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Team Aihe beats ocean to bring back bronze

Oct 19th, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, Sport

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TACKLING OCEAN: The Team Aihe battle rough seas between the Hawaii islands of Molokai and Oahu. Photo: Supplied

PORIRUA paddler Grant Barriball now knows what it takes to tackle one of the toughest open water races in the world and he wants to do it again.

Barriball was a member of the first kiwi to win a medal in Hawaii‘s 74km Molokai Hoe Canal Race for outrigger canoes.

Their Team Aihe took six hours to paddle from Molokai to Oahu on Sunday last week, starting at 8am and crossing the line at 2pm to take third place in the masters division.

Barriball, pictured below, says the race went smoothly, he is pleased with the outcome and plans to do it again.

Aihe3“What we had we used to the fullest, but we needed more.

“We had good paddlers from New Zealand, but could have done with more experience.”

The team had a support boat alongside them carrying with them three reserve paddlers.

There were six paddlers in the canoe and every 15 minutes the three rested team members would swap back into the boat.

Managing the changeovers was Selena Katene.

“Changeovers were part of the race, and needed to be managed to make sure everything ran smoothly,” Katene says.

“They wouldn’t have the energy to think about who was coming out, they just needed to concentrate on paddling.”

Two teams from Tahiti were placed first and second of the 15 masters crews.

“It was a very tactical race, you needed to know everything about currents, winds and that sort of stuff,” Barriball says.

This race was Barriball’s first since becoming the Masters Men 500m waka ama champion in New Caledonia in May, for which he was nominated for the 2010 Porirua Sportsperson of the Year Award.

His next race will be the New Zealand Marathon in Whakatane, a 16km paddle out to sea in October, then in November Grant will travel to Rarotonga to compete in the Vaka Eiva race 42km paddle around the island

He then gets a bit of a break until January 2011 when the annual New Zealand nationals are held at Lake Karapiro.

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READY FOR ACTION: Grant Barriball (third from left) and the team with manager Selena Katene (in middle) prepare for the race. Photo: Supplied.

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