As Samoa continues its preparations to host the Pacific Games next year, Samoa’s Outrigger Canoe Clubs in the country are also preparing for the Vaa competition.
Last weekend, a six person vaa (V6) regatta was held at Apia Harbor hosted by Tautai Outrigger Canoe Club, one of Samoa’s premiere outrigger clubs.
Fourty seven paddlers in teams of six competed in three race categories - Open Men 10km, Open Women 10km, Open Mixed 3.4km and Social 2km.
Lucas Sooaemalelagi, President of the Tautai Outrigger Club spoke at the Prize Giving event at Home Café Malifa about the importance of racing events for all paddling clubs.
“This event is not only to compete but also for us to help with preparations for next year’s Pacific Games,” said Sooaemalelagi.
“Even though the other clubs are not here with us, this kind of event builds us up and helps us towards what we want to achieve next year.”
Almost fifty paddlers from across the country, representing Laumei Outrigger Club, Nafanua Kalapu Alo Paopao and Tautai Outrigger Canoe Club took part in the competition.
Laumei took out the Open Men 10km race with Tautai coming in second. Over to the women’s race, Nafanua won first place with their Open Women’s team followed closely by Laumei. The Open Mixed teams, made up of both men and women, fought a good fight with Laumei 1 coming out on top, followed by Nafanua in second, Laumei 2 in third place and Tautai finishing fourth.
The most exciting moments from race day came in the Social category where a mix of novice and seasoned paddlers battled it out on a short 2km course within the Harbour.
Two teams from Tautai beat out a strong Laumei vaa to take out first and second place, providing a lot of fun and laughter for the Social paddlers and supporters on the beach and seawall.
Tautai’s President Sooaemalelagi acknowledged the support of all clubs as well as sponsors who donated in to the prize pool.
“On behalf of the Tautai Club members I would like to say a big thank you to the companies who supported our regatta, especially Farmer Joe for always backing our Club’s efforts, Home Café Samoa for the space for our prize giving event, M&J Ah Fook, Eveni Sport, Samoa Stationary and Books, Lani’s, Olasina Catering and others who kindly gave of their time and resources to make sure we all had a great day of racing and fellowship.”