All men’s and women’s races will be staged at once today with crews from the open division to the senior masters division to take off from the start line at 8am.
With safety paramount in the races, five safety boats will be out on the water with trained lifeguards aboard to be at the ready for any incidents in the ever-changing sea conditions as crews battle their way around the island.
The relay race calls for total team effort with the changeover of paddlers at various points around the course key to how well crews do today.
Last year the Pacific Cup in the men’s race division was taken out by local master men’s crew Boiler Boys from the Te Tupu O Te Manava club, who smashed their way around the island in 2 hours 21.59 minutes to set a new race record.
In last year’s open women’s competition, Serena Hunter’s Ngakau Toa Vaka Vaine finished first with a time of 3 hours 3.04 minutes to take out the Pacific Paddle trophy followed by Boiler Babes on 3 hours 9.39 minutes.
Both crews are in the hunt for a repeat performance today so expect to see plenty of club pride on the line in today’s round Raro changes race.
While the best viewing of the race will be canoe side on the water however for those on land – there are a number of vantage points across the island where you will be able to watch the competitors in action.
Check out the Vaka Eiva programme for a vantage point map or visit the events website and Facebook page.
- Matariki Wilson