After months of training and trials, the National Paddling Team for Samoa is almost finalised.
Paddlers are gearing up the International Va’a Federation (I.V.F.) Long Distance Championships in Tahiti.
Tahiti is the paddling capital of the world. The best of the best come out of Tahiti, and it’s great for Samoa to send a team to test their skill against the best from around the world.
During a press conference at Millenia Hotel, President of S.O.C.A., Billy Peters shared that he , “is proud to announce that Samoa will be competing in the first ever IVF Long Distance World Championships.
“It’s been over 10 years since Samoa has selected a national team that consisted of local paddlers. It was four or five years ago that the paddlers competed in New Caledonia but the paddlers were from New Zealand.”
Mr. Peters said taking a team to Tahiti, is an incredible opportunity.
“To have this event in Tahiti is mind blowing. To go to any country and compete in the sport of paddling is a great thing. But we’re going to a place where the sport originated from, Tahiti,” he said.
“The first va’a racing sprints started in Tahiti and now its the first long distance va’a racing again. It’s just a great thing to be apart of. Seven guys of this 12 will be making history for Samoa.”
“We’ve been doing trials runs since last year, October. We’ve had seven other trial races . The total numbers of paddlers that were involved in the trials was 25 and now we have done the final cut to 12 that will be going in to the second phase of training.”
S.O.C.A. is only looking to take a team of seven due to financial constrictions but have asked the government for assistance to grow the sport of paddling in Samoa.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to go overseas and compete against the best of the best of the world and gain that experience and gain that knowledge and bring it back to Samoa. And then pass it on to the next generation.”
“We’ve reached out to corporate sponsors and small businesses. We’ve also asked the government to help out and they are looking into it. Without proper government funding, we still may be able to go but we won’t be able to eat or drink and just sleep on the beach and wait for race day.”
Top 12 Paddlers
Name, Division, Club, Total Distance, Overall Points
1. Gase Uelese: Juniors, Tautai ,145,7850
2. Esera Aumua : Open ,Tautai ,130,6800
3. Tasi Esekia: Open, Tautai ,145, 5750
4. Elton Petersen: Masters ,Laumei, 145, 5650
5. Paulie Schmidt: Masters, Laumei, 135.5, 5150
6. Billy Peters: Masters, Laumei, 145 ,4900
7. Tupu Sefo: Open ,Nafanua, 123.50, 4400
8. Dan Conley: Open, Nafanua, 94.5, 4050
9. Johnathon Porter: Open ,Laumei, 123.5, 3700
10. Siala Lova: Open, Nafanua, 106, 3525
11. Eddie Peseta: Open, Laumei, 72, 2450
12. Lucas Soomalelagi: Open, Tautai, 47, 1350
Tautai Outrigger Canoe Club
Nafanua Kalapu Alopaopao
Vaailaufoe Outrigger Canoe Club
Laumei Outrigger Canoe Club
Taumeasina Island Resort
Te Namo Bar