March 11, 2019
Solo paddlers ready for Tahiti spectacle
More than 200 paddlers battled rain and the first touch of Autumn off Kohimarama Beach over the weekend to compete for free airfares to Tahiti.
The winners of the solo open and junior men's and women's Aotearoa Aito Waka Ama races will fly on Air Tahiti Nui to take part in Te Aito, one of Tahiti's premier va'a events, in July.
Waka Ama NZ chief executive Lara Collins says Te Aito is a great spectacle, which attracts a growing number of paddlers from Aotearoa each year.
"It happens in Mahina at Point Venus which is quite a historical spot, 28 km for the men, the women and juniors do a 14km course. It's pretty exciting, they get over 1200 paddlers, and on the start line of the men's race there are 700 padders, it's an amazing sight to see," she says.
The women's open was again won by Marianaa Hodges from Wellington, while new migrant Manutea Millon win a trip back to his homeland as the men's open winner.
Up and coming paddler Kacey Ngataki won the junior men's race, and Makayla Timoti from Rotorua won her first junion women's title and ther air ticket.
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