The 3rd Fiji Outrigger Marathon Regatta of the 2014 season was held today at Mosquito Island in Lami, hosted by Kaiwai canoe club. Taking part were 132 paddlers from Kaiwai, Taf’aga, Takia, Walu Va’a and Pacific Harbour canoe clubs.
13 teams made up of paddlers under the age of 19 took part. Increasing the number of young girls and boys taking up the sport is a key part of Fiji Outrigger’s development strategy so it was encouraging to see the biggest turnout of the season in the junior division, with Under 10s, Under 14s, Under 16s and Under 19s all represented.
The U10s winning team were the Kaiwai Manumanus. The U14 5km race was a very close affair with the canoes neck and neck for the whole race, in the end the Takia boys edged out a mixed Taf’aga crew by half a meter to take the win.
The 7.5km U16 girls race was won by Takia, with Kaiwai taking out the U16 boys, by just 30 seconds over Takia. In the U19s division, also completing 7.5 km, Pacific Harbour came in first for the boys with Taf’aga winning the U19 girls’ race.
Earlier in the day, in the open womens’ 11km competition, Kaiwai continued their dominance with a win in 1 hour and 50 seconds. Second and third place were taken by Taf’aga, with times of 1 hour 1 minute and 1 hour 12 minutes.
In the open mens’race up to the half way point it was a tight race between Taf’aga Toa first team and Kaiwai Camakau. After the turn buoy had been round Taf’aga slowly pulled away to finish the 17km race in first place with a time of 1 hour and twenty two minutes. Kaiwai Camakau finished second in 1 hour 23 minutes and Walu Va’a took third in 1 hour and 25 minutes.
Both Kaiwai women and Taf’aga men now have an opportunity to make a clean sweep of the marathon season, if they can repeat their wins at the fourth and final regatta in two weeks time.