Outrigger Canoe kick start the new year

By Sina Filifilia Sevaaetasi ,

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PADDLING THE MIGHTY PACIFIC: Team Nafanua who placed third in the Open Mens and second in the Mixed Teams.

PADDLING THE MIGHTY PACIFIC: Team Nafanua who placed third in the Open Mens and second in the Mixed Teams. (Photo: Misiona Simo)

It’s time to shed the holiday pounds and get back into training.  

At the weekend, the Samoa Outrigger Canoe Association (S.O.C.A.) hosted its annual S.O.C.A. Opening Regatta for the year.

The Regatta saw four tough teams compete: Tautai, Nafanua, Milenia and Laumei in two divisions: Mixed Teams (2 girls and 4 boys) and the Men’s Open.  

The weather was perfect out on the open ocean at the starting point in Mulinu’u.  Friends, family and of  course the competitors gathered for an exciting day on the water.  

For the mixed teams, Tautai led the pack by the nose of their va’a coming in a hair faster than runners up, Nafanua. Team Milenia came in third.

The Men’s Open was definitely a nail biter. They travelled a much further distance than the mixed teams but all the va’as were neck to neck on their return.  But finally it was Team Laumei who finished strongly just seconds ahead of the others.  

Afterwards, the clubs gathered for the prize giving and were rewarded with a well deserved sausage sizzle and enjoyed each other’s great company.    

Not only was this a competition, the Regatta also served as a way to raise awareness about the sport and attract more people who are keen to give it a go.

The secretary of S.O.C.A , Frances Mahealani Te’o stated,”Obviously, when we have regattas like this, we’re also promoting the sport to get more paddlers and get more people to come in and join the fun.  There are different clubs for them to join.”

According to Ms. Te’o, each club has social paddling days for beginners who want to try their skills on the water.  During these social paddling days, anyone at any skill level can join in and learn the basics of paddling.  

Not only does hosting regattas like this one expose the sport to a greater audience, it is a way to kick start the clubs back into competitive mode  to prepare for an eventful year ahead of them.

This year, S.O.C.A. is planning on taking a national team to represent Samoa in June at the International Va’a Federations Va’a World Championship in Tahiti.   The competition will consist of 34 countries featuring some of the best, elite paddlers. 

Therefore, the clubs are preparing even more in strenuously for the big event.  

 

Results:

Mixed Teams

1st Tautai 31.48.02

2nd Nafanua 32.33.95

3rd Milenia 34.23.70

 

Open Mens 

1st Laumei 45.24.01

2nd Tautai 45.44.80

3rd Nafanua 45.46.84

© Samoa Observer 2016

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