The Vailima Alopaopao International Paddling Festival 2017 kicked off on Saturday with the Opening Ceremony at 9.30am at Apia Beach Front, opposite Sheraton Samoa Hotel & Bungalows.
This included a key note address from the Minister of Education, Sports & Culture, Loau Keneti Sio.
Loau welcomed all the overseas paddlers to Samoa, and acknowledged the hard work of the Alo Paopao Committee to organise this type of event for the benefit of the Samoan economy.
The finale of the event, was a traditional ava ceremony hosted by the village of Apia on the waterfront, to acknowledge the special guests and welcome overseas International Paddlers and clubs to Samoa.
The Pulenuu of Apia, Tuiletufuga Siaosi Tuiletufuga, also acknowledged all the overseas paddlers and was proud for Apia village to be hosting this year’s festival on the Apia beach front.
The Sprint Day on Saturday, featured 10 international teams with paddlers and 7 local teams, a total of 130 paddlers registered to race. Overseas clubs included two Vaka Manu Junior teams (Manukau, NZ) and a range of Open Mens, Womens & Masters teams/ clubs – two teams from Pasefika (NZ), Awa (NZ), Hikoikoi (NZ), Moana Gals (NZ), Tai Tonga (NZ), Koa Kai (Sydney, Australia) and Atafa i Moana (American Samoa). Local clubs who took part in races were Laumei, Pualele, Vaai Lau Foe and Nafanua.
The Sprints, were followed by a Beach Day on Sunday, which included traditional Paopao races, a fun V1 relay race, umu demonstration and a traditional to’onai lunch held at Ocean Club Headquaters, Fiafia Village, Maninoa Beach, Siumu.
This year, with support from UN Women, Alo Pao Pao dedicated the festival to Ending Violence Against Women. Va’as Against Violence will promote awareness by having the signature color Orange on all festival memorabilia.
The 25th of every month has been designated “Orange Day” to raise awareness and take action to end violence against women and girls not only once a year on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November), but every month. As a bright and optimistic color, orange represents a future free from violence and promotes positive solutions to EVAW.
On Saturday at the Sprint event, all the paddlers wore white & orange Alo Paopao t-shirts in support of this great cause. The Festival Director Ulugia Jay Schuster also acknowledged that he is proud to utilise paddling as a sport and the Vailima Alo Paopao festival to raise awareness on this important issues, and highlighted the importance of looking after our women and families in Samoa.
This year’s Vailima Alo Paopao races also featured one of New Zealand’s top up and coming paddlers Kimi Taliauli from Vaka Manu Paddling Club (Manukau, Auckland). Kimi is currently the New Zealand Junior 23 V1 Champ and his club team, Vaka Manu, is the current World Sprint Open Men’s 500m champion team. Kimi is Tongan, and he also has Samoan heritage, as his grandfather is from the Fuimaono family.
Also attending Alo Paopao for the sixth year in a row, is Jeff Ah Kuoi from Pineula Paddling Club (Takapuna, Auckland). His team, Pineula Club Open Mens and Masters teams, are currently the New Zealand Long Distance champions, and Masters National and World Sprint champions. Jeff is a long time supporter of Alo Paopao & the development of paddling as a sport in Samoa. He hails from the village of Salani.
The Le Aito V1 Paddling regatta, to be held on Saturday 2nd September, will feature one of Tahiti’s top V1 paddlers, Noho Tahiata. He will be arriving in Samoa on Tuesday 29th August to prepare for this race. Noho is currently living in New Zealand, and paddling for the Pineula Paddling club in Auckland.
The Vailima Alopaopao Committee hopes to continue to attract world class paddlers to Samoa, and give our local paddlers the opportunity to race them here in Samoa, as travelling to overseas paddling regattas has always been a challenge financially to the local paddling clubs. However, paddling against these top paddlers is the best way to develop as individuals & teams.
The Vailima Alo Paopao Committee would like to acknowledge all the support from sponsors for making this year’s event possible.
The Long Distance Races will be held on Tuesday 29th & Wednesday 30th August on Apia Harbour beachfront. The public are welcome to come & watch, races start at 10am. The Vailima Alopaopao Festival will wrap up with a Cultural Show and Closing Ceremony on Wednesday evening.
The 2nd annual Le Aito V1 International Paddling Regatta on Saturday 2nd September at Taumeasina Island Resort. The paddling competition will feature 21 international paddlers and 20 local paddlers, competing in Open Mens, Womens and Masters categories.
Followed by the Le Aito Beach Party at Taumeasina Island Resort. The Party will feature Headline Acts, Beau Monga, Winner of NZ X Factor 2015 & Nofo Lameko, NZ X Factor contestant 2015, as well as local artists, Ozki Band and Tyrone Schwalger.
Here is an overview of the remaining events for the Vailima Alo Paopao & Le Aito Schedule of Events over the next week:
Tuesday 29th & Wednesday 30th August 2017 – Vailima Alopaopao Long Distance Races
Time: 10.00am - 1.00pm
Venue: Sheraton Beach, opposite Sheraton Hotel and Bungalows, Vaisigano
Saturday 2nd September – Le Aito International V1 Paddling Regatta & Party
Paddling Event Time: 3pm-5pm
Party Time: 5pm until late
Venue: Taumeasina Island Resort
Here are the official results from the Vailima Alo Paopao Festival Sprints on Saturday 26th August and traditional paopao & V1 Relay races on Sunday 27th August:
Sprint Race Results – Saturday 26th August
V1 Juniors Finals 250m
1. Cassius Felise - Vaka Manu
2. Jack Laban, Nafanua
3. Paora Leef, Vaka Manu
V1 Masters Men Finals 250m
1. Jay Schuster, Nafanua
2. Jeff Ah Kuoi, Pineula
3. Kevin Hadfield, Nafanua
V1 Mens Finals 250m
1. Jay Schuster - Nafanua
2. Kimi Tauauli - Vaka Manu
3. Siala Lova - Nafanua
V6 Master Women Final 500m
2. Koa Kai
3. Te Ururoa Hikoikoi
V6 Mix Open Finals 500m
2. Nafanua 1
3. Nafanua 2
V6 Open Women Finals 500m
2. Koa Kai
V6 Men Finals 500m
2. Nafanua Men 1
3. Vaka Manu Black
V6 Juniors Boys Finals 250m
1. Vaka Manu Red
3. Vaka Manu Black
V6 Master Women Finals 250m
1. Te Ururoa Hikoikoi
2. Koa Kai
3. Moana Galz, NZ
V6 Open Women Finals 250m
V6 Open Mix Finals 250m
1. Nafanua 1
3. Nafanua 2
V6 Open Men Finals 250m
2. Vaka Manu Black
3. Nafanua 1
Traditional Paopao & V1 Relay Results – Sunday 27th August 2017:
Traditional Paopao race:
1. Piki Lutu
2. Fili Mafiti
3. Leo Salatini
Junior Race V1:
1. Mason – Vaka Manu
2. Banana – Vaka Manu
3. Thunder – Vaka Manu
Masters Women OC1
1. Pualele / Tai Tonga
2. Tu Nui / Moana Girls
Masters V1 Men
1. 3 Amigos (Jay/ Jeff/ Tim)
Open Womens OC1
1. Team Moni (Annie & Nafanua women)
Open Womens V1
1. Aotearoa (Shanara/ Rachel/ Kat – NZ)
Open Mens V1
1. 3 Stooges (Laumei/ Vaai Lau Foe Men)
2. Hotline (Vaka Manu Men)