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Hunter battles for silver

Tuesday July 04, 2017 Written by Published in Paddling
Serena Hunter after finishing second in her race in the inaugural IVF Va’a World Championship in Tahiti last week. 17070355 Serena Hunter after finishing second in her race in the inaugural IVF Va’a World Championship in Tahiti last week. 17070355

Serena Hunter overcame tough conditions on Friday to create history, claiming a silver medal in the inaugural IVF Va’a World Championship in Tahiti last week.

 

Competing in the masters V1 18kilometre, the top local female paddler endured some harsh conditions to manage the podium finish.

She finished the race behind Marguerite Temaiana of Tahiti and ahead of New Zealand’s Nicky Kingi.

In an appreciation post on her Facebook page, Hunter talked about the tough conditions she and fellow competitors had to endure during the race.

“All week wind guru was showing great weather until Friday which showed 26 knot northeast wind, so the weather gods kept their promise and after some carnage in the men’s V6 race in the morning, our race course was changed to stay within the reef, and believe me it did not make our course any easier,” Hunter said.

“Very hard race, paddling pretty much on one side all the way up, and then on the other side most of the way back. It was two laps of just plain hard paddling, I can’t say there was any fun bits in any of it, except it was awesome along the course hearing support boats and people on the shore cheering, and to come along that finish chute was an amazing feeling.

“To have all the Cookie supporters both from home and here on the beach to see me in was very stirring. I’m so proud to have represented my ipukarea Cook Islands and to have won a silver medal for my country in the first ever IVF World Distance Championships.”

Hunter said the win was a testament of the hard work she put in ahead of the championship.

“It’s been a few months of hard training, and its hard sometimes to judge how you are doing back home when you’re just doing a lot of slogs and not much racing,” she said.

Hunter said to compete in the two big races in Tahiti where she managed a fifth place (overall finish) in the Te Aito followed by silver medal in the world championships was worth the hard work she put in during the preparations.

“None of this would be possible without the support of my family, my wonderful husband Conrad and my beautiful children, my amazing Mum Lynnsay - who is always there 100 per cent for us - and I wish she had taken up my invitation to come to Tahiti with us and share in this special week.

“Thank you to all my beautiful sisters on the Francis and Hunter sides, my coach Ray Preston (who is almost 80 by the way) and works his little magic into a training programme for me which has me bumping heads with him sometimes.

“Thank you to Reuben Dearlove who is always there to be my sounding board, to Tara, Damien and Paulina Beddoes for being great roomies and giving me good vibes and support as well as Vaea (Melvin).”

Meanwhile youngster Ioana Turia Puna, who represented the country in the V1 junior girls division finished third in her first ever international race.