Topic: Waka Ama

Adult teams compete at Waka Ama Nationals

  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

It's the first day of the adult team competition at the Waka Ama Nationals at Karāpiro.  They competed in the W6 1000m and the W12 500m races.

The standard in all the races have risen this year and the W12 are no different.  It takes great timing to get all 12 paddlers in sync and moving as one, something that the older age groups are guns at.

It's all about the W6 500m races on the final day of racing tomorrow, the heats were completed today so it will be semis and finals on show.

It was a low turnout for the Men's Masters division with only three teams. It was a tight race until the last metres, with Vaka Manu showing their wares and Tūrangawaewae taking the silver.

Clayton Wikaira from Vaka Manu says, "It's actually about team work with the W12.  You have 12 paddlers who are trying to do the same thing, and it makes the waka light. When it's light you can go longer and keep the intensity up for a longer period."

While they're stoked to get their sixth gold medal, there's something else that keeps them motivated.

"You get to a point when it's not about the medals, it's more the bragging rights.  The competition against your mates because we're all mates with Tūrangawaewae, we're all mates with Parihaka.  We paddled together all through the year," says Wikaira.

The newly-formed PCKC Porirua team was impressive from start to finish, despite the short amount of time they've paddled together.

Waka Life Extreme from Waikato just trailed behind them.

Maria Collier from PCKC says, "This was our first time that we've raced together.  The purpose of the double hull is the relationship and working together."

Horouta were the defending champs of the double hull race in the Senior Men's Masters but it was lane four and Te Rawiri from Ruamatā who pushed ahead for the win.

A special victory for the team who were racing in memory of their team mate Rawiri Rangitauira who passed away last year.

Wairangi Jones from Ruamatā says, "This was in memory of him, all of his tireless work, supporting us.  It was his idea to create the team from the beginning and the work that followed, and now the goal has been realised so we're overjoyed."

In the Women's section, it was a close race between lane one, Horouta, and land four, Aroca Pow. 

But it was the Auckland ladies who crossed the finish first to claim the title.

Sharon Hawke from Aroca Pow says, "Everyone just gave it, so it's just magnificent the team effort from our wahine toa from Pakuranga. In our team we have some first-timers and they get gold so it's just excellent."

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