After a long 8 hour flight, a full day of shopping at Ala Moana Shopping Centre in Honolulu, and a second flight to Kona, we finally arrived at our hotel for the week.
On our first day in Kona the team headed down to the race base at Kamakahonu Bay for our first training.
This was a good opportunity for our team to have a paddle in the Hawaii heat before races start, to get an idea of what it will be like on race day. The team had a break while we were out for our training to have a quick swim and take a few snaps of the breathtaking view.
The rest of the day was pretty much spent in the water as the team cooled down after training with a swim at Kamakahonu Bay, before we headed back to the hotel to swim in the pool and have lunch, with a sunset swim at Kua Bay to finish off our day.
Here is a video of our first day in Kona.
The Faculty of Engineering, The University of Auckland Waka Ama team have landed safely in Hawaii for the Queen Lili'uokalani Race. Check out their first day of training!
Posted by University of Auckland Sport on Thursday, 31 August 2017
Race day has arrived and so have the nerves for our new Eagles as we prepare for our first race, the Hulakai OC4 8 Person Relay Race.
The race involves a relay team of 8, split up into two teams of 4 to complete one lap each of the set course. It is a triangular course with 2 buoy turns, covering a distance of about 500m — 600m. During the race the team must perform a huli (flip) of the waka.
The team did well, placing first in our heat and advancing straight to the finals, however in the finals we were met with very worthy competitors who we were unable to quite get in front of, and in the end the team came through with a silver. It is not quite the gold we were hoping for like last year, however we are all proud of how we performed because we know we left it all on the water.
After the races the team had to quickly prepare for the Queen Lili’uokalani Cultural Night. We managed to get together with another team from New Zealand who thought it would be a good idea if we all perform together to represent New Zealand. Much to our surprise we ended up performing with the ever famous New Zealand group Ardijah.
Below are videos of the waiata and haka that we performed for Cultural Night.
The Auckland University Engineering Students waiata
Posted by wakaama on Thursday, 31 August 2017
The University of Auckland Engineering Students Haka
Posted by wakaama on Thursday, 31 August 2017
On the Friday we spent the day doing a bit of shopping, and having some fun in the sun at Magic Sands Beach. A nice chill day before the big race on Saturday.
Early morning start for the team with a 5.30am wake up before we headed down to the race base for the official Queen Lili’uokalani Opening Ceremony.
The first leg of the Queen Lili’uokalani long distance race is the Women’s and Mixed 40+ race. It starts at Kamakahonu Bay as pictured below, and ends at Honaunau Bay.
The second leg of the race is the Men’s and Open Mixed race, which begins at Honaunau Bay as pictured below, and finishes back at Kamakahonu Bay.
Here’s a quick video of our team just after we crossed the finished line, taken by one of our amazing supporters and team members, Vaoala Enesa.
Posted by Vaoala Enesa on Thursday, 7 September 2017
It was a straight race, and to paddle in a straight line for 30km is mentally tough because you can’t see the finish line, so unless you know where you are, based on the landmarks on the island, you have no way of telling how far you’ve paddled or how far you have left to go. It’s not until you’re closing in on that finish line and you can finally see it that you know where you are, but once you get close enough to the finish, all engines are go from there. The rest, however, is a long grueling race that tests your mental and physical strength. This race really tests your stamina and ability to find the balance between wanting to give your everything, and pacing yourself for the entire race since you have no idea how much further you have to go.
All in all it was an amazing race, and we are all proud of how we performed as individuals, and as a team. Last year our team managed to bring home the gold medal for this race by placing first in the Iron Open Mixed division, and placing 55th overall out of roughly 140 teams, and coming in with a time of 2 hours and 25 minutes. For this year our three goals were to win gold again, break 50s for our overall placing, and beat our time from last year, and we achieved all of those goals placing 21st overall with a time of 2 hours and 3 minutes, and once again bringing home the gold.
Everything we had trained for had all led to this. The cold weeknight paddles, the long Saturday trainings, every gym session, ever race, all of our hard work was all for this moment.
After the prize giving, everyone headed down to the torch light parade. Below are some photos of some engineers playing with fire. Do not try this at home kids!
The last race had arrived and while we may have been mentally prepared, for those of us who did the 30km race, our bodies were feeling the pain. This race was the Wa’a Kaukahi race which was 8km long. The race is paddled in a W12 which is two 6 man boats bound together. The race covers a triangular course with two buoy turns. The team started off strong, leading the first quarter of the race, however as we were approaching the first buoy 3 teams got ahead of us and unfortunately despite the gain in ground we made on the last straight of the race, it was just not quite enough to get in front again and bring home a medal. Even though we came fourth, we’re all super proud of how we did because it was still a good race and we improved from last year, so it was a good way to end racing. We would like to send a big thanks to our friends Ronald and Lara who hopped in for us on race day, we couldn’t have done it without you.
After the race the team headed out to a luau where we had lunch before we did some more shopping and headed back to Kua Bay for another sunset swim.
Monday was our last day, and we had no races so the team decided to spend our last day snorkelling, surfing and swimming. We will let the video below show you how we spent our final day in Hawaii.
On behalf of our team we would like to say thank you to our Coach Leki, our managers Albie Eaton and Tracey Spray, the University of Auckland, Lara Collins and Waka Ama New Zealand, our families and friends as well as everyone who supported us on our journey.
Thanks for reading, Georgia & Sarah signing out.