Pacific Resort-sponsored Te Aito Tama kicks off this afternoon with a welcome at Muri at 4.15pm.
Boys and girls under 16 will do a two kilometre race at 4.30, and novice men and women will do four kilometres at 5.15.
Some of the islands up and coming paddling stars will line up for the under 16 race including Kimiora Taulu who comes from the Taulu paddling family with mum Teina, older sister Emeline older brother Johnny all taking part in tomorrow’s main Aito race.
Aitutaki’s top under 16 steerer Moana Maoate will also line up for the under 16 girls while Damon Tamariki and Andrew Tutaka are the ones to watch in the under 16 boys division.
Newcomers to oe vaka Aloma Moore and Rere Tuaputa will line up in the novice women while accomplished paddler Roland Maru is opting to race in the novice men’s division.
Closing ceremonies will be on Muri beach at 6pm.
After the Muri races, a Te Aito Cook Islands opening ceremony will mark the start of the long-awaited long-distance paddling event.
Raro Fried Chicken is sponsoring the opening ceremony, which will take place at its Avarua premises and begins tonight at 6 o’clock.
And tomorrow, the inaugural Te Aito Cook Islands gets underway.
Paddlers should start preparing to race at 10am.
The 12km race for U19 and open women is at 11am, and men will race at 2pm – U19 men will do 12 km, and open men will finish 24km.
Prize giving and closing ceremonies will be in front of Raro Fried Chicken at Avarua harbour at 5pm tomorrow when all racers are back on land.
For those who haven’t registered, it’s not too late – and remember that race organisers have dropped the late fee.