In previous years sprint racing has been held at Muri Lagoon but following the success of the corporate race days, Cook Islands Canoeing Association made the decision to change venues and it was certainly a big hit with the paddlers.
A plague of juvenile bluebottles was blowing across the lagoon and many paddlers were wary of the nasty-looking creatures. However, they were in fact quite harmless, as their stinging tentacles have yet to form, so everyone was safe and well.
A good crowd was present to cheer the competing teams and the short 200m course threw up many close finishes, making the judges really earn their kaikai.
After the completion of heats some fun stand-up paddleboard races were held and there were plenty of spills and laughs to keep the crowd amused. A good number of first-timers tried their luck at this popular sport.
A short lunch break and then the finals started in earnest, and every race was a blanket finish.
On completion of the event the paddlers enjoyed the great party atmosphere. Hosts Vaiana’s certainly looked after everyone extremely well and with Thursday a designated rest day, competitors stayed and played for quite a while enjoying great food and drinks as well as a beautiful beach venue.
There was no extra charge for the sunset, either.
- Harvie Allison.