Monday 27 February 2012 | Published in Regional
Top junior oe vaka paddlers Tuangaru Rima from Aitutaki and Andre Tutaka-George of Rarotonga are charting new waters in the K1 (single kayak) paddling division.
The teenagers are on their way this weekend to improve their K1 paddling skills in New Zealand before competing at the Oceania Canoe Sprints in Penrith, near Sydney in Australia early next month.
Tutaka-George has been paddling K1 kayaks for nearly a year since he had his first taste in them at last year’s Oceania Canoe Sprints in New Zealand.
For Aitutaki paddler and 2010 top junior female paddler Tuangaru Rima, K1 paddling is completely new.
Over the past three days she has been finding her balance in the outrigger-less kayaks helped by Tutaka-George acting as coach.
Once in New Zealand, the pair will hook up with the coach of the Samoan K1 crew heading to Australia for a few days of training in New Zealand before heading to Penrith for the sprints to be held between March 2 and 4.
In Penrith they will be joined by Cook Islands slalom paddler Ella Nicholas and K1 paddler Josh Utanga.
Nicholas has already qualified for the Olympics and the event will be Utanga’s final chance to earn an Olympic spot.
Before taking to the water for races Rima and Tutaka-George will take part in a three-day workshop that will help them perform better in the Oceania sprints event.
The pair will also bring home skills learned to share with other local paddlers as the Canoeing Association looks to grow paddlers in the K1 flatwater discipline across the Cooks.