The first all-carbon fibre V1 canoe made on Rarotonga is finished just in time for today’s Te Aito Cook Islands race.
The canoe represents Innovative Plastics Ltd’s first fully carbon fibre project, and was made specifically for national champion paddler Reuben Dearlove, who is the favourite for today’s inaugural Te Aito Cook Islands.
Event organiser Fletcher Melvin, a director of Innovative Plastics Ltd, said that a consultant flew in from New Zealand to advise and supervise building of Dearlove’s new boat.
The canoe is blue and white – the colours of Pacific Resort, which paid for the entire project.
General manager Greg Stanaway said that Pacific Resort is happy to sponsor the sport of oe vaka, as reflected by its role as a major sponsor of Vaka Eiva and yesterday’s Te Aito Tama, and athletes like Dearlove.
The canoe also represents the Turangi factory’s first effort in giving a vaka a paint job.
Melvin said that carbon fibre is advantageous because it makes for a stiffer, stronger and lighter canoe that cuts better and more smoothly through the water.
Dearlove said he’s ‘really excited’ about the canoe and, after a quick paddle, said it ‘feels great’.
Of course today will be the real test of that, as Dearlove faces a strong field in the open men.
The ‘junior’ Te Aito Tama was run late yesterday afternoon on Muri lagoon.
After the Muri races, a Te Aito Cook Islands opening ceremony marked the start of the long-awaited long-distance paddling event for individuals.
Raro Fried Chicken is sponsoring the overall event.
Today’s main events will all be held from Avarua Harbour.
Paddlers should start preparing to race at 10am.
The 12km race for U19 and open women is at 11am, and men will race at 2pm. U19 men will do 12 km, and open men will finish 24km.
Prize giving and closing ceremonies will be in front of Raro Fried Chicken at around at 5 o’clock when all racers are back on land.
For those who haven’t registered, it’s not too late – so long as you get down to the harbour well beforehand.