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Winners are grinners: Intense battle in final Oe Vaka Nationals race

Monday 28 November 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Paddling, Sports

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Winners are grinners: Intense battle in final Oe Vaka Nationals race
Members of the first three open women’s teams in the Round Raro V6 36km relay race on Saturday. Picture: CICA/22112702

It was a tit for tat battle until the last 5-kilometre when Pinuela Boys led by Cook Islander Teremoana Tere pulled ahead to win the Oe Vaka Nationals’ Round Rarotonga V6 36km Relay Race on Saturday.

The New Zealand-based club finished the highly anticipated race in a time of 2.57.19 hours.

Rarotonga’s Te Tupu led by Reuben Dearlove and made up of mostly masters paddlers finished close behind in 2.59.01 hrs followed by Ngakau Toa. The men in blue led by Tupuna Amo rounded out the top three overall in a time of 3.16.23 hrs, with a couple of their paddlers enjoying their first Round Raro changes race.

The experienced Te Tupu’s Team Maroro led by Serena Hunter looked strong and comfortable through the challenging conditions, coming in fourth overall and the first women’s crew in a time of 3.38.06 hrs.

Te Tupu fielded three women’s crews for the race, with their second open crew led by Emilene Taulu taking second placing in a time of 3.51.46 hrs, and Ngakau Toa led by Tara Cumming with a number of juniors finishing third in 3.56.35 hrs.

The race around the island was run clockwise, with the south easterly conditions giving paddlers a decent headwind for the first part of the race up around Avana, and then a good surf leg from Taakoka down to Rutaki, where the top two men’s teams exchanged leads, and then another upwind slog from Edgewater to the finish to a cheering crowd at Trader Jacks.