Lake Kawana welcomes world to outrigging event
May
4
2016

IF YOU'RE feeling like the Sunshine Coast is becoming one of Australia's premier venues for outdoor sports - you'd be right.

This time Lake Kawana welcomes the world to our beautiful region for 10 days of premier outrigger canoeing.

A sport traditionally dominated by pacific island nations, Va'a Outriggers are considered to be some of the fastest boats in the world of paddling.

The International Va'a Federation Va'a World Sprint Championships is the jewel in the sports crown.

What does that mean for you? The Sunshine Coast Daily has compiled a list of everything you need to know before the first races start on Sunday.


HISTORY

Outrigger canoes (va'a) are said to have travelled the Pacific Ocean for more than 4000 years. Ancient Polynesians settled the most remote islands of the Pacific in single and double-hull va'a. These canoes were traditionally used for fishing and with an added sail, for travelling.

They could be up to 30m long and today's racing canoes are still a massive 13m long.

The sport as we know it was developed in Tahiti and Hawaii and is now popular in Polynesian, Melanesian and Micronesian Islands as well as Australia, the US and many more countries around the globe.


RACING

Two major events will comprise the championships, with the World Elite Sprints and the World Club Sprints held at the same venue.

The elites will race over two action packed days from 8am-4pm on Sunday and Monday, before the club championships get started on Tuesday.

The categories are V1, V6 and V12, signalling how many people are controlling each va'a.

Each category has races for ages ranging from under-16 through to over-70 and para male and female classes. A 500m straight course (V6, V12), a 1500m course with 250m turns (V6) makes up the multiple-participant distances, while the V1 paddlers will compete on a 500m straight with 250m races for para athletes.


SPECIAL EVENTS

Not only will there be world class racing throughout the 10 days, thousands of competitors and spectators will be treated to a grand opening ceremony, daily entertainment and a Culture Night on Friday, May 13.

The opening ceremony will include teams from 24 countries with 2200 spectators also expected.

Organisers have said it will be a "blending of international paddling cultures" and will also include input from the Sunshine Coast's Nandjimadji Art Group.

And after 10 days of exciting sprint action on Lake Kawana, the stayers come out to play shortly after with the trials OC6 Australian National Marathon Titles to be hosted by the Mooloolaba Outrigger Canoe Club on May 21-22.

Australian Outrigger Canoe Racing Association president and Sunshine Coaster Mark Forbes said the whole event would be the "largest ever" and was another chance to showcase the Sunshine Coast to the world.

"We have attracted unprecedented multi-national participation from teams representing 24 countries, with many competitors, supporters and visitors staying on in the region for up to four weeks," he said.

 

SPECTATORS

Spectators will be able to make use of facilities at Sunshine Coast Stadium and by the banks of Lake Kawana throughout the event. And you won't be short of something to do, with food stalls, courtyard entertainment, a licensed bar and sky-diving instructors to keep you busy when the racing action takes a break.

For those with a sense for the finer things in life, items from the Nandjimadji Art Group will be available to buy in the stadium foyer.

Automatic teller machines will also be available on the ground floor of the stadium.

It will all conclude with a closing ceremony, where the IVF flag will be passed on to the 2018 hosts, Tahiti.

And finally, the after-party on May 15 is open to paddlers and supporters to celebrate the end of what is sure to be a great week.

 

Article by Patrick Woods of Sunshine Coast Daily

Click here for original article.

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