A paddler who competed in the recent 2016 Micro Cup in Palau was the guest speaker in yesterday’s Rotary Club of Saipan meeting at the Hyatt Regency Saipan.
Shelli Neal of Marianas Pacific Paddlers discussed her experience taking part in the competition that was held last month in the waters off Meyuns Seaplane Ramp in Koror.
“My presentation was simply about Micro Cup 2016. I was asked to speak by Greg Borja and to share with you guys our [team] experiences in Palau, what to expect here in 2018 when we host, and really just the joys of canoeing,” she said.
According to Neal, the sport of outrigger canoeing can be very expensive—having a canoe costing as much as $10,000 without shipment.
She said paddlers for the upcoming event in 2018 would come from Saipan, Guam, Palau, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, and on rare occasions, people from Hawaii.
“For those of you who are looking for a different way to exercise, there’s no way around the fitness benefits of paddling,” Neil said.
Rotary Club president Ivan Ilmov said he’s proud with what the CNMI’s outrigger canoe teams achieved in the Palau during the Micro Cup.
“These teams show they can compete off-island and prove they are in very good shape. They also try to change the lifestyle of local kids by inspiring them to participate in this traditional sport,” he said.
Aside from Marianas Pacific Paddlers, other outrigger canoe teams that competed in the 2016 Micro Cup were Marianas Outrigger Club, Napu Outrigger Canoe Club, and Saipan Paddling Club.
MOC swept all men’s events. Napu Outrigger Canoe Club, meanwhile, dominated three events in the junior mix division.