Waka Ama Worlds draws to a close

By James Perry

The Waka Ama World Sprint Championships have come to end. The host nation were the most dominant on the course, with the NZ team the next best, finishing in 2nd place.

By winning 51 gold medals, more than double that of New Zealands 25.

Waka Ama commentator Steve Harris says Tahiti have again proven their dominance of Waka Ama.

While he was impressed with the effort of the NZ ladies teams, he believes the men had their work cut out for them with the Tahitian team.

"I think a lot of our men found out that the level over there is so super strong," says Harris. 

He is also amazed at the depth of talent on offer in Tahiti.

"They've got so many young paddlers out there, good young paddlers that can slot into any team on a given day and do the business," says Harris. 

The 18th Va'a Sprint Championships were also one of the fastest ever, with a total of 41 speed records being broken over the 8 days of competition.

Before the closing ceremony got underway, the last of the medals were handed out. Although Pineula Mulivai weren't able to defend the gold medal they won in Australia two years ago, Jamille Ruka says his team are honoured to earn a bronze medal.

Harris says the Tahitians local knowledge of the weather conditions. 

"Especially the upwind paddling and also the wind that comes in as well," he says.

Ruka says the conditions had an affect on his team, saying they changed their style of stroke to compensate.

The next IVF Va'a Sprint Championships will see the worlds paddlers descend on Hilo, Hawai'i in 2020.