After a two-year hiatus due to Covid cancellations, the 33rd Annual Waka Ama Sprint National Championships returned triumphantly yesterday.
More than 21 races, with a combination of heats and semis, were featured on Lake Karapiro in a day just for the 450-plus taitamariki (youth aged 6-10 years), who took to the water in W6 and W12 250 action.
Coaches, clubs and kaihoe from Katāia to Ōtautahi in the thousands arrived with good vibes and tautoko.
Day two has already seen some winners in J16 men, intermediate men and women races. Pineula Taurea Red (Akarana) won the J16 W6 500m heat one comfortably to kick off the day, followed by Tama ki te Rangi (Hourouta Waka Hoe Club) taking out the second heat.
In the first heat of the intermediate women W12 500m, Rangi Mārama (Tai Tokerau Polynesian Canoe Association) edged to first place with a one-second difference to second-place takers Wahinerawerawe (Tūrangawaewae Sports Club). Intermediate men W6 500m had Tāmaki Warriors Black (Tāmaki Outrigger Canoe Club) winning the first heat by a whole waka length, whereas Rukupo (YMP Waka Ama) had a close photo finish taking the second heat, beating Emore (Tūrangawaewae Sports Club) by under a second.
In taitamariki finals action, the Taitama W6 250m cup final was won by Made You Look (Waitākere Outrigger Canoe Club Inc) moments ago.
Mareikura Mermaids (Mareikura Waka Ama Club Incorporated) comfortably won the Taitamāhine W6 250m Cup Final by one-eighth of a second, Mumuhau (Tūrangawaewae Waka Sports) took second place over Patautini (Ngā Kaihoe o te Puaha Inc).
The taitamāhine W6 250m champ final saw Pipiwhakao (YMP Waka Ama) take first place. Pipi (Te Rau Oranga o Ngāti Kahungunu Waka) rounded out the taitamariki finals action winning the taitama W6 250m champ final, out-paddling Horouta Raiders (Horouta Waka Hoe Blub Inc) by four-hundredths of a second.
Still to come are more intermediate men and womens' heats, J16 women and taitamariki 12-paddler heats and finals action.