Paddling festival on three-day countdown

Tuesday 21 November 2017 | Published in Paddling

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With only three days to go until Vaka Eiva, the largest annual international event on the Cook Islands calendar, the Cook Islands Canoeing Association is looking forward to the culmination of a year of planning

Eva Allsworth, who is in her first year as event manager, says preparation for an event the size of Vaka Eiva starts with being organised.

“It’s really as simple as being organised, and I feel that with all the work that’s gone into it, that everything is in place for another amazing paddling event.”

Allsworth, who has been involved in the paddling extravaganza since its inception in 2004, said the good organisation would not have been possible without the work of her team.

“I’ve had wonderful support from my committee, and we have great team leaders who have been working hard to ensure that this is as successful as it can be.”

Her familiarity with the event meant she was able to transition easier into her current role, as she was fully aware of what was required. And that’s why she describes the lead-up as “relatively stress-free”.

With opening week finally here, she looks forward to the spirit and love for paddling that she says all the competitors share.

“It’s going to be an amazing week. There are a few first-time teams, so they are really excited,” she said.

“And that makes the local paddlers even more excited. Just all around, everyone can’t wait until it begins.”

Avarua harbour will be “paddling central” for the festival, and oe vaka supporters can catch the final leg and sprint finishes of ocean races from Trader Jacks Bar and Restaurant, and the surrounding area.

The ultimate paddling prizes are the coveted Pacific Cup and Pacific Paddle trophies for the open women and men’s 36km changes race around Rarotonga – a gruelling event that is definitely not for the faint-hearted.