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Joni Stone   Meet Joni, one of our travel experts for Cook Islands.

Born in the Southwest, raised in the Northwest, I have called the South Pacific home for nearly 30 years. I founded J2 Travels in the late 1990s to share our knowledge with other like minded travelers – remembering always, that the joy is in the journey. I currently live on Maui, I'm endorsed by IATA, and am a member of the Fiji, Tahiti and New Zealand Tourism Boards.

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Vaka Eiva

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Vaka Eiva - Vaka Eiva. Copyright Samade Beach Bungalow.

See thumbnails of all photos for this point of interest.


The premier event sees teams battling each other around Rarotonga's 36km exterior starting and finishing at Avarua township. Again, paddlers can face all sorts of conditions on the day at various stages of the race. This includes a headwind, open ocean swells, side chop and flat water. The varied conditions make this race unique and challenging and seemingly further than the 36km!!

Due to huge conditions on the south side of the island, for the first time in 2007, paddlers weren't able to paddle "Round Raro". Their 36km went around the western side of the island to the half way mark. Livestrong Hawaii and Mooloolaba battled all the way, with Team Livestrong finally pulling away on the surf leg home. 2004 and 2005 winners the Boiler Boys won their own battle for 3rd place over Maupiti from Tahiti and 2006 winners Team Goodyear.

RuaHine from Tahiti made it a double after their win in the V6 Avana Iron with a strong Team Xylo coming in ahead of past winners Waitakere. RuaHine (formerly known as Tahiti ROC and Waitakere (formerly known as Wahine Toa) have been busy swapping top places over the last three years and Team Xylo were a new addition to this ongoing battle!

From just under 200 paddlers in their inaugural Vaka Eiva in 2004, for 2009 the Cook Islands Canoeing Association hosted 800 paddlers from Aotearoa, Australia, Tahiti, Hawaii, Guam and of course the Cook Islands. We paddled, partied, relaxed, enjoyed cultural actives, raised money for local charities and enjoyed the camaraderie of meeting so many paddlers and supporters from across the Pacific.

The Vaka Eiva Organizing Committee and all members of The Cook Islands Canoeing Association, looks forward to welcoming returning friends & meeting new ones for the 7th annual Vaka Eiva.