The women and Under-19 juniors taking part in that race took on the challenge and set off on a grueling 7 kilometre and 14 km race.
The race course is always set according to the weather and sea conditions on the day, with the paddlers starting from the iconic Boiler, up to Club Raro, down to Ride Raro then back up and in to Avarua harbour to complete the first of 1, 2 or 3 course circuits.
Serena Hunter won the women’s 14km race with a time of 1:45:17 hours to reward her for months of dedicated training, skill and technique that proved too strong for her competition.
Top open women’s paddler, Tara Cumming, placed second on 1:54:25 and up and coming U19 junior, Ioana Puna, came in third (1:54:40)
First across the line in the junior men’s 14km race was U16 champion Teava Maoate (1:44:59).
Everyone who watched him race on Saturday were blown away at how this young man has progressed in his paddling skills over the season, winning ahead of older, U19 competitors. Maoate has a great future in paddling ahead of him. Otea Tommy back from his studies in Auckland finished in a creditable second place (1:45:07) and Rshart Henry took out third (1:50:13)
The men’s race started at 2pm with the weather gods giving them slightly better conditions than the women and juniors encountered in the first race.
Past Te Aito Cook Islands champion, Tahitian, Raunui Makiroto, was out there at the start line, along with local champion, Andre Tutaka-George and a strong group of experienced open and Masters division paddlers.
Makiroto led all the way round the challenging 21km course and won the race (2:11:58), having trained solidly for this event for the previous three months. Hours every day on the water, along with intensive land-based training ensured he was in top condition to take on all comers.
Young local champion Tutaka-George finished second (2:14:56) and Masters paddler Esben Torget took out third spot (2:16:09).
There were races within races, and the local master men competitors ensured that the racing stayed exciting, right up to some tight finishes.
The successful Te Aito 2017 event ended with a prize giving, delicious kai-kai and celebrations, hosted by On The Rocks Bar and Grill.