Matson Vaka Eiva 2023 Done and Dusted!

Cook Islands Tourism
Photography By
Harvie Allison
Matson Vaka Eiva 2023 is done and dusted, with happy and satisfied paddlers headed home following a week of exciting oe vaka racing in challenging ocean conditions, and everything that comes with the unique event that is Vaka Eiva. The 17th edition saw over 500 paddlers from the Cook Islands, NZ, Australia, Hawaiia, Tahiti and the US enjoying fun v6 6k races, challenging V6 and V1 12km iron races, and the esteemed Round Rarotonga Relay. Cook Islands teams thrived in their home conditions, placing in all the events, and taking out the Bob Worthington Mixed Changes race, and the Round Rarotonga womens changes relay. Aside from the racing, paddlers enjoyed festivities including the opening prizegiving/dinner at the Islander which set the tone for the rest of the week, which wrapped up with flowers and smiles and pearl shell medals at the closing ceremony at Trader Jacks on the Friday. First time paddlers from Hawaii were heard to say it was the best paddling event they had been to, and they would be back. Expressions of interest are already being received from overseas paddlers for 2024 Vaka Eiva, which is seen not just as a sporting spectacle, but so much more, a celebration of community, spirit, culture, and the hospitality that is Rarotonga