California Outrigger Paddlers Earn Medals at IVF Distance Champs

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IVF Distance Champs, PaddleXaminer, Outrigger
Photo: MGL Photography

The bi-annual International Va’a Federation Distance Championships took place in beautiful Mooloolaba, Queensland from 9 – 17 August. The event was hosted by the Australian Outrigger Canoe Racing Association and attended by paddlers representing 22 countries from around the Pacific and as far afield as Europe. California paddlers earned their spots this past spring during intense tryouts held in Newport Beach. Among them, 21 paddlers from Lanakila Outrigger Canoe Club in Redondo Beach, California qualified for the historic trip to beautiful Mooloolaba, Queensland.

IVF Distance Championships, PaddleXaminer, Outrigger

What is the International Va’a Federation?

The International Va’a Federation (IVF) was established in 1981 by the three founding parties:

  1. Kalifornia Outrigger Association (KOA) which was renamed Southern California Outrigger Racing Association (SCORA) in 2004
  2. Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association (HCRA) 
  3. Federation Française de Pirogue Polynésienne, which evolved into the Fédération Tahitienne de Va’a

Why “va’a” and not “outrigger”? The outrigger canoe goes by different names throughout the Pacific, where more than one island nation has staked a claim to having been the originator. Known as outrigger in the continental United States, simply canoe or Wa’a in Hawaii, Va’a in Tahiti, Waka Ama in New Zealand, and the list goes on. The IVF’s founders therefore agreed that Va’a would be the international designation for an outrigger canoe. 

IVF World Championship events are held every year. Sprint competition on even numbered years and distance competition on odd numbered years. In 2020 the World Sprint Championships will take place in Hilo, Hawaii, hosted by the Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association. The following year the World Distance Championships will return to the scene in Samoa, hosted by the Samoa Outrigger Canoe Association.

California paddlers who attended the 2019 IVF Distance Champs

For more information on the IVF, visit ivfiv.org.

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