Moorea Va'a CanoeMoorea Va'a Canoe
©Moorea Va'a Canoe |Myles McGuinness

Try out a va'a

Outrigger canoe

In the wake of the ancient mariners

The outrigger canoe is an integral part of Polynesian culture. A few strokes to the left, a few more to the right, and you’re away! The outrigger will help you keep upright.


" The traditional outrigger canoe is called a va'a in Polynesia. "

Shaped for going fast

You’ll see outrigger canoes by the score late in the afternoon, skimming across the waters of the lagoon or heading out through the passes to challenge the ocean’s waves. It’s part of everyday life for all Polynesians, whether they’re from Bora Bora, Papeete in Tahiti, The Tuamotu Islands or any of the other archipelagos. An outrigger canoe is not just for sport, it’s a means of transport and it’s also a fishing boat. But above all else, it’s fun! Va’a is the number one sport in The Islands of Tahiti, so while you’re here, give it a go!

If you want a measure of the importance of outrigger canoe racing, follow one of the many va’acompetitions and you’ll see the excitement at the finish line. If possible, try to be here for the Hawaiki Nui Va’a ! In this world-famous canoe race, teams cross the open ocean from Huahine to Bora Bora via Raiatea and Taha’a. A total of 125 kilometers in three days of intense paddling, before arriving in the carnival atmosphere at the magnificent Matira Beach in Bora Bora.

On your own or with good company?

Alone or with others on the boats, it’s up to you. In solo mode, paddle a va’a ho’e. For a trio,...