Alo Paopao excitement

By Vatapuia Maiava ,

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MAKING THE ANNOUNCEMENT: Ulugia Jay Ah Fook.

MAKING THE ANNOUNCEMENT: Ulugia Jay Ah Fook.

The paddling community will be placing Samoa on the map for international paddlers with the upcoming Alo Paopao festival.

Beginning this month, the festival will see paddlers from all over the world test their skills on local waters.

The announcement was made at the Ocean Club Headquarters, Matautu, on Friday.

 “It is not only a festival international regatta but it is also a season; it is a growth where we don’t have just one a year but we actually have around 10,” said Ulugia Jay Ah Fook.

“In the past years when we first started back in 1987 the first world sprints that we participated in where Tuatagaloa was part of; they came in fourth which was a big achievement for Samoa.”

The excitement comes from the range of paddlers taking part in the event with a lot of them being some of the best in the world.

 “We will start on the 27th of August with the 26th being our registration day where we welcome all the paddlers from overseas,” Ulugia said. “We have paddlers from New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii, American Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and of course here in Samoa.

“We have big range of people coming over and one of the things we largely try and promote here with Alo Paopao is to attract all the world class paddlers.”

According to Ulugia, not only will the event be great for Tourism but it will also give great opportunities to our local paddlers.

“It is very costly for us to send 6 or 10 people overseas but bringing them over here will not only give us the experience to paddle with world class paddlers but we also get experience of organizing the event,” he said.

“The biggest thing with sports in Samoa is we all strive to be the best but I think the standard of competition or an event is what lifts that level of sports in Samoa.

“We want to be able to organize the event to a level that will allow our paddlers to aim to win or have a set of goals for.”

Ulugia assures everyone that our local paddlers have been preparing for such a moment.

“Our local paddlers have all lifted up our game over the last four years,” he said.

“Not only Nafanua club but all other paddle clubs; these regattas are very important for us to test out our training and to also compare where we are to the rest of the world. “I will like to congratulate all those clubs and I look forward to seeing them all compete with the overseas teams.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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