Solid Update from the Liquid Festival

The 2012 Bora Bora Liquid Festival concluded this past weekend and we hear it was a huge success! Blogger Alyssa Roenigk from ESPN-W was there to experience it firsthand, sharing daily updates with her readers and graciously taking us all along for the ride. We definitely recommend reading her series, “The Road to IronMana,” while also checking out some of the photos on the event’s Facebook page and SUP Magazine. In the meantime, here’s a quick summary of what transpired last week!

It all began on Wednesday, November 28th when event organizer Stephan Lambert—along with three Americans and five Tahitians—departed from Tahiti aboard traditional outrigger sailing canoes. This is the third year that Lambert has opened the event with a channel crossing as a way to announce the start of the festival to the people of Tahiti. This year, stops included the islands of Moorea, Raiatea and Taha’a. It took them four days and 40 grueling hours of sailing and paddling, but they arrived in Bora Bora on Sunday afternoon energized and ready to kick things off!

Stephan Lambert arriving in Bora Bora for the 2012 Liquid Festival. Photo: Wim Lippens
Stephan Lambert arriving in Bora Bora for the 2012 Liquid Festival, Photo: Wim Lippens

As more people arrived in Bora Bora and things got underway, the festivities began with a traditional Kids Day on Wednesday, December 5th. The local children took over the beach as they learned how to stand-up paddle and sail traditional outrigger canoes. An event like this is very important for training these potential young athletes, since 90% of them had never been on a paddle board and nearly all were paddling canoes for the first time.

Kids Day at the 2012 Bora Bora Liquid Festival, Photo: Wim Lippens
Kids Day at the 2012 Bora Bora Liquid Festival, Photo: Wim Lippens

The rest of the week included a series of shot-down events, which are one-on-one, single-elimination sprint races in canoeing, stand-up paddling and swimming. Two at a time, competitors go head to head against one another, male against male, female against female. The winner of each race moves on to the next round, while the loser is eliminated. However, as Alyssa quickly realized at this event, “when you lose, you win.”

Sofitel Swim, Photo: Wim Lippens
Swimming shot-down near the Sofitel Bora Bora, Photo: Wim Lippens

The final day of the Bora Bora Liquid Festival was the intense IronMana, the most difficult and prestigious one-man va’a canoe and stand-up paddle race in Tahiti. Many of the competitors arrived Saturday night just to compete in the grand finale. Heavy winds nearly postponed the main event, but at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, Matira Beach was flooded with competitors and spectators ready for action.

Less than three-and-a-half hours into the race, Steeve Teihotaata, easily one of the best paddlers in Tahiti, finished in first place. Please join us in congratulating him!

    Steeve Teihotaata (center) wins the 2012 IronMana, Photo: Wim Lippens
Steeve Teihotaata (center) wins the 2012 IronMana, Photo: Wim Lippens

The Bora Bora Liquid Festival is gaining momentum, meaning next year’s event is calling your name! In Alyssa’s own words, “There truly is nothing like this event… you really have to experience it for yourself.”


10 thoughts on “Solid Update from the Liquid Festival

  1. Hi We were there on holidays from Australia, our 5th time and the weather, the people and the athletes were amazing. A definite fun week for all and great hospitality from Sofitel Bora Bora.

Share your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.