In what is fast becoming a major trend in outrigger paddling, rudderless outrigger races will soon hit the waters of Southern California. Newport Aquatic Center (NAC) has joined the growing list of clubs sponsoring races for paddlers exclusively using the traditional Tahitian V1 rudderless canoe. Yes, the word is getting around: “V1!”And so is the ARE Tahiti mantra: “Go rudderless.”
NAC will hold its first-ever V1-only races with a series of events:
#1) February 4 (9 mi. and 500-meter sprint);
#2) March 11 (14 mi.); and #3) April 29 (21 mi).
The February 4 and March 11 races will start at NAC, while the April 29 “marathon” will be from Long Beach to NAC. These races, organized by Kelly Schwartz, are expected to attract many top paddlers from Tahiti to the mainland U.S.
“This is a great opportunity for more paddlers to try something new and have a great time,” says NAC executive director Billy Whitford. “I am always up for experimenting to see what can generate interest in our sport and add to the fun of outrigger races.”
An “experiment” that might soon become the norm
Just three years ago, paddlers had barely tested the mainland waters with rudderless outriggers. Then Tahitian outrigger manufacturer ARE Tahiti introduced these high-performance canoes to the U.S.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to see NAC join the rudderless racing community,” says Joey Alvarez, head of ARE Outrigger World, exclusive distributor of ARE Tahiti canoes for North America and Hawaii. “To see rudderless paddling get up to speed so quickly has been my vision all along.” ARE Outrigger World will provide a limited number of ARE Tahiti V1 Marara and V1 Mako outriggers for the April 29 race and encourages racers to sign up now to reserve one of these high-performance outriggers for the race.
The presence of V1 rudderless outrigger races will only continue to grow. On March 5th, the 4th Annual Aloha Aito, exclusively for V1s, will take place in Oahu, for which ARE Outrigger World is the main sponsor.
It appears more and more paddlers are realizing that rudderless outriggers are the best way to hone your skills and master the art of Tahitian paddling.
Contact NAC for more information on the Va’a California event or visit the ARE Outrigger World website, aretahiti.com, for more information on ARE Tahiti rudderless canoes. And… be sure to reserve your ARE Tahiti rudderless canoe for the April 29th race!