Monday 13 June 2011 | Published in Regional
Reuben Dearlove, the islands top male paddler, paddled strongly on Saturday to take out the 28km Te Aito race on Saturday in 2.37.10.
Dearlove managed to keep between 80 and 100m ahead of his nearest rival and gun Raiatea paddler Steve Hart who took out second place in the 18 man strong V1 race just over a minute behind Dearlove in 2.38. 45.
Choppy seas and blustery winds through the week leading up to the race settled down although the flatter conditions on Saturday meant tough paddling as the paddlers would have preferred a bit more surf.
Dearlove led the race from start to end but it wasnt all smooth paddling for the gun paddler.
At the final turnaround in Nikao, Dearlove was pushed towards the reef by a rogue wave but his experience and tenacity meant he was able to get his vaka back on the right track and keep ahead of Hart who was closing in on him.
On the homeward leg, Dearlove really showed his class as he raced home strongly to win the race.
Third in the V1 division was young Tupuna Amo in a time of 2.49.17 followed by race director Fletcher Melvin in 2.55.38.
In the junior mens 14km race junior Tahiti paddler Tamatea Bourgerie was in a class of his own as he cruised home in 1.22.45 with Andre Tutaka-George the first under 19 paddler home in a time of 1.27.44 followed by Roland Maru in third place in a time of 1.27.44.
In the womens race on Saturday morning, 16-year-old Mereani Marakai hardly broke a sweat as she cruised home the overall womens winner and first junior woman home in a blistering time of 1.29.48.
She was followed by local woman Vaea Melvin in 1.33.02 and Emiline Taulu took out 4th overall, 3rd V1 and 2nd junior woman in 1.36.12.
OC1 paddlers also hit the water and although they werent eligible for the main cash prizes or the winning tickets to Te Aito Tahiti, club pride and bragging rights were on the line.
In mens division a number of OC1 paddlers did not complete the full 28km course and those that did were led home by Kees van Wijk in a time of 2.58.56 followed by Sani Sosene.
In the womens OC1 division Paulina Beddoes was the outright winner of the class placing second overall in a time of 1.30.53 followed by a thrilled Liz Tama in 1.36.46, Tai Cummings in 1.45.17 and the ever smiling Danielle Cochrane in 1.49.21.
Congratulations to all the paddlers and the winners of Saturdays Te Aito race.
The full results and more photos from Te Aito Cook Islands will feature in tomorrows edition of Cook Islands News.