Following much anticipation, the Solomon Islands Va’a Federation is soon to be formally established in the country.
This was according to the Interim president, Eric Chow.
In his remarks Mr Chow said, following the success of Va’a as a recognised competitive sport in the Pacific Games in 2015 – Solomon Islands will be stepping up to the plate as a new contender.
Mr Chow added given its nature, Va’a is a paddle sport and in many places in the country people use canoe paddling to travel from places thus will help in play the sport.
He said the Solomon Islands Va’a Federation will also be an umbrella banner for several other canoe models and boards including the; Dug-out, Outrigger, Kayak and Paddle Board.
“It struck me and I’m sure many feel the same way as to why Solomon Islands aren’t competing in such a sport.
“Entrenched in our history is the canoe which many still use to this day as a means of travel, we have that natural ability as paddlers and so I believe it’s a matter of harnessing and converting that ability to be competitive in a sport.
“With the development of the sport in Solomon Islands, there is potential for Solomon Islands to compete in the regional and international stage.
“It’s a good time to look at some of our natural skills and abilities we have as Solomon Islanders, and I firmly believe given the training and opportunity our paddlers can be very competitive,” Chow said.
Chow said a planned public forum will be organised following the Solomon Games for interested persons.
“There is potential of adding to the list based on our cultural modes of sea transportation.”
Dating back to the 19th century Va’a has been a core part of canoe racing in both Tahiti and Hawaii.
The turn of the 20th century saw more organised events beginning in Hawaii.
To this day there still exits traditional clubs from the initial years still competing – history and tradition has been passed on.
Today, Va’a as a modern sport has developed and spread widely across most of Polynesia, Micronesia and the Islands of Melanesia, further to this is the introduction of Va’a into Australasia, USA, Canada and South America.
As an international sport, Va’a is guided under the banner of the International Va’a Federation, founded in 1981.
The general public will be advised on the organised forum which will see the formation of the Solomon Islands Va’a Federation in the country.
By CARLOS ARUAFU