After a hiatus, this was the first time the Mana Super 6 was run since 2015.
In the lead up to this year’s event, weather forecasts made it difficult for the organisers to make a call on which way to run it. We settled on Northerly conditions, and while hoping for stronger wind then forecast, we ended up with just a light 5-10knot Northerly, with some gentle swells. Quite a change, after a Southerly had rolled through just the night before.
Eleven teams were on the line this year, including Team Pineula, winners of M2M at the Mount in March 2022, and Bhutty Boys, who placed second at the M2M.
This year’s course took teams from Paraparaumu Beach to Kapiti Island, and then a straight run to Pa Point, and the final dash to Ngati Toa Channel in Porirua. The total race distance was 34.5km if taking the most direct line.
The race got under way at 11.30am, with the initial dash across to a turn marker just off Kapiti Island. Both Team Pineula (orange shirts, yellow canoe) and Bhutty Boys (pink/purple shirts, white and yellow canoe) immediately started battling for the lead, both pulling slightly ahead of the field. (You can replay the race at https://flotilla.safetrxapp.com/events/wakaama/manasuper6.)
At the turn marker at Kapiti Island, Bhutty Boys and Team Pineula turned first, followed closely by Black Broncos (pink shirts, white canoe).
Following the turn, we immediately saw a split of the field, with both Pineula, Bhutty Boys and most others heading straight toward Pa Point, whereas Black Broncos and Ie Ko Ko! hugged the shore line to avoid the tidal currents.
By facing less of the current, Black Broncos again caught up to Bhutty Boys and Pineula. Now clearing the smaller islands at the southern end of Kapiti Island, teams now headed for Pa Point, albeit with the field spreading relatively wide, with Black Broncos on the outside, Pineula in the middle, and Bhutty Boys taking the most inside line.
About 15km into the race (approximately in line with the Paekakariki township), these three teams continued to battle for the lead: Black Broncos on the outside, separated about 400m from Pineula in the middle, and Bhutty Boys a further 500m on the inside.
Coming up to the Pukerua Bay township and the “tea gardens”, both Pineula and Bhutty Boys had pulled slightly ahead of Black Broncos. Black Broncos had now tucked in behind Pineula, but Bhutty Boys were still a good 400m further on the inside.
Now it was time for the race to get interesting, because the inside line could soon pay dividends, as it meant getting closer to the shore earlier, and getting out of the tidal current slightly earlier.
In the end, there was not that much difference, with Bhutty Boys and Pineula coming back together about 2km out from the turn marker at Pa Point, albeit with Bhutty Boys slightly ahead at this point. Black Broncos were at this point about 250m behind the two leading teams, albeit well clear of the rest of the field.
With only about 7km left to the finish, it was now or never to make a move, with Bhutty Boys pushing hard, and managing to extend their lead to about 150m within the next two kilometres.
Teams now headed for the finish, with Bhutty Boys finishing first, followed by Team Pineula, and Black Broncos taking the third. Congratulations to all teams, and thanks for making your way down. It’s always a good sign if paddlers are still smiling at the end.
See you next time.