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Saturday 19 May 2012 | Published in Regional


The Te Aito Cook Islands, the premier V1 rudderless oe vaka race, is just around the corner and our local paddling family is abuzz with the excitement of racing next weekend.

Commitment to this year’s event will see major sponsors Air Rarotonga, Turtles Tees, Tourism Cook Islands, Island Craft Ltd, Whatever Bar and Grill, Muri Beach Resort and Aqua Caf play a big role in the success of Te Aito Cook Islands. As well as, Oe Vaka Taeake sponsors are: Tahiti Caf, Fishers Black Pearls, Hori’s Signs, Cook Islands News and Pacific Resort Rarotonga.

This year we are privileged to have a strong overseas contingent and their supporters coming to participate in Te Aito Cook Islands. Two of the best paddlers on the planet for the men and women both come from Tahiti and the New Zealand women’s champion as well as the New Zealand Junior champion are on their way – proving that this race is set to be bigger and more aggressive than ever.

Our local champion Reuben Dearlove has made impressive improvements on his previous times leading up to the event and will be the one to watch in the men’s event.

Serena Hunter is also making a welcome return to the sport and is already showing she still has what it takes.

This weekend Aitutaki oe vaka clubs will be holding a selection race to identify the two Aitutaki champions who will also be representing their island in Te Aito Cook Islands, courtesy of support from Air Rarotonga.

2012 has seen our local paddlers more determined than ever to leave their mark on the Te Aito race course.

Training for the last couple of months has been intense and it has been great to see more and more paddlers opting to master the V1 rudderless canoe in our conditions.

Organisers are hoping that even more local paddlers will take the challenge up and be in to win fantastic prizes.

There will be cash prizes from first place to fifth in the open men and women’s race and awards for place getters in all divisions.

Aito Tane participants will paddle a race course distance of 24km while our Aito Vaine will show their strength and skill in a 14km course.

Avarua Wharf will be the place to be on Saturday March 26.

Te Aito Cook Islands is most definitely a spectator friendly event with supporters able to see all the excitement from ashore.