Coast women dice with death
SIX LOCAL women narrowly escaped death in the Cook Islands when their flying outrigger canoe crashed and catapulted them on to a reef surrounding Rarotonga.
The women, dazed and bleeding, staggered around and across the reef until rescuers arrived.
“Luckily no one landed on their head or they may have drowned,” said one survivor of the spectacular end to the race.
Their carbon fibre canoe, a New Zealand product ironically dubbed “The Roc”, was snapped in two and the ama (the balancing outrigger) smashed.
The story of their brush with death emerged this week when veteran racer Kim Polglase was talking to the Chronicle’s Ahoy columnist Les Wilson.
It was a heart-breaking finish to a visit where young locals raced to the Cooks’ championship title and some of their mums ended up in ambulances and hospital.
The canoeists funded the visit with sausage sizzles and say they will return to the islands.
Outrigger canoeists are made of stern stuff, says Kim Polglase.
“I thought at the time it was all over red rover. My life passed me by.”
“But this one horror race is just a hiccup and won’t stop the sport continuing to grow.”