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!
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.
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.”
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!
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.”