‘Heke High’ Waka Ama have smashed their way to first place overall at a regional event in Whitianga.

The Cathedral Cove Challenge, held on 11 and 12 November, saw the Waiheke High School team compete against clubs from all over the area, including Paeroa, Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Whakatane, Rotorua, and Tokoroa.

First to compete was mixed team Motu Mix, paddling the club’s brand-new Tahitian built waka. They battled gruelling conditions to finish second in the opening race on Saturday morning.

Sunday was calm and sunny for the junior and novice teams, the Waiheke Waka Ama Club and the Waiheke High School Junior U16 team, who raced 10km out to Centre Island and back, finishing first overall in one hour and one minute.

Waiheke High School Waka Ama manager Mariette Dodd said the team has only been paddling since March, but their performance clearly showed how much they have gained from their coaches, Tony Parker, Cowan Lindesay, Alex Dick and Noema Cash.

“All in all, the Cathedral Cove Challenge was a brilliant event – fantastic scenery, exciting conditions, and great organisation by the Whitianga Waka Ama Club.”

Tony Parker (Waiheke Waka Ama) was placed second in his division and Fraser Munroe (Waiheke Waka Ama) came first in his division.•

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