ALOTAU became the first province out of the National Capital District to launch an outrigger canoe club with a splash using the traditional Milne Bay canoe culture in a contemporary setting on Saturday 22 August.
It was a historic day as the sport of Va’a or Outrigger Canoe Club racing was introduced to the Milne Bay Province.
The launch coincided with the theme being the official launching of the 2009 National Canoe Festival the previous night at the Alotau International Hotel.
The Konedobu Kanu Klub (3K) also helped the club by sending two members including Michael Henao to show the AOCC members the outrigger canoe skills over the weekend.
3K President Michael Henao and members Neil Papenfus and Gabe Rei assisted the AOCC members the skills over the weekend.
The 3 K crew conducted paddling clinics and the various aspects of the Kalo or Stroke.
It was emphasized on timing and keeping the outrigger canoe balanced.
The enthusiastic AOCC members were taken through the tough drills aimed at getting them to paddle in time, learn to steer, flip a canoe and right it after a flip.
3K President Henao was pleased with the outcome of the clinics and praised the AOCC members for their fun attitude toward this newly introduced sport.
“It was a pleasure to run the paddling clinics, everyone was eager to learn as we’ve always said that outrigger club canoe racing is a natural progression from our traditional canoeing,” he said.
AOCC President Tony Aspden said the club was all about the canoe and involvement in water sports.
The National Culture Commission Executive Director Dr. Jacob Simet was present to witness the launch. He was initially involved in the very first National Canoe Festival launched in Milne Bay six years ago.
The AOCC members will show case their outrigger canoe skills in the upcoming 2009 National Canoe Festival in Alotau on Nov 6-8.