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Sprints, partying at Muri

Thursday 25 November 2010 | Published in Regional

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The weather at Muri yesterday was perfect for Vaka Eiva partying and sprint races with some great times seen throughout the days racing.

A rousing and spine tingling Turou (traditional welcome) got the blood of the 600 plus paddlers and supporters pumping as they were escorted across Muri beach by fierce Cook Islands warriors.

The Turou, organised by Pacific Resort, included drummers lined up along the beach, chanting warriors and a traditional fishing canoe carrying a warrior blowing a conch shell.

At the sprint venue next to Sails Restaurant and Bar – landowner Papa Tangaroa performed a chant for the paddlers before waving them through to their playground in the sun.

A total of 50 sprint races were held over the 500m course at Muri providing a full day for paddling action.

Just as much fun was had during the novelty races that really got paddlers mixing and mingling with new and old friends.

The perfect conditions at Muri saw the local Boiler Boys international crew set the fastest time of the day – two minutes flat in their open men’s sprint finals.

It was a tight final race as Outrigger New Zealand were only a second behind the Boiler Boys in the finals followed by Team Kina in third.

Wins in the grand finals were evenly shared by the nations taking part in the Vaka Eiva Festival.

Many paddlers stayed away from the friendly bars at Muri beach what with two more full days of racing ahead including the mixed round Raro relay today and the Pacific Paddle and Pacific Cup round Raro relay on Friday.

Paddling gets underway today with the under 19 15km open ocean race at 8am with the main race of the day – the round Raro mixed relay starting at 10.30am from Avarua harbour.