Oe vaka has seen a great start to their paddling season, with many new faces on the water for the start of the V6 and singles racing season.
Saturday saw the second of the V6 races with 13 canoes on the water - junior, open and master paddlers mixing it up over a 4.5km circuit up to Club Raro and back to Trader Jacks.
The junior paddlers were impressive, with 11 and 12 year olds paddling with heart in very testing conditions, with gusty headwind up to Club Raro and good tailwind back.
Some competitive racing up the front of the pack saw Te Tupu master’s men take first place in 25.24 with Ngakau Toa open men in 26.07 and Te Tupu open men rounding off the top three in 26.08 minutes.
The first of the singles races took place the week prior, with 16 paddlers taking to the water from Trader Jacks in a 6km circuit to Club Raro down to Avatiu and back.
The junior kayakers put on an awesome display on their surf skis with six youngsters taking to the water, and taking out the top three spots with Te Aroa Pekepo in a time of 39.24, Kohl Horton in 39.55 and Jade Tierney in 41.28.
The veterans were chasing hard on their V1/Oc1 canoes, with Te Tupu master’s paddlers taking out the top three spots with Allen Sullivan coming in fourth overall and first V1 in a time of 41.37, Josh Mitchell 2nd in 42.06 and Conrad Hunter in 42.50.
In the female division, 16-year-old Jade Tierney took third overall on her surf ski with younger sister and junior sportswoman of the year Lily Tierney seventh overall in 43.16 and Genesis Ngatikao rounding off the surf ski division in 44.55.
Joyce Fortes and Emilene Taulu were the only two ladies on the line, more women are encouraged to attend the next race this weekend.
“The emphasis this year is on encouraging more people to give paddling a go, especially with all the disruptions caused by COVID-19, it’s an ideal time to rebuild and focus on building up paddler numbers,” said Cook Islands Canoeing Association president, Dean Tutaka-George.
Both clubs have been working hard in recruiting new paddlers in both the open and junior divisions, so the aim is to have a fun V6 race season mixing up both new and experienced paddlers over shorter distances and encourage greater participation.
The next Oc1/v1 race is this Saturday, 2pm at Traders, it is hoped that many paddlers will be out in force.