Sport has its various ‘Holy Grails’ of ultimate achievement : Doubles, Triple Crowns, .400 batting average, Grand Slams and (my favourite) the Impregnable Quadrilateral. But surely none of them have taken so long to achieve and been so far out of reach as waka ama’s 11km paddle to Moturoa-Rabbit Island, never mind the even more ludicrous attempt to paddle all the way back.
And so it came to pass that despite the best intentions, three fired up crews, a spirit of can-do and various Christmas hats, that we once again only got as far as the Cut before gazing longingly at the distant shore before turning left and heading for Tahunanui.
The word ‘tragedy’ is over-used in sport, especially in current times, but that decision – the right one for so many reasons, not least the fact that the forecast dying wind continued to build – did spell a minor sporting tragedy. The support contingent of back up paddlers had time for just one coffee rather than two before the 18 outgoing paddlers hit the beach at Tahunanui.
The incoming tide and 15kt SW made it a hard slog from the marina with average speeds around 6kph. The return journey was far quicker, with a couple of sprint races and a tail wind to liven things up, and Dave Johnson kindly turned up an hour early to fire up the BBQ and get the sausages sizzling.
In the end it wan’t really about the paddle, it was about the people. As it always is.
Its never too early or too late to start paddling waka ama
We always welcome new members to the Maitahi Outrigger Canoe Club.
We have social and racing waka ama crews catering for a wide variety of ages and abilities.