The Micronesia Cup was introduced shortly after Guam participated in the first ever outrigger canoe races held on Guam in the 1994 Micronesia Games. As the Guam paddling population became more competitive, the Cup was introduced as a way to have local teams race against other teams in the Pacific.
The event was first organized in Guam in 1999 as a Bay-to-Bay race. Starting off at Merizo, paddlers would then proceed to Umatac Bay then Sella Bay and finished off at Agat Bay. When the competition began attracting an international pool of paddling athletes, the Cup expanded into a regional canoe race. Islands Palau and Saipan came onboard as co-hosts. This allowed visiting teams to experience different race venues and cultures in Micronesia.
The three islands would take turns hosting the event. For its 13th year, the Cup once again comes home to Guam. Historically, Guam is the largest among the three venues. Last year, the event was held in Palau while Saipan plays host in 2012.
The “Micro Cup” has become a rare opportunity to showcase Guam’s National Sport. These fun and competitive outrigger canoe races have allowed us to share our rich seafaring heritage with the rest of the world. Alongside this is another significant purpose. Funds earned from the Cup are used to cover expenses for the Guam National teams the Guam High School league.
Currently, the Guam Kayak and Canoe Federation (GKCF), which consists of member clubs from all over Guam, has been in charge of putting on the event. The competition uses the 6-person outrigger canoe. It has sprint races usually ranging from 500-2,000 meters. Meanwhile, the open ocean, long distance races range from 8-14 miles. The last time Guam hosted the event, a total of 38 teams consisting of approximately 200 athletes participated. Aside from “local” teams from the host islands, the participating teams have come from Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii.
As the 13th Micronesia Cup draws near, excitement in the island and the region is building up. This year’s Cup is scheduled on October 28, 29 and 30, 2011. The unique display of sports action will have the sprints held at Matapang Beach while the long distance course will go from __________________________ and back up to Matapang.
An increased number of participating teams and paddling enthusiasts are expected to troop over to the venues for this year’s events. Aside from the teams battling it out in the waters, exciting side activities and entertainment are also being lined up. An awards banquet to honor the winners will cap off the weekend of competition.