Waka ama team win at Kaiteriteri
A waka ama team from the Porirua-based Mana Pasifika club won the six-man open race at the Waka te Tasman meet in Kaiteriteri recently.
In a close battle, Team Makaira-Interislander snared the title from local crew The Motueka Men, who had been champions for the past three years.
‘‘They had recently come fourth in the long-distance nationals. This was a good team to beat,’’ Makaira member Joern Scherzer said.
From November 19 to 25, Mana Pasifika had three teams competing in the Vaka Eiva event in Rarotonga. Grant Barriball, Piki Emery and Scherzer also competed in the singles events, with the latter earning a fourth in the open men’s 18 kilometre race.
Barriball came fourth in the masters men’s 12km race, and Emery finished 11th in the senior masters 12km event. In the six-man event over 18km around the island, Team Makaira were sixth in their section, and the Mana Kokiri (masters women) beat a muchfancied Hawaiian team into second to secure the title.
The Mana Menz (masters) crew made it a double victory by winning their final.
In the open women’s 500-metre sprint, Te Karere a Arikipuia from Porirua Canoe Kayak Club took the honours, with Mana Kokiri in fourth.
Porirua Canoe Kayak Club also managed a number of other top 10 finishes.
A combined Mana Pasifika/Wahine team came second in the open mixed 12km race.
Scherzer said Team Makaira are all experienced paddlers, but only came together as a team in August last year.
Four of them live in Porirua and the rest are from the Wellington region.
The team draws on the best paddlers in the area in order to be competitive at national and international level, Scherzer said.
Most team members train every day, either individually or as a team, especially the latter as their summer ‘‘season’’ draws near.
Scherzer said he puts in up to 80km a week on the water, plus gym and cardio workouts. He said their performance in Rarotonga was ‘‘a mixed bag’’ – one team member was hit by another boat during the event – but the win at Kaiteriteri was huge for Team Makaira.
‘‘It’s the most important long-distance event in the South Island and attracts most South Island teams and some from the North Island,’’ he said.
‘‘It was tight, with the winning margin less than 20 seconds over 21km.’’
The Motueka Men had a lead of 150m in the final stage, but about halfway into the leg Scherzer said his team began to gel, and overtook their rivals in the final stretch.
Going hard: Taken mid-race, this shot shows the crew working hard during their race at Kaiteriteri in November.
Team Makaira-Interislander: This group of Wellington paddlers, four of whom live in Porirua, train in the water off Ngatitoa Domain and are eyeing the nationals in January at Lake Karapiro with optimism. From left, Jack Wormald, Dave Ryde, Joern Scherzer, Matt Archer, Taawhana Chadwick and Bjorn Agnew.