Topic: Waka Ama

Bad weather no barrier for world va'a championships

By James Perry

Not even weather can get in the way of the NZ Waka Ama teams as they prepare for the IVF Va'a World championships in Tahiti this year.

Koha Alofa Vitolio knows what it takes to gain world domination. She has 2 world titles to her name, and wants a third. "It all comes down to commitment and how hard you train in every training. And the sacrifices you make. It depends on how bad you want it" she said.

Vitalio paddles for Tiare Māori from Te Paerangi. They are one of four clubs that sit under the mantle of Ngā Hau Maiangi, who have around 11 teams going to the worlds. Having that many clubs and rivals train together provides further motivation, saying "It pushes you to train hard knowing that there are other people who are wanting the same thing as you."

Newbies Turama Quii Quii are newcomers to the World champs and are putting in the hard yards as well. Team member Matekitawhiti Chase says the Golden Marsters grade team train every day, practicing how to paddle together so they can keep their boat headed straight. They also spend some time working in the gym.

The goal of both Vitalio and Chase is the same, that is to come home as winners. With Vitalio saying "at the end, once you have a gold medal around your neck, yeah, you feel quite happy."

The New Zealand teams will head to Tahiti in July, where they will be hoping the weather is a lot warmer than Auckland was over this past weekend.