Chronicles

Fernando Takes Tahiti

Tahiti

Athlete(s): Fernando Stalla / Photos: Ben Thouard

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All paddle athletes know that competing against the Tahitians is not an easy challenge, since paddling is the number one sport of Tahiti, making them great ocean athletes.

The Spartan Race organized by the Rautirare surf club, was a great event to challenge all the competitors with 5 races in 4 different divisions: Swim, Prome paddle, technical stand up paddle, long distance Stand up Paddle and “Va’a” (a one man canoe).

The competitors that wanted to win the overall event had to do all the races and the time will be added to see who was the overall champion.

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I was pushing hard in all the races, starting with the Swim were I got a 4th place, wining it Tamarua Cowan and 2nd Teva Poulain. In the Prome Race I got another 4th place and wining it Teva Poulain. In the technical SUP race it was a close race where i was fighting for the first place the whole race and at the final buoy I made a bad turn and was passed by Enzo Bennett the local champion that took the win and I had to settle with 2nd place only a few seconds behind. In the long distance SUP there were new racers that did not do the other races and were fresh where in the last 3k I was not able to stay in the leading group and had to settle with a 5th place where Enzo took another victory.

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All came down to the final race (Tahitian canoe) where Teva, Enzo and I were fighting for the overall victory and this was the biggest challenge for me since the canoe was something I had never done (just got to practice one time before the event) and I was sure that I was going to loose the advantage I had from the past races, but was willing to give my vest and see if I was able to Podium.

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My main concern was not to flip the canoe or get hit by a wave since the race was a channel to channel course, meaning going out of the calm waters of the lagoon into the open ocean and back into the lagoon in the next channel where you must surf a wave in.

The Va’a race started well where I was working hard to don’t lose too much grown from the experienced paddlers that kept gaining distance. Half way down the race, I realize that on my tail I had Enzo and Teva. From that moment my hopes of wining the overall came back and I battle the other 2 champs for the rest of the race, where I was able to cross the finish line in front of them and claim the overall victory.

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