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Fautasi Fiva 2019: Paepaeulupoo will be 100% by race day

Paepaeulupoo crew 2019 from Aua village

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — After 10 weeks of training, the crew members of the Paepaeulupoo from Aua village are currently 95% ready. But come Race Day this Saturday, April 13th, "we will be at 100%”.

These were the words of Paepaeulupoo skipper Leonard Sonoma Liufau yesterday, during a brief interview with Samoa News. Fautasi Fiva 2019 is proudly presented by Congresswoman Aumua Amata.

The 44 crew members who will muscle the Aua longboat to the finish line include teens, young fathers, and even grandfathers.

The youngest is a 14-year-old eighth grader, and the oldest is about 50.

Over the past years, the Paepaeulupo'o has always been a strong contender. They have placed 2nd numerous times and even took First Place during the fautasi heats. But they've never won a Flag Day fautasi title.

2019 just might be their year.

Led by head trainer Pine Samu and the gang: Eric McFarland, Fred Burgess, and Sauafea Sonny Sauafea, the Paepaeulupoo - by all means - should be considered a threat.

They consistently place in the Top 5 and are always giving it their all. This year, the crew — and those who are leading the pack — are determined to take the title to the east side.

They're young, motivated, and hungry — a very dangerous combination.

Aua fans and supporters line the shores next to the faleva'a every evening to see the longboat off when it heads out to sea for rowing practice. There, they remain, until the fautasi heads back.

Over the next two days — as is the usual practice — Aua villagers will start putting up handmade signs and posters (on their homes and the coconut trees next to the main road) with messages for the skipper and the auva'a.

"We want to wish all the other teams the best of luck," Liufau said. "May we have a good race this year."