During the summer school holidays the Waiheke Waka Ama Club took crews to Lake Karapiro for a week to compete in the National Sprints. This gave our school teams valuable experience at a waka ama regatta and on Saturday 2nd March a mixed waka ama crew of girls and boys travelled to Auckland to represent Waiheke High School in the secondary school sprint races at Orakei Basin.
Waka ama is a fast growing sport with many secondary schools fielding strong teams. Because of the wide age range of our teams, the girls competed in the J16 (under 16 years) and the boys in the J19 (under 19 years) categories against crews who had an older average age.
As the Waiheke High School crews arrived, the edge of the shoreline was lined with gazebos, tents and excited competitors with whanau support. The water was smooth and as the summer heat rose so too the fervour to compete. All the waka used for racing were supplied by clubs from around the region with the Aratika Water Sports Club manning the loading bays, food stalls and marshalling. Our mixed crew of W12 (twelve paddlers in two canoes strapped together) began the days racing. They had a very competitive start, but because two paddles snapped during the race, they were unable to secure a placing. In the second race the W12 made amends and we came a creditable third place.
W6 Girls were racing next and gained fourth place. They were determined to improve and in their next race they moved into third place. The W6 boys’ was a fierce and boisterous affair and although our boys were competitive they came in third. This is a commendable placing considering our team’s relatively limited experience in comparison to other seasoned school crews.
Overall it was a wonderful day spent in camaraderie and competition. We have been able to reflect on the things that worked and areas requiring work. We look forward to the next regatta at Okahu Bay next month and encourage our current crews to keep training. School training is on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3.45pm and Club training is at the weekends. New members are welcome to contact Matua Pita for details. Mauri ora e te iwi.