Paddling Connection wins Hawaiki Nui Va'a

By Rahia Timutimu

The Hawaiki Nui Va'a race has a new winner, 'Paddling Connection'.

A title Tahitian outfit Paddling Connection fought neck-to-neck over with Mata'irea Hoe from Huahine in the competition's 22nd year. 

88 teams took part in this competition, encompassing four different Islands of Tahiti, to see who the winner is at the end.

A new winner of the competition was found in this last race from Taha'a to Borabora which covered a distance of 58km.

Mata'irea Hoe was in first place for the first 50km, their surfing skills coming in handy.

Nearing Borabora and about 8km from the finish line, Mata’irea maintained the lead with a 500m gap separating them from Paddling Connection hot on their trail.

That all changed however in the final 1km.

From out of nowhere, Paddling Connection caught up to the front crew, and it was the last 400m that decided the race, with Paddling Connection winning the Hawaiki Nui title for 2013.

A great win for Wilfred Ah Min of Paddling Connection, “Beautiful! we did it, last year we were close to win but we didn’t win, the year before the same thing, and this year we pushed all the way till the end, and we did it today."

Mata'irea Hoe, were disappointed losing it by just three seconds.

Overall it was a joyous occasion, and a day of celebration and teamwork for most, while for others, it was just tiring.