The IVF Va’a World Sprints is the ultimate international competition for canoe sprint racing, with 35 countries represented and up to 10,000 people in attendance. Hawaii’s women are represented by six qualifying teams from across the state. The World Elite Championships division was a new addition to the World Sprints in 2016, intended to showcase paddlers at the pinnacle of Va’a sprint racing, with only one team qualifying to represent each region. Na Kai ‘Ewalu’s Open Women (Taima McCartney, Amanda May, Katie Folio, Rosie Amico, Ashley Jung, and Amy Peterson), qualified as Hawaii’s first ever Elite Women’s crew to compete at this level.

The competition within the elite division consists of the best on the national stage, including Tahiti, Australia, and New Zealand. But training and dedication paid off when Na Kai’s crew placed third in the Women’s Elite six man 1500 meter race – the the only team from Hawai’i to earn a medal in the Elite Championship events. It was a thrilling victory for our crew and for our club. We are proud to have represented Hawai’i at this level, and to have brought home the bronze.

A special thanks to Hana Lima Physical Therapy, Cultural Surveys Hawaii, Home Remedies Interior Design, Mana Foods, Aloha Surgical Center, and Elite Physical Therapy for their sponsorship.

The 2018 Va’a World Sprints is coming up this summer in Tahiti, and we are proud of all of the Na Kai paddlers who qualified to compete again this year!