Suva residents had a glimpse of the past on the harbour yesterday as villagers from Moce and Fulaga participated in a unique traditional canoe racing competition.
It was a rare display of traditional skills at its best, competitors braved strong winds to steer their canoes to the designated zone safely and returned to land.
Having refused to wear life jackets, the participants showcased the best in them by cleverly judging the wind with their instincts and skills, for which they were once renown.
History shows that the last traditional canoe racing was held in Suva in 1957.
The event was organised and sponsored by Pacific Blue Foundation — a Fiji registered non-government organisation.
PBF board chairman Greg Mitchell said organising the event was worthwhile because it gave people the chance to revive their skills in canoe building and sailing.
He said the traditional canoe had been a mode of transport for the islanders in the Pacific in the olden days and seeing it revived could open up doors of opportunities for the islanders and the country as a whole.
Mr Mitchell said the competition could become an international event provided if major sponsors were willing to commit themselves for the good cause.
He said even hotels could have their own canoes to entertain their guests.
The overall winner for the race were Setareki Domonisere and Jitoko Moceibure from Fulaga. They were presented with a trophy and $500. The other winners were also presented with a trophy and cash respectively.