Oe Vaka V6 paddling crew out on the water. (Photo: Toru Nooroa) 20112505
Despite the pandemic, oe vaka was one of the first codes to be able to continue to train on the water and has seen greater local participation than ever before. And Cook Islands is one of the very few countries that has been able to continue V6 paddling/racing during these Covid times.
Paddlers celebrated their national awards night on Saturday
at Trader Jacks after some intense racing to determine the national champions
Te Tupu o te Manava in red celebrated wins in the
major categories of the open men’s and women’s V6 12k and the open men’s and
women’s singles 12k.
The club also took out the fun but serious V6 mixed
6km race on Thursday.
A highlight was also the successes in the junior
The year has seen dedicated coaches pushing junior
Ngakau Toa (NTV) had two J19 crews which included the
K1 talents Jade and Lily Tierney, and Eryka Tommy who represented at the
Takapuna Beach Cup earlier this year in a Cook Islands women’s crew.
The two crews paddled hard in their 6km race, with Te
Tupu J16 girls enjoying a good performance in their first nationals race with
Luca Dearlove steering her first race.
NTV’s J16 had a number of young 12-13-year-old
paddlers steered by Aleida Tere rounding off the junior girls’ division.
Te Tupu O Te Manava women in the nationals. Photo: ANTONIA POA. 20120105
Racing kicked off on Thursday with the singles 12k
race to Matavera Point and back to Traders in a south easterly chop.
Te Tupu’s Andre Tutaka-George dominated the men’s race
with a time of 1.00.53 with NTV’s Ali Webb (also first master) in 1.05.29 and Allen
Sullivan (first senior master) rounding off top three in a time of 1.06.19 with
Phil Ave who was in second place at one stage running a close line along the
reef and suffering a capsize.
Serena Hunter continued her unbeaten run taking out
the women’s title in 1.10.50 with NTVs Joyce Fortes second in 1.18.55 and Te
Tupu’s Emilene Taulu rounding off third in 1.26.11.
In the surfski division, Kohl Norton cemented his
domination over the season with a comfortable win in 59.56 with Te Aroa Pekepo
second in 1.01.20 and Finn Quirk third in 1.05.31 after Dylan Musselle had a 30
second penalty for not rounding buoy finishing in 1.06.00.
Jade Tierney finished a great season taking out first
place in 1.07.18 with younger sister Lily close behind in 1.07.37.
Caitlyn Tommy and Yannicka Tinirau paddled a good race
on their double surfski in a time of 1.04.42.
The mixed v6 6km race saw 11 canoes on the line in a
fiercely contested dash to Club Raro – Avatiu -Traders which saw Te Tupu’s top
mixed crew just edging out NTV in a time of 35.30 with NTV 35.48 and NTVs next
open crew rounding off top three in 38.00.
Saturday saw hot hard racing for the main events the
men’s and women’s 12km V6.
Eight crews were on the line with Te Tupu’s top women’s
crew which included four of the Cook Islands Games gold medal winning Rarotonga
team (Tina Mitchell, Samantha Puati Ellison, Tamsyn Dearlove) joined by Emilene
Taulu and coach Serena Hunter taking the win in a time of 1.02.40.
NTVs top women spearheaded by Tara Cumming and Joyce
Fortes nipped at their heels for much of the race finishing in 1.03.49 and NTVs
cool aunties led by Vaea Melvin rounded off top three in 1.07.40 also placing
Nine crews faced off in the men’s v6 race with the
experienced Te Tupu crew led by Andrew Tutaka George and Reuben Dearlove taking
line honours in 52.00 with a new look NTV crew fielding a few new faces led by
Tupuna Amo second in a respectable 54.07, and Te Tupu open 2 steered by Corey
fisher in third place in 55.45.
The Canoe & Kayak J19 boys joined the men’s 12k
race, and demonstrated awesome paddling skills to come home in a time of
1.00.25 with NTV juniors in 1.05.10.
Cook Islands Canoeing Association president, Dean
Tutaka George expressed his gratitude to those coaches who worked hard this
year to push and build the sport especially for the Cook Islands Games, which
saw many paddlers continue in clubs for the nationals.