Te Waka o Aoraki South Island Sprint Championships

What a weekend for Maitahi OCC, with a record 26 club members paddling sprints at Lake Eyrewell in North Canterbury. The huge exodus from Nelson was a testament to the growing interest in sprints, thanks largely to the hard work of a small group led by Sean, Zoe and Jan. The red club shirts were everywhere you looked, matched at the end of the day by red faces in the blistering heat and gusting wind.

For most of the individuals and crews this was a first competitive taste of sprint racing. The venue was a huge improvement on previous locations with well set up turn buoys, clean water and plenty of space.

I’m not going to dip into the list of who did what on the course, save to say there were some exceptional performances throughout the day. There were some obvious nerves about starts, turns, level of competition etc, but every challenge was well met. The singles starts were particularly hard with a fierce headwind pushing everyone around on the line. But the whole day proved the point Sean and others ( including Franklin D Roosevelt) have been making: that we have nothing to fear but fear itself. The encouraging atmosphere amongst the South Island paddling whanau helped calm any anxieties and the event was well organised.

Some of the crews and individuals now turn their attention to Sprint Nationals in January. The hope is that their example encourages more and more people to believe that racing is not only within their paddling abilities but that it also encompasses the qualities that make social paddling enjoyable : crew cohesion, fitness, being on the water and meeting lots of new people.

That’s about it apart from the pictures, and a big thanks from everyone at MOCC to Craig Pauling, Tracey Kingi, Caleb and everyone else who gave up so much time to make it happen.

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.