Billy getting pumped to die.


Our team has started to dial down trainings as we get closer to Hawaii, however over the last couple of Saturday trainings our team was finally able to meet our goal by reaching 30km at training.

As you can see the weather hasn’t been the nicest, and trainings have been very tough throughout winter, especially with the cold weeknight trainings. With many of our team members falling ill and getting injured, we knew it was important that we tone down trainings to allow everyone time to recover in time for the races in Hawaii.





The 30km trainings were brutal with some strong head and side winds. The course on the right was the toughest, as on our return to Okahu Bay we were going up against a head wind that left all members of our team drenched along with some numb hands.

Paddle from Okahu Bay to Mairangi Bay and back.

Paddle from Okahu Bay to Half Moon Bay and back.











Positions in the boat


Each seat in the boat has it’s own challenges and requires it’s own skill set. The boat has 3 sections, Up Front, Power House and Tail. Here are some of the skills that are demanded by each seat for the Wa’a Kaukahi (30km race) in Hawaii. 

Seat 1 is the Stroke.
They set the pace and ensure the team can maintain stamina for the whole race. They take the bulk of the wind and water, sheltering the rest of the team. This seat demands a lot of mental strength for this race as they have to be able to maintain a constant and efficient stroke for a long period of time which becomes difficult with fatigue.

Seat 2 is the Jockey.
It is their job to make sure that seat 1 stays on track, but it is also very important for the jockey to have perfect timing, as rushing or holding seat 1 back will cause problems for the entire team.

Seat 3 is the Caller.
They keep everyone on the same page to make sure everyone knows what they need to be doing. They are the link between each paddler. Their main role is to tell the team when to start paddling, when to alternate and when to stop paddling.

Seat 4 is the Engine.
They are the main source of power. They are also usually the biggest person in the team, their position here is necessary for weight distribution, to create balance within the waka.

Seat 5 is the All Rounder.
They have the skills to help the steerer in their moment of need, as well as the power house. For this race this seat will also bail any water that comes into the boat which is very important for keeping the boat as light as possible.

Seat 6 is the Steerer.
They are the captain and guide of the boat. It doesn’t matter how strong the team is, because they are nothing without a good steerer who can navigate the boat through the waves. This is the most important seat in the boat, because without a steerer the boat has no direction. For this race this seat requires the highest set of skills and knowledge, along with strength and toughness.



Personal profile of the week


Last to introduce to you all, we have our coach.


Name: Leki Funaki
Degree: Completed MEngSt (Hons), BE Civil
From: Tonga, but I now live in Auckland
When did you start paddling?
I started paddling in the year 2000 when I was still a student at the engineering school! A friend of mine was a paddler at the time and invited a group of us, mainly from SPIES to try out paddling. He was paddling for Hauraki Sports Club based at Okahu Bay, which was quite a handy location due to its close proximity to the engineering school. I have been paddling for Hauraki since I joined back in 2000!
I have done a few overseas races and represented Tonga in 2004 and 2006 world sprints held in Hilo, Hawaii and NZ at Lake Karapiro respectively and the South Pacific Games held in Suva, Fiji in 2003 and Samoa in 2007.
How did you become coach of the University of Auckland’s Engineering Waka Ama team?
When I was approached by Waka Ama NZ last year if I will be interested in coaching the engineering team, it was an easy decision since I was a former student. It was a way of giving back to the school which I finished more than a decade ago! I do enjoy coaching and will be looking forward to a successful trip!
What are you looking forward to the most about the trip?
The experience and the team learning more paddling skills.


Keep following as we countdown the last week before take off!