Taula Strong VI Series: Paddlers tackle 21.5km race

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WORKING HARD: Esera Aumua.

WORKING HARD: Esera Aumua.

Race II of the Taula Strong V1 Series took off last Saturday with twenty one paddlers challenging themselves to a long and grueling distance of 21.5km. 

The course was very tough for most paddlers but it had to be done in preparations for selecting the best paddlers for Team Samoa come 28 April 2017.

The starting point was at Mulinuu heading down to Faleula for the first turn.

 Then it was back to Mulinuu to continue on down to Taumeasina for another turn around point paddling back to Mulinuu for the finish. 

It was a hard course as a few could not finish the race and for those who did the half course of 12km also thought it to be a tough challenge. 

But if this race was tough then everyone is in for a treat as the next race will be a 24km distance and will begin at the Taumeasina Resort on 25 March. 

To be selected for Team Samoa one has to be able to paddle consistently for 27km at the least because that is the distance of the World Long Distance Championship of Alo Va’a that will be held in Tahiti this year in June. 

“It will be the top eight paddlers as two of our best will be doing the V1 categories on the same day with the V6 Open Men’s category,” say the local race organisers.

“It was unfortunate for us to have two of our best paddlers not being able to paddle in the six-man team but it wasn’t much of an option because Team Samoa has to enter into many categories as possible to have more chances of standing on the podium.”

Nase Uelese is at the top of his game and has a very good chance of placing a medal in the Junior Division. 

Esera Aumua has secured his spot to take on the Open Men V1 category and Elton Petersen has one more race to prove that he is the guy for the Masters category. The open women’s is still to be decided. 

“Samoans as all other Pacific Islanders are natural ocean paddlers and must embrace this sport because this is probably the only sport of the Pacific and the world that originated from the Pacific Island people. 

“A sport that evolved from our way of living and from the voyages our ancestors endured to bring their children to the largest ocean on earth. 

“The sport of Alo Va’a is growing fast with thousands of paddlers joining in every year. Samoa has to participate in these world events every year to keep up with the best of the best of the world. The only way for our paddlers to become elite paddlers is to compete against the best of the world. And by doing that we bring back knowledge of world class paddling events to be passed on to future generations of our Island paddlers.” 

The last race for team selection will be a 27km V1 marathon in April and Team Samoa will be finalized and training will begin for Tahiti. 

“We humbly thank our major sponsor Taula Strong /Tauala Beverage Ltd for their support and also Millenia Hotel for hosting the sausage sizzle and for the venue. 

“We thank our race officials and the Department of Fire & Rescue for the support boat and rescue crew. They make sure everyone stays safe and back on land after the race. Race 3 is on the 25th April. Open Course – 24KM and Fun Course – 8km. Details will be posted on our facebook page. VaaTasiKalapu – Bring Your strong!”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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