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Horouta Waka Hoe digging in for Cancer Society

PADDLE 4 Life is the new Cancer Society fundraiser where you don't have to walk.

Horouta Waka Hoe are running their inaugural Paddle for Life tomorrow between 6am and 6pm with all funds going to Gisborne-East Coast Cancer Society.

Paddlers can choose any two one-hour sessions.

Non-members can also participate by registering on the club's Facebook page, or simply by turning up tomorrow.

“I'm sure they won't be turned down from the opportunity to paddle in support of the cause,” said club president Walton Walker.

The fundraiser has been organised by Paikea Masters Men (40-49 years) who are waka ama paddlers of Horouta Waka Hoe.

The mother-in-law of one paddler recently died of cancer while others have had close family members and other whanau who have been victims of cancer.

“The group also see waka ama as a great activity that promotes healthy life styles and choices among men of this age group and older, rather than an activity focusing on competitive waka ama,” Mr Walker said.

“The banner Paddle 4 Life is appropriate now in light of the Cancer Society's Walk for Life but paddling/waka ama has relevance for the rest of the life of these paddlers.

“Waka ama is a great life choice and it is something they want to promote.”

Mr Walker said he was sure tomorrow's Paddle 4 Life would not be the last.

“Cancer is a scourge of our people and for any help to eradicate it, count us in.”

The fundraiser is a multiple team event with a cost of $20 per person.

Most paddling will be done on six-person waka (W6) and six waka will be on the river at any one time.

“Some of the experienced paddlers will use a one-man waka (W1), said Mr Walker.

“There might even be a W12 waka.

“I'm sure every paddler will get an opportunity to paddle tomorrow.”

Horouta Waka Hoe are enjoying great times, having won the national club most points trophy 10 of the 11 times it has been contested, including the last eight in a row. Members are aged from five to 70.

Club members are coaching 16 secondary school teams, both girls and boys, for the national championships in Rotorua in March.

The Masters section of the club is strong with four W6 teams at this year's nationals.

Mr Walker said that reflected a lifestyle choice.

“It's addictive though and a lot of the time the line between lifestyle choice and competitiveness becomes blurred.”

PADDLING FOR LIFE: Horouta Waka Hoe invite all interested paddlers, including non-club members, to support their inaugural Paddle for Life Cancer Society fundraiser running from 6am to 6pm tomorrow. File photo