2016 Waka Ama Worlds – Day 6

By Rahia Timutimu

NZ lead the medal tally at the World Waka Ama Sprints on Australia's Sunshine Coast. It's something that is rarely seen at a world championship.

It was all about the long races at the World Waka Ama Sprints today.

“In our turns in the 100 semis, it was a bit hard. We were the last out by we came in third, so we were quite wrapped today. The conditions were beautiful”, says Violet Tuapawa-Crawford from the Horouta team.

NZ paddlers have been strong all week and remain ahead of Tahiti on the medal tally, something that is rarely seen.

“It really is about that feeling of winning, especially at an event like this when we’re paddling for our club Ruamata and Aotearoa. We don’t care want distance it is”, says Corrina Gage from the Ruamata team.

Ruamata was one of the first races of the day in the Master 50 1000m race. Their steerer, Raipoia Brightwell, is Tahitian but has lived in NZ for many years, and paddled against her home side.

“We are shielding our ex-Tahitian tuahine here, so yeah it’s a little stressful for us with the Tahitians here but I think it’s showing the development of the sport especially with our juniors, that New Zealand is investing in the continuation of the sport and not just the seniors”, says Gage.

Alongside her crew, Ruamata - Go Aotearoa easily won their heat, winning by 15 seconds. It wasn't just the senior paddlers doing well. Awhiowhio from Te Toki looked to make the final for the J19 1000m section.

“We did better than our first race. Our waka was a lot fast because we paddled as one”, says Te Teira Wiari.

Coached by Turanga Kerr, the boys did well in a grade that is usually dominated by Tahiti.

“We are happy that we have made the semi. We'll now focus on that race”, says Wiari.

Finals for all these longer distance races will be held tomorrow.