The Tahiti Traveler

Hawaiki Nui Va’a – the biggest traditional paddling race in the world

Hawaiki Nui Va'a Outtriger Competition

The United States have their Super Bowl, the Old Continent have the soccer Euro… just as Tahitian people have their Hawaiki Nui Va’a event, which is the biggest traditional paddling race in the world.

Hawaiki Nui Va’a : Meeting with the Aito

At any time of the year, you may notice Va’as (traditional canoes) racing, training or fishing, on the lagoon. However, there is one particular event that will trigger electrifying excitement in all islands and further abroad.

Just imagine: Hundreds of teams of six paddlers rowing as strong as their arms will let them, thousands of boats following the race on 120km distance, during 3 entire days! This is what you can expect from the Hawaiki Nui Va’a race, which will take place from November 1st to 3rd, 2017.

Unique Race, Unbeatable paddlers

In French Polynesia, paddling is a pride, and most of the time, it’s a pure vocation, especially when your family have rowers in its past generation. The top athletes are often referred to “Aito”, the iron wood. In fact, most paddlers need to show mental steel and iron arms, for a chance to win.  On season, trainings start before dawn, and you can still see tiny canoe shadows when the sun sets each evening. For all participants have one thing in mind: give their best and shine during the Hawaiki Nui Va’a race.

Leaving Huahine on November 3rd, the race will slowly and painfully lead paddlers to the island of Raiatea. This segment will ask for 4 to 6 hours of commitment. Next day, they will perform around the island of Taha’a, and finally the last part will bring all canoes to the Matira Point, the most beautiful beach of the island of Bora Bora. Thousands of supporters, family members, amateurs and visitors will gather to cheer for the braves. The beach and lagoon literally look like an international stadium filled with bubbling effervescence. This unique event, is one of the most important gathering to Polynesian people, they prepare all year for this one race, which they hold in their heart. So, what are you doing next 1st, 2nd and 3rd of November 2017?

Hawaiki Nui Va’a official website : http://www.hawaikinuivaa.pf/