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Hawaiki Nui Va'a (Canoe Race)'s insider take:

Held over a three-day period every October, the Hawaiki Nui Va'a is the most prestigious open-ocean canoe race in the world. It also signifies the important connection between Tahitians and their descendents who migrated to Hawaii several hundred years ago. Paddling teams from Hawaii, other Pacific Islands, and the mainland U.S. come here to steal, reclaim, or solidify titles in the 77-mile, three-leg race between Huahine and Bora Bora. The first day is typically about a four-hour crossing from Huahine to Raiatea; the second day is a 90-minute sprint inside the lagoon between Raiatea and Tahaa; and the final day is a four-hour race to reach Matira Beach in Bora Bora, where cheering crowds of spectators greet the winners.

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