Local paddlers gear up for Tahiti

Twenty paddlers from four different clubs tackled an 18km V1 race last week Saturday.

The paddlers came from Laumei O.C.C, Tautai O.C.C., Nafanua O.C.C and Vaai Lau Foe.

Media Officer of the KalapuVaa 1, Jonathan Porter, said the race is part of preparations for the World Championships in Tahiti in June.

“All races until team selection date will be at 18km in distance and the last race will be a 24km V6 Marathon hosted by the The Taula Strong Team before the national team leaves for Tahiti,” he said.

“For today’s race alone is an 18km and the distance throughout the season is varied from 17km to 21 km, so the race course is from Mulinuu to the fish market, then inside the harbor and then we go straight out to Palolo Deep and then back here.”

Asked if there is an age limit, Mr. Porter said there is none.

“There’s no age limit but our youngest paddler is a 16 year old who is also the top paddler,” he said.

“His name is Gasē Uelese and he attends Pesega College, but he is the top paddler at the moment.”

In an interview with the top paddler he told the Samoa Observer that it’s all about hard work.

“I have only been paddling for a year now and I love it,” said Mr.Uelese.

“I started last year with the help of Tone and Siaosi who are still in the group but I have always had the passion for paddling.

“It’s hard but it also requires hardcore training and especially fitness is the most important level when it comes to paddling.

“Because the sport is different from all the other sports, fitness is the number one part of the sport.”

He went on to say that he started from the bottom.

“When I first started I was in 8th place and then I tried again I moved up to 3rd place and now I am ranked number one so that tells me that I am still moving forward.

“I train twice a day every day. I start from here and end up at Mapuifagalele and then I come back.  It may seem hard but once people get the hang of it, it becomes easy.”

Mr. Uelese went on to say that it was a passion that he had for paddling that brought him this far.

“I’m just blessed to have this talent,” he told the Samoa Observer.

“If it wasn’t a God given talent I know I wouldn’t make it this far, plus the blessings from my parents and family.

“I believe that’s what made me move forward and keep going it’s because I have the support from my family especially my parents.

“Right now my aim is to make it to the Tahiti World Championships this year in June, because I would love to represent our country and show the world that we can do it.”

Mr. Uelese is the son of AumuaIoane and Avena Misilei of Sataua Savaii and Talimatau.

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