August 07, 2018
Wind gives Tahitians edge on home waters
Paddlers from Aotearoa have returned from the Va'a Ama World Sprints in Tahiti with fewer medals than the last championship but heightened respect for the skills of their hosts.
French Polynesia took 51 golds in the eight-day regatta to 25 for Aotearoa.
Hilda Halkyard-Harawira, who retained her senior women's title, says it's Tahiti's national sport and the ways the 2000-plus paddlers were managed was superb.
But conditions on the water were tough, and those teams who went up early to acclimatise did better.
"So if you could stay within your own lane just before the start and the wind didn't blow you off course you were lucky. So many teams got knocked out before they even started or weren't able to stay in their lanes because there were swells underneath and currents underneath. Even though it was inside a lagoon, there was a sort of offshore wind that came in off your right side," Ms Halkyard Harawira says.
While the Aotearoa open women and junior women did well, the men had to settle for second at best in their races, and only two clubs came back with medals.
The next IVF Va'a Sprint Championships is on Hilo, Hawai'i in 2020.
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