Micro Cup: Fierce and friendly competition – The Guam Daily Post

The 19th Annual Micronesia Cup hit the waters at Chief Matapang Beach on Friday with more than 17 clubs and 45 racing teams from Guam, Saipan and Palau battling it out in the region’s premier paddling event. The event was organized by Tao Tao Galaide and the Guam Canoe and Kayak Federation, with clubs, consisting of boys and girls, men and women, competing in six categories for sprint and endurance races.

The Micro Cup was founded by Linda Yeomans in 1998 as a showcase to bring the paddling community together and create a competitive event for the region. Since that time the event has grown into much more than a sporting event, deeply rooted in culture and truly a family affair, with young and old coming together in a celebration of competition based on their seafaring heritage.

The last time Guam hosted the event, in 2014, local teams took both the women’s and men’s team titles

“It is a cultural friendly event, but is competitive; we keep it fierce in the water and friendly on the shore,” said race director Josh Duenas.

With teams camped along Chief Matapang Beach, the atmosphere was friendly, with supporters and family cheering on racers. “Seeing everybody come together for the fun of it is what it’s about,” said Raymond Santos, who paddles with Haggan LMS.

“This is the regional event for the year and, with the cup rotating every year, what makes it special this year is that it’s on Guam,” said Jeff Nantin, with the Outrigger Paddling Team.

“We are all struggling to keep our sport growing, we always make an effort to bring teams, support and parents – it’s a sport, but there is a spiritual side for us,” explained Tino Faatuuala, who leads the Palau Canoe Club.

“It’s kind of like the battle of the islands, with people coming from the other islands – at the beach it’s always a family thing,” acknowledged Taiguiti coach Frank San Nicolas.

While paddling is a physically demanding sport, a lot of the athletes talk about finding relaxation gliding along and carving through the ancestral waters. “I think once you get out on the water it’s relaxation for us. We get off work and, when we train in Agana Bay, we are on the water at sunset and that’s the enjoyment; and you get a nice workout out of it!,” exclaimed Onward O2 C2 coach Jetan Sahni.

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