Nafanua gears up for regatta

By Vatapuia Maiava 21 August 2016, 12:00AM

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

The Nafanua paddling club understands this common saying as they undertake some great preparations for the upcoming International Alo Paopao tournament.

Kicking off this coming Saturday, the Alo Paopao tournament will see some top overseas paddlers visit our shores and will ultimately put Samoa on the paddling world map.

With the popular local club hosting the event, the pressure is on to push their limits and put up a tough competition.

But the family-like bond between the team will help share the load.

“We have just been getting together as a team,” Pearl Hosokawa, one of club leaders told the Sunday Observer.

“Our men, women and juniors have just been training really hard together and that helps build us as a team.

“We strengthen one another, we compete with each other and we push each other; we are a family on and off the water.”

“So we would do land trainings, long distance trainings on the water and we will do sprints and conditionings but the main thing for us is to just build a bond.”

According to Ms. Hosokawa their strategy is not an elaborate one.

“Our strategy is simple,” she said.

“We are just going to go out there and leave everything out on the water; we will be trying to just have fun the whole time.”

Ms. Hosokawa also admitted that there will be pressure to perform as a host but claims it’s the same kind of pressure felt before every one of her races.

“For me… there will be so much pressure when we go out onto the water for a race,” she said.

“We have local teams who are awesome, we have overseas teams and it just comes down to going out there and wanting to win more than the others. “There will always be that pressure of being the host of course but I know my team and I trust them; we just have to give it our all when we go out.”

Ms. Hosokawa also understands how tough the tournament is but assures Samoa that our local teams will not disappoint.

“It’s going to be a pretty tough race this year,” she said. “I know the local teams have been training very hard and I also know the overseas teams are doing the same and they are pretty good.”

“We have raced a lot of overseas teams over the years and it’s very competitive and it’s just great to get that feel of where we stand internationally.”

“The Alopaopao is a great opportunity for all the local teams to be able to compete and test our skills.”

The presence of the overseas competitors will not only boost tourism, it will also help our local paddlers develop some new skills.

“We are fortunate enough to have overseas teams to come over and bring their level here,” Ms. Hosokawa said.

“For them to come here help gage us in our trainings and what it’s actually like overseas… so we compete against these competitors and now we can get an understanding of what their side is and how they train.”

“We talk, hang out and we discuss and give pointers on the differences and similarities which will help us develop our skills more.”

And if you are interested in the sport then Ms. Hosokawa and the Nafanua club invites you with open arms. “We love the sport and if anyone wants to come down for training then just come down,” she said.

“We have a junior programme as well so anyone at any age can join us and become a competitive paddlers; if you’re all about being a competitive paddler and having a good time then come and be part of the family.”

By Vatapuia Maiava 21 August 2016, 12:00AM

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