Women paddling outrigger canoes

Sport Preview: Va’a

BenBowles Vaa 7 | June 16, 2024
Va’a promises exciting action across four days of racing. Photos: Ben Bowles, Samoa 2019 Pacific Games News Service

Get ready for the pulse-pounding excitement as ten nations (Cook Islands, Fiji, Guam, New Caledonia, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tahiti) clash on the open waters at DC Park in the Sol2023 Pacific Games va’a competition, which begins on Monday 27 November.

Celebrating the traditional outrigger canoe paddling of the Pacific, va’a is one of the most treasured sports at the Pacific Games and this year’s competition promises some epic battles, with powerhouses like Tahiti, New Caledonia, and Fiji eyeing a cascade of gold.

Tahiti’s top performer in the men’s individual races at the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games, Kevin Ceran Jerusalemy, is not competing here, opening the door for new champions to be crowned. Cook Islands’ Andre Tutaka-George, who won bronze in both men’s individual events last time, will be hoping to upgrade his podium position, while New Caledonia’s Titouan Puyo will also be going for gold.

In the women’s individual event, Fiji’s Elenoa Vateitei will be hoping to improve on her silver medal from 2019.

In the team events Tahiti claimed 10 of the 12 medals available at Samoa 2019, with New Caledonia collecting the other two. Fiji, Wallis and Futuna, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Cook Islands also won medals last time.

Monday’s first day will see action in the V1 and V12 500m men’s and women’s from 8am, where skill and strategy will collide on the shimmering waters.

Events will continue on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

And the best part? Entry is absolutely free. Don’t miss your chance to witness this truly Pacific sport, where passion meets the waves and champions will be crowned.

By Tali Dever, Pacific Games News Service

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