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The Road to Unity: Samoa’s Women’s Team ready for Va’a Championships

With the IVF Vaa Long Distance Championship fast approaching in the horizon, the Samoa Masters 40 Women’s Va’a team, have their sights set on making their mark at what the world of paddling consider to be the Olympics of outrigger canoeing.

Comprised of the best paddlers from various local va’a clubs and overseas based Samoan paddlers, the Master 40s women’s team have been training together for the last six months.

With each member bringing their own techniques and mentalities to the water, their main challenge has been grappling with the expected difficulties of finding collective rhythms. 

With 30 years of experience in paddling, Moevanu Aiomanu Tupu is the inspirational captain of the Masters 40 women’s team who is tasked with leading Samoa’s best in their category.

Samoa Masters 40s Womens Team Captain, Moevanu Aiomanu Tupu

“For me being a captain is a big responsibility” says Moevanu.” You have to be strong physically and mentally. It requires me to always be prepared for the many different issues that happens in sports. However at the end of the day, doing all these hardships will build our strength as a team.”

Moevanu also shoulders the responsibility of uniting a diverse team and fostering an environment where everyone can improve and flourish. Building trust, both on and off the water.

“We formed our team from local clubs including some of our Samoan overseas paddlers. For us locals, it’s been very tough coming from different clubs and having different techniques and mindsets” she explains.

“As a captain, I strive to find ways to bring these awesome ladies together so we can move forward with confidence.  To do that, we had to build a lot of trust and form a bond both on and off the water.”

“We understand that everyone is not the same and that’s okay. It’s not about how malosi (strong) or experienced you are. It’s about having heart and trust. By being honest about our training every day on and off the water we will achieve and do well in this event. “

To represent Samoa in the women’s category, the Masters 40s Women’s team have been tirelessly preparing for the championships over the last 6 months while balancing full time jobs and family responsibilities.

“Training has been tough with early morning and late afternoon trainings that we fit in between our normal day jobs and raising our families” said Moevanu. “It’s tiring and exhausting due to lack of sleep. But despite that I’m still here and loving this sport, it’s become like my bread and butter for the last 30 years”

With over 20 countries participating, only the best paddlers have been selected by coaches and managers of every international team.  The pressure is on, and Moevanu knows it.

“This is a very important race for us paddlers. It’s our Olympic games for paddling and only the best teams have been selected to represent their country. That includes us here in Samoa. Our Team Vaa Samoa coaches have selected the very best in our country to represent Samoa and make us all proud.”

Moevanu’s personal journey into paddling began at St. Mary’s High School in 1993 when Samoa hosted the world’s sprints race. Since then, her passion for the sport has only grown stronger. Alongside her teammates, six of whom hail from St. Mary’s College in Vaimoso, Moevanu immerses herself in this enduring love affair with the waters.

Guided by mentors Su’a Jay Ah Fook Schuster and Tutasi Tamasese Schuster, Moevanu and her comrades learn not only the art of paddling but also the importance of becoming strong, young women who will carry the torch for future generations.

With their hearts brimming with pride and minds honed by unwavering dedication, Moevanu and her team stand poised to make history. Their ultimate goal is to etch Samoa’s name upon the world IVF score board, a triumph that will make their families, friends, supporters, sponsors, and above all, themselves, immensely proud.

“We have been training really hard for a long time to prepare ourselves for this race. I strongly believe our team will be up there and our aim is to put our country’s name on the world IVF score board” shares Moevanu. “That would make up for all the aches, pains and hard work that we have experience to make our country, families, friends, supporters and sponsors and especially ourselves proud. “

“We call on all our Samoan supporters and families to come support the sons and daughters of Samoa as we strive to make our country proud. Afifio mai, susu mai, tatou tapuaia le taumafaiga o au tama fanau auai se ai o tatou atunuu pele o Samoa. Lastly I wish to thank No1 Currency for the awesome support to our team. Faafetai le alofa, faafetai, faafetai, faafetai.”

  • This content is made possible with funding from No1 Currency, proud sponsors of the Samoa IVF Vaa Long Distance Championships

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