14-Apr-2011 04:40 p.m.

Aotearoa Aito 2011

Battle for National Paddle Champs at Kohimarama

New Zealand’s top Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Racers hit the water alongside the best single person Va’a/Outrigger Canoe (Waka Ama) Paddlers at this Saturday’s Air Tahiti Nui Aotearoa Aito and Hyundai NZ SUP Championships, in a race where paddlers must use their skill to maneuver and race their board or canoe without the aid of a rudder - traditional Polynesian Style - around a 6km course.

With over 300 participants expected this year, Event Organiser Lara Collins is looking forward to an exciting event. "I have no doubt it is going to be a fantastic day with a great atmosphere on the beach.  It will be great to see so many people out on the water - certainly a first for New Zealand paddling."


The Hyundai NZ SUP Championships Distance Race makes up Day One of the Inaugural two-day National Championships that concludes with a Surf Race at Takapuna on Sunday 17th April.


Stand Up Paddlers who compete in each class (Mens 12'6'' Stock, Womens 12'6'' Stock, Unlimited and Surfboard) in Saturday's 10km Distance Race will be in to win the Aotearoa Aito SUP title, but to win the title of Hyundai NZ SUP Champion, paddlers will also need to compete in the 6km Surf Race at Takapuna Beach on Sunday.  The Champion in each class is in to win one of four Starboard 12'6'' SUP Race Boards, valued at $2400 each.   


There will also be 3km Novice and Junior Races and Give-it-a-Go SUP sessions each day, and a fun kids race to finish on Sunday at Takapuna, followed by the Official NZ Champs Prizegiving at GPK Takapuna.


The weekend event rounds off the five-event Starboard Summer Series, NZs first ever dedicated Stand Up Paddle events, pulled together by Victoria Stuart of SUPSNZ.COM. 


“We are really excited with the turnout to the events so far.  There were nearly 100 Paddlers competing in the three-race Hyundai Auckland City Series and the racing is truly at an International level.  The sport is gaining popularity at an incredible rate, as people of all ages discover how easy and fun it is to get out on the water.”


“I’m looking forward to watching the waka paddlers this weekend too.  Stand Up Paddling has a lot in common with waka, and traces its origins back to the same Pacific legends, so we can learn a lot about paddle technique.”


Originating from Hawaii, the sport is an ancient form of surfing, and reemerged as a way for surfing instructors to manage their large groups of students, as standing on the board gave them a higher viewpoint, increasing visibility of what was going on around them - such as incoming swell.
Over the last 8 years it taken off as a sport for all ages and abilities, its participant’s finding great results in overall strength and fitness. It crosses age & gender barriers and once you have a board and a paddle, you are ready to start ‘walking on water’ and reaping the benefits. It is a true ‘family’ activity, fun no matter whether you want to surf some waves, stay fit while you are away cruising on your boat or reap the incredible physical benefits.

Download Race Info PDF

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Big thanks to our sponsors for their generosity: Title Sponsor Hyundai NZ, Starboard SUP, Frontend, GPK, WSP, Snowcentre, Platform 29, Les Mills, Waiwera, Great Barrier Island Bee Company, Sharkskin Performance Wear, Dirty Dog Eyewear and Horleys.

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