Surfing the world famous Teahupoo wave (up to 12ft high!) at the Tahiti Peninsula during the annual Billabong Pro contest attracts thousands of curious visitors, yacht guests and crew all in search of adrenalin. However, The Islands of Tahiti have even more in store for tropical water lovers.
The most genuine traditional competition in the country happens every year during the first week of November between four islands of the Society archipelago.
The Hawaiki Nui Va'a gathers hundreds of athletes (about 80 teams in 2015) from the 118 islands of French Polynesia to compete on outrigger canoes, having trained hard all year, whatever the weather and swell, to fulfill their passion for this ancestral sport.
Even though, canoes are now fiberglass made and lighter, they reflect the culture and passion for the Polynesians for their “Moana” (the ocean), which brought them to Tahiti two thousand years ago.
This national sport gathers numerous teams to compete over a 3-day race, covering 126km (78 miles), starting in the lagoon of Huahine, crossing to Raiatea and Taha’a and crossing to Bora Bora to finish the competition on the world famous Matira white sandy beach.
When in this area, it’s certainly an event not be missed and allows you to share the love the Tahitians have for the ocean and their vibrant islands.
Most recently, The Waterman Tahiti Tour was introduced and has quickly gained great success. Unlike the Billabong Pro and the Hawaiki Nui Va'a which require specific skills for participants, this contest is open to anyone interested in challenging themselves on a paddle board, prone paddle or swimming around Tahiti, Moorea, Huahine and Bora Bora.
This combination of sport makes it a unique race and is appreciated by both local and foreign athletes also interested in sharing a special moment with others in The Islands of Tahiti. This contest is definitely going to increase in popularity over the next few years and will attract more crew members from superyachts to participate - if not yacht guests!