Sheraton Aito heats up

By Vatapuia Maiava 07 August 2016, 12:00AM

Samoa will soon be the place to be for paddlers from all over the world.

With the launch of an event with the ability to attract over 900 paddlers from all over the globe; Samoa’s tourism sector will become the busiest people on Island.

The major paddling event usually held in Tahiti; The Sheraton Super Aito V1 race will be held here on 3 September this year.

“We are happy to announce that we are launching the Sheraton Aito Samoa,” said one of the event organizers Ulugia Jay Ah Fook. 

“This race is the premier race in Tahiti for one man paddling where every year the Tahitian hosts 900 paddlers from around the world to compete with the best. We all know that Tahiti is the top in the world with paddling as far as one man canoeing goes; it is very exciting for us and we are also hoping to attract not only the Tahitians but everyone else who will want to come down and compete.”

According to Ulugia, much negotiations went into bringing the event to Samoa but the success of the talks will mean that Samoa will be hosting the extravagant event annually.

“Tahiti has come onboard which we are happy with,” he said. “After successful negotiations with their paddling federations we are able to bring this race to Samoa.

“Every year we will be hosting this event and again; there will be more and more Tahitians coming to Samoa which will continue to bring more and more paddlers to Samoa.”

One thing is certain for the Super Aito… it is not for the faint hearted.

“This race requires a lot of discipline and training; it is a very grueling race and it is a great opportunity for Samoa,” Ulugia said.

“So we will be having three categories for the race; for the women’s we will be having a 12km race, for the men we will have a 22km race… this will be a one man canoe going from the harbour to Solosolo and then back.

“We will also be having a relay race to give people who are not at that level the opportunity to race as a team; they will have three paddlers where each will do 6km each.

“It is a very exciting year for us this year and I am also very proud of the achievements that we have done in the past years.”

Another exciting launch which will help assist Samoa for the events is the launch of a new boat building factory coming in soon.

“We are also very excited that we have the first Boat Fiberglass factory here in Samoa which we hope to launch in the next couple of weeks,” Ulugia said.

“To be able to build boats here in Samoa is great; to get to the next level of paddling we need equipment; we can bring as many people to Samoa, we can have as many people paddling but without this equipment… we cannot grow the sport.

“So we will be showcasing some of the products coming out very soon.”

According to Ulugia, bringing up the sport of paddling is no easy task but he is thankful for the support of sponsors who has made so much happen for the sport. “So much thanks goes out to our sponsors who have come on board,” he said.

“It has been a struggling sport to put through but without the support of our sponsors… everything has been a very successful. “I also want to say a big thank you to our sponsor Vailima Breweries; they have been a great injection into the sport and I think for a lot of people they have seen a lot of increase in the sport and a lot more exposure. 

“That has a lot to do with Vailima and their staff. “For Sheraton who has come on board for the Super Aito series, they have been very supportive and we are very proud to part of a great chain; thank you also to the Grey Family for their support.

“P.F.L, Siva Afi and M&J Ah Fook we are very thankful for your support.”

By Vatapuia Maiava 07 August 2016, 12:00AM

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