Vaka Eiva is arguably the biggest event on the Cook Islands sporting calendar and the inclusion of paddlers from right across the sunny Pacific region, cold snowy regions of Canada and Europe is testament to the events prestigious status. Avarua harbour will be paddling central for the weeklong paddling festival where oe vaka supporters can catch the final leg and sprint finishes of ocean races from the iconic Trader Jacks Bar and Restaurant.
The ultimate paddling prizes are the coveted ‘Pacific Cup’ and ‘Pacific Paddle’ trophies for the open women and men’s 36km changes race around Rarotonga – a gruelling race not for the faint hearted.Held at the end of the week, the punishing round island race is a spectacular changes races that will see paddlers challenged over various sea conditions as they circumnavigate the island of Rarotonga. Spectators can take in the on water action from the spectator boats or from various look out points along the Rarotonga shoreline.
With a ‘Mapu Vaka’ junior division dedicated to developing future toa moana paddlers, Vaka Eiva caters for all ages and paddling ability offering challenging ocean Iron and Marathon races and action packed sprint races for paddlers right up to the golden masters division. It’s not all hard slog on the water though as the sprint races held midweek in the picturesque Muri beach and lagoon is geared around fun and friendship with just as many novelty races as the fast and furious paddling action for sprint supremacy. This is the day paddlers and supporters let their hair down and soak up the sun in between the weeks races.