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Young paddlers impress

Wednesday 23 November 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Paddling, Sports


Young paddlers impress
The Ngakau Toa Vaka J16 paddlers were the first home in the 5km ocean race on Monday. 22112302

There were ‘gutsy’ performances by the Junior Under-16 paddlers in the five-kilometre ocean race from Avarua harbour up to Club Raro and back, in the Oe Vaka Nationals on Monday afternoon.

The experience of the Ngakau Toa Vaka girls shone through as they took a strong lead and finished first with a time of 36.05.58 minutes.

Arch rivals Te Tupu’s Te Tiare paddlers finished second in 40.51.58 mins followed by Aotearoa New Zealand’s gutsy young paddlers from Tauranga’s Hoe Aroha Whanau o Mauao Club. The visitors paddled with heart and finished in third place, clocking 43.39.25. 

The visiting Nga Maia team had their first ocean race experience on Saturday taking on the V6 12km iron race, but rough sea conditions forced them to turn early at Club Raro.

President of the Cook Islands Canoeing Association, Teina Taulu said the juniors from New Zealand “don’t get to race out in the ocean conditions compared to where they train in Tauranga”.

“They mainly focus on sprint races rather than ocean races, this will be an unforgettable experience for them … and a feeling of coming home to where their ancestors departed,” said Taulu.

The Boiler Swim 700m - Gold Coin Charity Donation was also held on Monday. Claire Robinson, from Canada’s River Runner’s crew, was the first to return to shore.

Today’s races – OC1/ V1/ Surfski - 12km Iron Race – J16, J19, Open Women, Masters divisions, 15km Iron Race – Open Men races will start at 4pm from Avarua harbour. Thursday and Friday are rest and free days, and on Saturday is the gruelling Round Raro Relay Race 36km which will start at 8.30am from Avarua harbour. Prizegiving will be held that evening at 6pm.