Members of Belau Kanu Club as they train at Meyuns Seaplane Ramp.

Of all the sports available locally, there is one that has been practiced in ancient Palau up until the present.

Palauans used canoes traditionally for fishing, called the kaeb, and travelling, called the kaberuuch, and for war-making, the kabekel. Today, this spirit of using canoes has been transferred to the sport of outrigger canoeing, also called va’a, after the Polynesian style canoe that is used all over the world.

The Canoe Association of Palau maintains 6 of these outrigger canoes, called the V6, which seat 6 people, as well as 5 one-man canoes, called the V1. Several clubs from around Palau use these canoes. One of them, the Belau Kanu Club, is a volunteer based Va’a club which meets 5 times a week to train for canoe competitions as well as to promote fitness and develop skills in the sport.

Most members of the Belau Kanu Club competed as part of Team Palau in the Micro games in Yap last year, and the women’s team won 3 gold medals in the 500 meter sprint, 1500 meter sprint, and long distance events. The same women’s team was able to compete in the Pacific Games this year in Samoa, and finished 6th out of all the teams in the Pacific, racing alongside world class champions such as Tahiti and New Caledonia.

The Belau Kanu Club has been training daily for their next big competition, the Micro Cup, a regional Va’a race which rotates between Palau, Guam, and Saipan. This year in 2019, Palau is proud to host teams for the 21th Annual Micro Cup. This competition is expected to bring hundreds of paddlers to the island and will be held on October 25, 26, and 27 at the Meyuns Seaplane Ramp. All interested spectators are highly encouraged to come to the Seaplane Ramp, known locally as “Skojo,” this weekend to cheer on their favorite teams.

The BKC is divided into two teams for competition in Micro Cup 2019. BKC Waterfall is comprised mainly of young men from Ngardmau state, and they will be competing in the open men’s division in the V1 (one man canoes), 500 meter, 1000 meter, and long distance categories. BKC Ta Bedesil is composed mainly of women living in Koror and Airai, and they will be competing in the open women’s division in the V1, 500 meter, 1000 meter, and long distance categories. (PR)

BKC’s training schedule includes paddling Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at the Meyuns seaplane ramp, as well as cross training on Tuesday at the track and field and technique training on Thursdays using kayaks generously provided by Leticia “Letty” Sicat Leidich of Rock Island Kayak Expeditions. BKC would like to thank Letty and her husband Ron for their continued support of their program.

BKC would also like to thank their sponsors for this year’s Micro Cup:  IRudimch& Company, Vice President Raynold Oilouch, Koror State Office of the Governor, Koror State Legislature,Ngardmau Delegate Lucio Ngiraiwet, Ngardmau State Office of the Governor, Ngardmau State Legislature, and Ngardmau Council of Chiefs.