Te Aito 2011 Paddling Event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

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I photographed the Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event on Saturday in Rarotonga. Split into two races, I photographed the women’s 14-kilometre race in the morning and then the men’s 28-kilometre race in the afternoon. The morning race featured beautiful light, while the afternoon race had a larger swell, which resulted in some more dynamic photos.

All up, it was a great experience being on the media boat and having a first row seat to the action. Big thanks to the organisers for putting together such a great event.

Congratulations to all competitor’s for a great effort!

Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011. (Thomas Pickard)

Start of the women's 14 km Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011.

Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011. (Thomas Pickard)

Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011.

Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011. (Thomas Pickard)

Eventual winner of the women's race, Mereani Marakai from Tahiti, taking a moment to cool off during the Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011.

Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011. (Thomas Pickard)

The essence of paddling: a boat, blade and ocean. A lone competitor during the Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011.

Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011. (Thomas Pickard)

Danielle Cochrane crossing the finish line, Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011.

Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011. (Thomas Pickard)
Vaea Melvin congratulating a competitor, Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011.
Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011. (Thomas Pickard)
Start of the men’s 28 km Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011.
Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011. (Thomas Pickard)
Steve Hart from Tahiti putting in, Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011.
Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011. (Thomas Pickard)
Fletcher Melvin (foreground) during the men’s Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011.
Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011. (Thomas Pickard)
Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011.
Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011. (Thomas Pickard)
Eventual winner, Reuben Dearlove rounding the first marker during the Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011.
Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011. (Thomas Pickard)
Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011.
Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011. (Thomas Pickard)
Competitor’s negotiating swell during the Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011.
Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011. (Thomas Pickard)
Rob Grant, Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011.
Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011. (Thomas Pickard)
Paul Pearson during the Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011.
Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011. (Thomas Pickard)
Reuben Dearlove at the 14 km mark during the Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011.
Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011. (Thomas Pickard)
Winner Rueben Dearlove (left) and Steve Hart (right) during the Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011.
Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011. (Thomas Pickard)
Competitor’s mingle post race during the Te Aito 2011 open ocean paddling event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on the 11 June 2011.

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Thomas PickardTe Aito 2011 Paddling Event, Rarotonga, Cook Islands