Napier will come alive this weekend as more than 1000 paddlers and supporters arrive for the 2017 Te Wānanga o Aotearoa sponsored Waka Ama Long Distance National Championships.
The Championships, taking place from 13th and 14th October, will attract 53 Clubs and 800 paddlers from Kaitaia to Christchurch. The event is hosted by local clubs along with Waka Ama New Zealand and supported by local iwi, the Port of Napier, the Napier City Council and the Napier Sailing Club.
The Napier Sailing Club is the hub of all activity for the weekend and providing on water support and safety throughout the event.
Friday the 13th will see paddlers compete in Single waka races of 10km or 16km distances.
Saturday 14th the team races will take place. Teams of 6 will race over 28km for adults, 16km for Juniors and 10km for Para (Adaptive racing).
Lara Collins, Chief Executive of Waka Ama New Zealand, said that the Long Distance Nationals is the highlight of our distance season.
“Paddlers have been training for months for these championships. The marathon event tests their limits and we often see some epic sprints to the finish line for those top placings,” says Collins.
“Entries in the competition are huge and we are guaranteed to see some outstanding performances of athleticism, power and endurance on the water. Waka Ama is growing quickly in Napier and around the rest of the country, which is exciting and great that the local community are really getting behind the event.”
For the championships, clubs will compete for national honours in one, two or six man paddler teams over distances of 10km, 16km, and 28km. The paddlers will compete in various age classes on a course that promises to challenge the most experienced paddlers.
The first race begins at 10:00am on Friday 13 October.