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Saturday 26 May 2012 | Published in Regional


Paddling to the best of their abilities and with respect to the Moana and Cook Islands paddlers are the aims of visiting Tahitian paddlers Thomas Hauata and Taaroaiti Teheiura who will take on the 24km Te Aito Cook Islands race this morning.

For 21-year-old emerging paddler Taaroaiti – the forecasted big waves and strong winds will make for exciting racing.

The young Tahitian paddler has been paddling competitively for the past four years, however like most Tahitians, oe vaka is a way of life that they are introduced to as soon as they can walk.

Taaroaiti has raced in the Arimatatini 24km race as well as the huge 83km Rangiroa Channel crossing race as part of a V6 crew for his club Tahitian Ohana.

Through translator and local paddler Vaea Melvin, Taaroaiti says he is looking forward to taking on the Cook Islands top paddler Reuben Dearlove.

”I will try to be up there with Reuben Dearlove because anything can happen out there – but at the same time like all paddlers I will try my best and be respectful to all paddlers,“ commented Taaroaiti.

Fellow Tahitian paddler Thomas Hauata is just happy to be part of Te Aito Cook Islands.

The 54-year-old is passionate about all things oe va’a and is a well known vaka builder and his canoe brand ‘Tupuai Manu’ has carried many paddlers to the top of the outrigger podium.

Outrigger canoeing is a hobby for the masters paddler who practises the art of va’a up to three times a week in between coaching paddlers and building canoes.

He says the biggest outrigger race he has competed in is the Havaiki Nui race. For today’s race he aims to have a podium finish in the masters division and was also looking forward to big surf on the ocean this morning.