Work to be done before Worlds in August for Va’a mens
Samoa’s male paddling team put in the hard yards for the last race of the Va’a competitions of the 2019 Pacific Games, held in Samoa.
The race set out in the heat of the day, and it took Samoa’s team two hours, four minutes and 20 seconds to complete their three 8km laps of the course.
Gold medalists Tahiti rounded out their near clean sweep of the regatta, completing the course ten minutes shy of two hours.
An exhausted team captain, Elton Petersen, said the team was fatigued but satisfied with their efforts.
Petersen is the oldest of his team at age 42, while the youngest of their group is 17-year-old Afele Tupu.
“I feel relieved, it’s a long race,” he said.
“We have been training but not enough for the long distance like this, just 15 or 16 kilometres.
“We needed more than that, and consistently.”
But coming in fifth place is still an achievement to be proud of, he said. But more exposure to tournaments would mean a real chance at a medal.
Next month, Peterson and several others will travel to Australia to compete in the 2019 World Distance Champs of the International Va’a Federation, which begins on the 9th of August.
That leaves just three weeks for the men to train on their long-distance performance.
“Now we know where to add more training, and have more time in the water,” Petersen said.
He said looping around each lap was especially tough. Looking back and seeing how far they have come, and how far they had to go was hard.
“But it is all mental. We have done the training, we have done the work, but it was a lack of experience.”
He said Samoa needs more tournaments, and more paddlers joining the various clubs in the country.
With the new va’a in the country for the Pacific Games, Petersen hopes there can be a school regatta which will encourage younger people to take up the sport.
Around the Pacific, paddling is a national sport. It could be that way in Samoa too, Petersen said.
The Va’a V6 24km sprint team is Jonathan Porter, Elton Petersen, Afele Tupu, Esera Aumua, Sialafua Lova and Maoluga Onesemo.
Next months World Champs team is currently: Elton Peterson, Sialfua Lova, Afele tupu, Andrew Wheatley, Jonathan Porter, Billy Peters and Tavita Paea who is currently based in Hawaii.