VRC Paddle Team returns from Palau with two silver wins and the island spirit!
The team traveled with 15 paddlers who successfully competed in the Micronesia Cup events such as the V1, 500m sprint, 1500 sprint with turns, and the long distance event.
This year’s MicroCup was hosted in the beautiful islands of Palau where a few hundred paddlers travelled to experience the Island’s breath taking beauty and warm hospitality. Paddlers came from the Island Nations such as Guam, Saipan, Yap, Japan and Hawaii. Some were eager to experience for the first time or revisit again the celebration of paddle sport and heritage in the MicroCup setting where teams have become friends other over the years.
The celebrations started early morning on Friday, Oct 21 with the V1 500m races. The “V” in V1 is short for va’a, the polynesian word for canoe that that is rudderless and it is for one person. After canoe blessings, the races were in full motion. VRC paddlers Steve Stanton and Olivia Ng took on the V1 challenge with Steve making to the finals and Olivia making it to the semi-finals. The womens event was dominated Marina Toribiong who represented Palau in the 2016 Rio Olympics in K-1 500 metres and has high hopes for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
As more of the paddlers and crews were gathered on Day 2, the opening ceremony was held with Baklai Temengil-Chilton, Palau’s Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs who is also on the board for the Olympic Committee’s Women in Sport. Day 2 of the races was a stacked day with multiple heats for the 500m and 1500m sprints, which encouraged paddlers to be ready at all times, especially for the extremely fast starts. The 1500 meter event also involved two 360 degree turns with up to 6 canoe’s in the field. Two of VRC’s ladies crews and one mixed crew went several rounds, going head to head with competitors. One of our womens team made it into the grand final of the 1500m and took 2nd place, crossing the finish line about half a canoe length behind first. There were collisions amongst other teams but VRC Steers Martha Levin and Olivia Ng kept our boats in perfect alignment. For some on the VRC Crew, this was the their first turn race and international race. VRC rookies Pradesh Gopinathan, Beck Hales, Melody Ma joined with experienced paddlers Danial Haas, Steve, Angela Chan completed the VRC mixed crew with and and finished strong among the mix crews.
Day 3’s long distance event allowed for more preparation time in between races and crews to show their strength. Both VRC Womens completed the course with one crew taking second place with only less than 2 minutes behind Animu Tasi from Guam. A few ladies, Ladies Captain Julia Washbourne, Tatjana Baehr, and Sylvie Boidron went for a 2nd round in the the mix crew that day despite the heat.
The Micronesia Cup was introduced after the 1994 Micronesia Games held in Guam as popularity for outrigger canoe grew. Since then, the Micro Cup expanded into a regional race with the Islands of Palau and Saipan taking turns to hosts the event. The change in race venue is one of the main attractions to for this event especially because the history of outrigger canoe is about travel and migration from island to island. The people of Palau truly welcomed paddlers from Hong Kong and have plans to expand their sport competition ventures while keeping Palau a pristine place to visit.
Angela Chan, Melody Ma, Marion Renault, Beck Hales, Martha Levin, Eva Lin, Danial Haas, Steven Stanton, Olivia Ng, Julia Washbourne, Jennie Chao, Tatjana Baehr, Sylvie Boidron, Pradeesh Gopinathan, Rebecca Choi
- Animum Tasi Metgot
- BKC – Belau Kanu Club Waterfall
- HK United
- Ohana Hoe
- GT – Guatdan Tasi
- TTG Taotao Galaide
- Tulos OPT
- PCC Mesekiu
- MOC – Mariana Outrigger Club
- Guahan Flyers Masters
- Napu Juniors