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Overseas paddlers starting to arrive

Saturday 12 November 2011 | Published in Regional


In less than a week, 600 international paddlers and supporters will converge on Rarotonga for the biggest event on the annual sporting calendar the 2011 Vaka Eiva Festival.

The paddling party starts on Friday November 18 with the vaka blessing ceremony.

In fact, the first international paddlers have already touched down on the rock and this will snowball through the week as paddlers from as far away as Canada join visitors from neighbouring Tahiti, New Zealand and Australia make their way to the island for the fun filled festival.

The festival fun is set to double this year with the programme of events for November 18 to 25 redesigned. This will see all the serious and exciting Vaka Eiva races completed in the first part of the festival week and wrapping up with the fun Muri sprints on the final day of the festival.

The sprints will lead into the Muri Mingler party and wrap up Paddles Up Party of the festival.

Before any partying starts a lot of work is going on in the background to prepare the main venues at Avarua harbour and Muri beach for the week-long paddling festival.

Vaka maintenance work began yesterday with 24 V6 canoes being strapped up for races.

Over 20 individual V1 canoes will be polished up and ready for the races by the owners of the vaka, with a final vaka check to be conducted on Wednesday.

On Wednesday the Vaka Village at Avarua harbour will start to take shape with all canoes stored in the vaka shed to be removed over this weekend ready for shopping stalls and the event headquarters.

On the local scene the national mens squad will have their final round Raro changes race training today while the women will head to Muri beach for sprints training.

So the countdown is on and preparations are in full swing for the biggest sporting event and party week of the year.