2017 Aunu’u Iron Challenge opens local international outrigger race season

(BASED ON A PRESS RELEASE)  — Nine teams with 54 paddlers from 5 different countries competed in the 2017 Aunu’u Iron Challenge, the first international outrigger race of the year in American Samoa.

The race, organized by Alo O Samoa Outrigger Canoe Club (OCC) and sponsored by GHC Reid &Co., Ltd, Pacific Energy, the American Samoa Visitors Bureau, Carl's Jr, Business and Professional Women of American Samoa, Cherith Lober, Archie Soliai, and Sadie's by the Sea Beach Resort, was held on the opening weekend of Moso’oi Week.

The 2017 Aunu’u Iron Challenge consisted of two days of racing with a 4-kilometer V1 race in Pago Pago Harbor on Friday, Oct. 20 and a 12.5-kilometer one way and a 25-kilometer marathon roundtrip race to and from Aunu’u on Saturday, Oct. 21 morning. 

Teams from Apia included Laumei OCC, Nafanua OCC, Pualele OCC, and Team Fuzzy Manta which is made up from a mixture of Apia clubs. Teams from American Samoa included Team Galu Afi from Au Vaa Laumei OCC, Teams Alo O Samoa and Atafa i Moana from Alo O Samoa Outrigger, and Le Vasa OCC.

Race Chair John Goeke said, “It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to host an international outrigger race. The tsunami in 2009 destroyed two canoes and made it difficult to offer a fair, safe, and competitive race. Thanks to our boat sponsors National Pacific Insurance, Steinlager, the American Samoa Visitors Bureau, and Bud Light we can begin hosting again. Without these sponsors, we would not have the equipment necessary to develop sports tourism through invitational outrigger competitions. We know teams who want to come and we have great water.”

Alo O Samoa Outrigger would like to thank all of its event sponsors, boat sponsors, officials, and volunteers and is looking forward to organizing this race again next year.

RACE RESULTS

V6 Open Men 12.5 km

1. Laumei                  1:23.45                      va'a Varua 2
2. Nafanua                 1:26.35                      va'a American Samoa Visitors Bureau
3. Pualele                       1:33.42                      va'a National Pacific Insurance
4. Alo O Samoa           1:37.00                      Lightning Ma’amu Le Vasa OCC

V6 Open Mixed 12.5 km

1. Galu Afi                 1:12.00                      va'a National Pacific Insurance
2. Alo O Samoa           1:15.00                      Lightning Ma’amu Le Vasa OCC

V6 Open Men 25 km

1. Laumei                  2:21.12                      va'a Varua 2
2. Nafanua                 2:23.05                      va'a American Samoa Visitors Bureau

V6 Open Mixed 25 km

1. Fuzzy Manta        2:32.05          va'a Varua 3
2. Atafa i Moana       2:36.51          va'a Steinlager
3. Le Vasa              2:48.51          va'a Bud Light

V1 Open Women 4 km (Harbor Course)
1. Amanda Wheatley
2. Malama Tafunai
3. Erika Radewagen

V1 Open Men 4 km (Harbor Course)
1. Esera Aumua
2. Dan Conley
3. Jacktai Laban
4. Elton Peterson
5. James Tamasese
6. Jonathan Porter
7. Kopelani Tuulama
8. Lucas Sooaemalelagi
9. Vito Lealasola

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