Get your outrigger on. Tahiti’s 30th annual Hawaiki Nui Va’a race will take place in the Islands of Tahiti, from November 1-4 this year, celebrating the most popular va’a race in the world and ultimate traditional Polynesian sporting event.
Traditional outrigger canoeing, or “va’a“, has a long sacred history in Tahiti, reaching back more than 4,000 years as the original mode of transportation for native Polynesian people to navigate between islands.
Hawaiki Nui Va’a could best be described as the Super Bowl of outrigger canoe races. It’s the world’s largest, longest, and most exhilarating international open ocean outrigger canoe event, and is the ultimate test of strength and endurance for both men and women. Six-person crews race 79 miles in just three days divided into legs from the island of Huahine to Raiatea (27 miles), then from Raiatea to Tahaa (16 miles) and finally from Tahaa to Bora Bora (36 miles). The Hawaiki Nui Va’a is the most difficult V6 pirogue race in the world given its duration and intensity, challenging the limits of all its competitors. There are no crew changes on this water, but substitutions are possible before each leg departure. The teams are divided into nine categories : Seniors and Veterans Men (three legs), Seniors and Veterans Women, Juniors Men, Juniors Girls (one leg on Raiatea), Cadets, Minimes Girls and Boys, Benjamins and Benjamins, Para Va’a, Mixed, Companies (one leg on Bora Bora).
Following the competition, traditional music and dancing can be found at the finish line on the island of Bora Bora. Entourages of avid fans follow by canoes and boats, creating a colorful regatta throughout the race.
“Hawaiki Nui Va‘a is a competition that celebrates the culture and soul of the Polynesian people, reviving memories of the voyages of their Mā’ohi ancestors in search of new horizons to explore,” say organizers.
For more information, please visit the event website.