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Te Aito is all go

Wednesday 9 June 2010 | Published in Regional

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This weekend, individual paddlers will compete in the first and biggest long-distance rudderless canoe race out of Avarua harbour.

Four paddlers, one from each category, will win a fully-funded trip to Tahiti to compete in the world-renowned Aito Tahiti race.

On Friday, juniors will compete in the Te Aito Tama and on Saturday, open men and women paddlers will compete in Te Aito Cook Islands.

Te Aito Tama, sponsored by Pacific Resort, is open to novices and under-16 paddlers and will kick off the weekend of paddling at Muri. Profits from Te Aito Tama will go toward developing junior paddling in the Cook Islands.

Te Aito will commence the following day.

The 12km course is from the Avarua harbour to Kiikii Motel, where it doubles back all the way to oasis and finishes at the harbour women will complete it once and men and U19 junior men will complete it twice.

First place winners of the each category – junior men, junior women, open men and open women – will win a chance to compete at Aito Tahiti, which attracts some of the best paddlers in the world. This year, over 600 will be competing in the Tahiti race.

Te Aito Cook Islands’ major sponsor is Air Rarotonga, which is covering the cost of four tickets to Tahiti for winners of this weekend’s race.

Supporting sponsors are Cook Islands News, Trader Jack’s Bar & Grill, Island Craft Ltd, Innovative Plastics Ltd and Raro Fried Chicken.

To register, paddlers can contact Vaea Melvin on 55029.

The deadline for early entry has already passed, but to register this week, open paddlers can expect to pay $60 and juniors, $35.

To be eligible to compete, you must have been living in the Cook Islands for at least three months and a registered member of the Cook Islands Canoeing Association and to be eligible to compete as a novice, you must be new to the sport of paddling a rudderless canoe.