Thursday, April 17, 2014

Long Boat Racing: 50 Oars, 1 Boat!

The history of long boat racing dates back to the early days of island merchants.

With few Pacific harbors large and deep enough to accommodate deep keeled ocean cargo ships, lighters were used to transfer goods from the ship to shore.

The lighters were also useful as a quick means of transportation from one village to another. Over decades local boat builders lengthened the boats in order for more passengers and rowers to make interisland trips.

Today, American Samoa stands alone as one of two (Upolu)  islands where the custom of lighter transportation evolved into a sport.

These custom built racing machines, some costing as much as US $200,000 are crewed by young village men who row for the prestige and pride of village and family.


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