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Oe Vaka races thrill the crowds

Monday 21 November 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Paddling, Sports

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Oe Vaka races thrill the crowds
The Cook Islands Te Tupu O Te Manava (right) and Aotearoa New Zealand’s Pineula crews battle to the finish in the Open Men’s V6 18km race. 22112002

A thrilling finish, paddling furiously for first place between the Cook Islands Te Tupu O Te Manava and Aotearoa New Zealand’s Pineula in the Open Men’s V6 18km race, was a highlight of the Oe Vaka Nationals.

Team Pineula pipped the Cooks at the buoy, clocking in a time of 1.29.32.27, with Te Tupu O Te Manava finishing at 1.29.32.28.

The biggest annual event in the Oe Vaka calendar kicked off over the weekend, on a stunning Saturday afternoon, with 17 vaka taking to the ocean for the long distance iron races.

President of the Cook Islands Canoeing Association (CICA), Teina Taulu said, after two years of border closures, international paddlers are finally able to re-join the fun, adding even more excitement to the tough competition.

Two junior teams participated in the 12km race, the Under 16 Girls Team Nga Maia from Aotearoa were impressive in a time of 1.01.05, the second canoe to shore behind the fastest team in the event - Masters Men Te Tupu O Te Manava.

Winners of the Open Women’s - V6 18km, Cook Islands, Te Tupu O Te Manava club, Team Maroro. 22112005
Winners of the Open Women’s - V6 18km, Cook Islands, Te Tupu O Te Manava club, Team Maroro. 22112005

Paddling in the ocean conditions was a new and challenging experience for the young girls, who represented their club Hoe Aroha Whanau o Mauao with pride, said Taulu.

In the Under 19 Women’s Division, local club Ngakau Toa Vaka were represented by the Ocean Babes, who finished the tough race in great time.

“The competition was particularly fierce in the Master Women’s 12km race, with team River Runners from Canada quickly adapting to our surf conditions to cross the finish line just 21 seconds ahead of local team Beluga Lattes from Te Tupu O Te Manava,” said Taulu.

Local Team Strong Mums from Live Free lived up to their name, finishing the race in a solid third place.

The Master Men’s crew from Te Tupu O Te Manava also raced the 12km, giving the Open Men’s crews a good run for their money.

With two paddlers over 50 years, and two over 60, the crew led the entire pack until Tamarind House, and were third around the turn at Matavera point. They were the first to shore, finishing the race in just 57 minutes and 33 seconds.

The Ngakau Toa Vaka club still smiling after the Oe Vaka nationals long distance Iron races. 22112003
The Ngakau Toa Vaka club still smiling after the Oe Vaka nationals long distance Iron races. 22112003

In the true spirit of paddling, the Master Mix 12km division was raced by a single team made up of paddlers from New Zealand, Australia, and Canada.

Often during Vaka Eiva, single paddlers will register and jump in with any crew that needs extra paddlers, especially in the Round Raro Relay Race, Taulu said.

The Senior Master Men’s 12km race was paddled by two teams from local club Te Tupu O Te Manava, who both proved that Oe Vaka is a sport that gets even better with experience.

The CICA 2022 National Race Entries results for Saturday, 19 November are as follows.

Open Men’s - V6 18km: 1st 1.29.32.27 New Zealand, Akarana club - Team Pineula - Simon Wolfgramm, Jason Ashby, Teremoana Tere, Luke Wainui, Johno Smith, Paora Monk, canoe #40 Avenue; 2nd  1.29.32.28 Cook Islands, Te Tupu O Te Manava  club - Raniera Ellison, Mark Edwards, Andre Tutaka-George, Ina Nooroa, Phil Ave, Reuben Dearlove, canoe #96 Traders; 3rd 1.33.33 Cook Islands, Ngakau Toa Vaka club, Team Bunnies On - Benjamin Raela, Tom Weeks, Jimmy Mataroa, Joe Smith, Rouru Une, Tupuna Amo, canoe #3.

