The team, made up of experienced and “old” paddlers, claimed the V6 Round Rarotonga Relay Race ahead of arch-rivals Ngakau Toa Vaka in the open men’s division.
However, Ngakau Toa Vaka (NTV) retained the title in the open women’s division, beating the Boiler Babes of Te Tupu/Live Free who finished second.
For reasons of safety due to strong winds, the race organisers decided to change the course and run a 30km course in the lee of the island.
Conditions were certainly tough as paddlers from 15 clubs pushed into the wind for the first leg towards the turn at the Rarotongan.
However shortly after the turn, the wind changed direction and it was still an uphill paddle towards the turn at Matavera, giving the crews no relief from the strong breeze.
In the much-anticipated open men division, the race to the finish line started side-by-side between NTV and Te Tupu (Boiler Boys) before the experience and strength of the Te Tupu crew started to make the difference.
Within a kilometre they had broken into the lead and continued to extend it, helped by the experience of Rueben Dearlove, the Boiler Boys’ steerer.
During the final downhill surfing leg, Dearlove’s ocean skills shone as the Boiler Boys raced home to claim a great win.
They finished the race in 2 hours 29:25 minutes, followed by NTV on 2 hours 31:07 minutes.
Team Kina of Mitamitaga Ole Pasefika Va’a-Alo Canoe Club, New Zealand finished third in a time of 2 hours 31:59 minutes.
In the open women, NTV led from start to finish but the Boiler Babes kept the pressure on whole way.
NTV clocked 3 hours 04:28 minutes to retain the title, while Boiler Babes managed to finish the race in a time of 3 hours 08:35 minutes.
New Zealand’s Rehutai finished on third place in a time of 3 hours 18:55 minutes.
Only two teams competed in the master men division and the title went to Silver Foxes of Te Tupu O Te Manava. The team finished the race in 2 hours 54:44 minutes.
Weathered Greenstones from New Zealand clocked 3 hours 06:18 minutes.
United States’ Cage Free Wahines finished on top in the masters women event in a time of 3 hours 23:46 minutes followed by Te Tupu on 3 hours 28:16 minutes.
New Zealand’s Whakaraupo Aihe finished third on 3 hours 29:10 minutes.
The 2017 Vaka Eiva closed with the prize giving ceremony last night.