Te Aito Cook Islands, the Cook Islands Canoeing Association elite singles paddling competition, will be held this Saturday at Avarua wharf.
The event is now in its seventh year and the senior paddlers will be compete in the challenging distances of 14 kilometres for the women and 24km for the men, with the juniors taking on 7kms.
This is a significant year for CICA with their top paddlers, including the winners of Te Aito Cook Islands 2017, taking part in the inaugural World Marathon Championship races in Tahiti in June, representing the Cook Islands against a line-up of the world’s best.
The CI Marathon squad has been training hard and this will definitely add an extra dimension to the racing on Saturday.
Back again to defend his 2016 title is top Tahitian paddler Raunui Makiroto. Raunui brings an impressive paddling pedigree with him, including winning the grueling Molokai race, the challenging Hawaiki Nui, and being part of world champion team, Shell Va’a, for a number of years.
Ready to take him on and claim line honours are the top male paddlers.
Andre Tutaka-George will be one to watch in the open men’s competition, having consistently placed first in local races, with Tupuna Amo and AJ likely to be hot on his tail.
In the masters men’s race division, look out for Esben Torget, Phil Ave and Ali Webb to lead the way but, with the likes of experienced masters, Alan Sullivan and Richard Denny in the mix, anything, as they say, can happen on the day!
Golden girl Serena Hunter will not be making it easy for her fellow women competitors, as she will be pushing hard on the water to retain her record of having won last year’s and all previous Te Aito Cook Islands women’s races.
Top open women’s paddler Tara Cummings has improved her times and fitness considerably over the season, and will no doubt be keeping Hunter in her sights.
The official welcome and traditional canoe blessing will take place at 10.15am. Heading out from the iconic Boiler, the women’s race starts at 11am and the men’s race at 2pm.
Te Aito Cook Islands winners will be receiving cash prizes as well as other great prizes generously sponsored by Air Tahiti, Viper Va’a, Koka Lagoon Cruises, Bluesky, Reef Sub, Ride Rarotonga, KiteSUP, Rongohiva, The Islander Hotel and Le Rendevous Café.
CICA also thanks supporting sponsors Island Craft, Hori Signs and Akura Fishing Charters.
Prize-giving and celebrations for the Te Aito competitors and supporters will take place at 6pm at On the Rocks.
CICA invites the public to come and support the Te Aito event. Watch the racing down at Avarua wharf and purchase a ticket to the prizegiving, a delicious meal and the “Paddles Down” Party at On The Rocks for only $25.
Call Eva on 80862 to reserve your ticket.