In the old days at the center of Polynesian traditional activities, the outrigger canoe, va’a in Reo Tahiti, has today become the king sport in our islands. Extremely demanding, this discipline is, above all, a struggle of the athletes against their own limits and against the Ocean.
The Mother of All Races during which over a hundred va’a ono, six-men canoes, compete, the Hawaiki Nui Va’a links the islands of Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa and Bora Bora. During stages in the high sea, the teams have to fight the sun and the ocean.
Between the crests of powerful swells and out in the ocean spray, silhouettes can be seen, carried by a canoe that looks so insignificant in the immensity of the ocean. Run between the islands of Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa and Bora Bora, the Hawaiki Nui is the mother of all races and the highlight of the sport season. Over a hundred of va’a ono (six men canoes) participate each year in November. In the stages during which they race between islands, the teams have to fiercely fight the sun, the ocean and the wind.
Duel in the Pacific! Neck to neck and paddles to paddles, two teams challenge each other during the Hawaiki Nui Va’a. Under the expert paddling of the peperu, the helmsman sitting at the rear of the canoe, the teams try to best surf on the high sea swells.
Precision of the gestures, rhythm, choices of paths and the ability to use natural forces such as swells, currents and winds are as many key factors for winning in this both physical and very technical sport.
Arrival in Paradise after the hell of the race. A team gives it its last shot to cross the Hawaiki Nui Va’a finish line in the lagoon of the island of Bora Bora at Matira Point, a magnificent beach along a crystalline lagoon, typical of Polynesian scenery.
Over 600 canoe racers reach the ocean at the start of Te Aito, one of the most famous races on va’a ho’e, one-man canoes.