Open Women’s - V6 18km: 1st 1.48.57 Cook Islands, Te Tupu O Te Manava club, Team Maroro - Serena Hunter, Tamsyn Dearlove-Chambers, Noovai Aspris, Lotu Vea, Paulina Beddoes, Tina Mitchell, canoe #39; 2nd 1.55.31 Cook Islands, Te Tupu O Te Manava club - Tabby Berg, Nicole Spurle, Emilene Taulu, Teuru Passfield, Nana Monga, Samantha Ellison, canoe #6 General; 3rd 1.59.11 Cook Islands, Ngakau Toa Vaka club, Team NTV Open Women - Kelly-Rose Pick, Sheeny Teariki, Tara Cumming, Vina Manuel, Tunoa Kaina, Joyce Fortes, canoe #4 Delilicious; 4th  2.01.40 Cook Islands, Ngakau Toa Vaka club, Team Mangaia Maidens - Xenia Kae, Dee Tatira, Frances Akaruru, Tuaine Gribble, Andrina Tiro, Tevai Samuel, canoe #1 Island Craft; 5th 2.04.09 Cook Islands, Te Tupu O Te Manava club - Danielle Patai, Fiona Pearson, Memory Heather, Penny Murray, Grace Henry, Teina Taulu, canoe #32 Federal Pacific.

Seventeen Oe Vaka teams participated in the Oe Vaka Nationals over the weekend. 22112004
Seventeen Oe Vaka teams participated in the Oe Vaka Nationals over the weekend. 22112004

Junior 16 Women - V6 12km: 1st 1.01.05 New Zealand, Hoe Aroha Whanau o Mauao club, Team Nga Maia - Tirikawa Tahi, Carly Hall, Ngaparetaua Wharekura, Te Fenua Mokomoko, Tirama Tahi, Whaiawa Stanley-Karveroa, canoe #37.

Junior 19 Mix - V6 12km: 1st 1.18.44 Cook Islands, Ngakau Toa Vaka club, Team Ocean Babes - Itirangi Pennycook, Dee Akava (m), Natalie Kaina, Genesis Ngatikao, Jemima Katoa, Jade Tierney, canoe #2 CSB.

Master Women - V6 12km: 1st 1.14.28 Canada, Team Canada River Runners - Marie-Andree Jacques, Diane Crocker, Cathy Smyth, Claire Robinson, Lynn Shepherd, Isabelle Jacques, canoe #35; 2nd 1.14.49 Cook Islands, Te Tupu O Te Manava club, Team Beluga Latte's - Marianne Dyer, Jenny Rasmussen, Bain Bain, Annie Fisher, Tonia Taua, Lin Andrews, canoe #7 Fishers; 3rd 1.19.30 Cook Islands,  Live Free club, Team Strong Mums - Myland Lane, Tapu Paitai, Tai Cummings, Pare Tangata, Mona Raui, Inano Matapo, canoe #10 Te Vakaroa.

Master Men - V6 12km 1st 0.57.33 Cook Islands, Te Tupu O Te Manava club - Damien Beddoes, Josh Mitchell, Al Sullivan, Conrad Hunter, Arno Theijssen, Ray Lambert, canoe #33.

Master - V6 12km 1st 1.14.17 Canada, Canada/NZ/Australia club, Team River Runners Mixed - Aliti Chang, Rachael McCallum, Boof Richardson, Mark Bruce, Ian Robinson, Vesna Radonich, canoe #34.

Senior Master Men - V6 12km: 1st 1.04.40 Cook Islands, Te Tupu O Te Manava club, Team Stress Free - Hori Miller, Craig Murray, Rob Brown, Nathan Beluga, Mark George, Maki Raukete, canoe #38; 2nd 1.10.52 Cook Islands, Te Tupu O Te Manava club, Team Jerryactics - Johnny Raita, Jarl Arneric, Marc Cowan, Mii Silar, Pererika Makiha, Sani Sosene, canoe #9 Moana Sands.