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New M2M race at Aitutaki

Friday 18 November 2011 | Published in Regional


Aitutaki is adding a new and exciting addition to the week of paddling this year with an inaugural Motu to Motu race on the stunning atoll of Aitutaki.

The 36km V6 mixed changeover race will be held on Monday, November 28, after the Vaka Eiva week and will include some 96 paddlers making up eight crews from New Zealand, Australia and Rarotonga.

The race will have seven legs that will take paddlers from motu to motu dotted around the Aitutaki lagoon.

Leg one of the race will be a 6km course that will take paddlers from the Arutanga wharf to Honeymoon Island for the first changeover.

The second leg is another 6km course from Honeymoon Island to a shallow water changeover point before the 5km third leg to Moturakau Island.

From Moturakau Island paddlers will race another 6km to the famous One Foot Island and then another 5km to Akaiami Island.

The last two legs of the race are both 4km distances from Akaiami to a deep water change at Papau and from there to the finishing line at Ootu beach.

Organising committee spokesperson Stephen Doherty says that it was common sense to run the Motu to Motu during the same time as the Vaka Eiva Festival.

He says that the Motu to Motu event was an idea that was forged out of a weekend paddle from the Arutanga Wharf to Maina Motu for the Aitutaki clubs to have a picnic day.

More was said about creating an event and now we are about to host the first on the 28th of November, says Doherty.

The uniqueness of this event is of course our beautiful lagoon. Due to its versatility we are able to hold a long distance change over race within our reef thus making the event do-able any day of the year regardless of the conditions outside.

Doherty predicts the first event will be a fun gathering of paddlers which he hopes will grow into a racethat will become a very competitive.

But for now its a chance to showcase our island of Aitutaki and to see the lagoon from a seat in the water.

Each vaka will have a support boat and there will be two marshall boats in the water as well one leading and one trailing.

Full safety aspects have been put in place for the event, with Red Cross medical staff on the water in support boats.

There will be string bands, dance troupes and fire dancers to entertain throughout the event and of course in the evening.

This we see as a seeding event to put M2M on the international paddling calendar.

We are positive that the paddlers coming to M2M will no doubt spread the word and next year we will have more international interest, says Doherty.

We are also looking at M2M being one of three possible events on Aitutaki in the week following Vaka Eiva, the other two options being fun sprint events in the lagoon in either and should weather permit a 50km around Aitutaki race.

Any paddling crews and supporters keen to be part of this budding event contact Poppy Doherty on and get involved.