints is an opportunity for paddlers to socialise as well as get in some last chance team bonding and training ahead of the pinnacle Round Raro changes race in the men’s and women’s divisions today and the mixed category on Friday.
Off the water, paddlers mixed and mingled and warmed up for the evenings Muri Mingler party with those paddlers not competing in today’s race starting the party early in the day!
On the water there was plenty of fun with some paddling involved with novelty races keeping the crowd entertained.
In the serious on water racing – Australian and Kiwi crews came out on top in most divisions with top sprint times recorded. However it was the Toa Fetu Boys from the local Ngakau Toa Vaka club that recorded the fastest sprint final race time of day blitzing the course in 2.17.53 in the open men’s finals followed by the Te Manga crew from NZ in 2.26.51 and third place getters the Dirty Pirates from Australia.
In the open women’s division – Australian crew Xylobladz were the pick of the bunch crossing first in 2.45.54 followed by Kiwi women’s crew Tiare Maori in 2.46.56 and fellow Aotearoa crew Turangawaewae coming in third placed in a time of 2.48.53.
Aussie crews Rogz for Dogz and Pacific Dragons took out first and second place respectively in the dynamic open mixed division with the Rogz for Dogz crew clocking in at 2.39.48 to take the gold medal.
Mooloolaba were the crew to beat in the master women’s division taking out the final race in 2.54.58 followed by the mixed Australian and American crew of Hoaloha O Ke Kai in second and the Singapore American Dragon placing third overall.
I Mua Nui crew from Tahiti were in a class of their own in the master men division cleaning up the division in a time of 2.31.07 followed by the Cook Islands Silver Fox crew in 2.37.48 with Aussie crew Bisons third.
- Matariki Wilson