By Leanne Petersen.
Waka Ama takes over Mercury Bay this coming Friday, 21 April and Saturday, 22 April. That’s when the racing of the wakas begins but the paddlers, wakas and trailers will be arriving before that. Whitianga Waka Ama has been awarded the hosting rights for the 2023 Long Distance Nationals. Up to 1500 athletes plus their whānau, coaches and entourage will come to this piece of paradise this week. Paddlers will be coming from all over the country to compete in races that range from 8km to 24 km in distance.
The event is the only opportunity for New Zealand paddlers to qualify for the World Long Distance Championships to be held in Samoa later in the year.
It is the sport of racing outrigger canoes, and you can race as an individual, in a double, triple or as part of a six-person team. This event will expose this incredible location to a diverse audience across the country and even the world.
A local Waka group is organising and hosting this - Whitianga Waka Ama (WWA) - a small passionate group of paddlers who are keen to grow the profile and participation in the sport on the Coromandel. They have been working towards this opportunity since the formation of the club six years ago. WWA will be co-hosting with three other clubs: Hauraki Waka Ama - Waihi Beach, Te Aputa Tira Hoe - Thames Coast and Te Whanau Waka Ama O Whangamata- Whangamata.
If you think you would like to be a part of what will be an awesome event, either as a sponsor or a volunteer, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Racing will be held off the coast in front of Buffalo Beach and race headquarters will be based at Buffalo Beach Reserve over the two days of racing. Vendors will operate from the reserve and national, local and social media will also be present.
Reach out through our Facebook page www.facebook.com/whitiangawakaama. We hope to see you all enjoying this national sporting carnival and help keep putting the summer that wasn’t, out of our collective minds.
Beach Meet last week helped with this a great deal.