The Bora Bora Liquid Festival is a fun and joyous celebration of water sports and Tahitian culture hosted each year during the month of December. The island of Bora Bora—known to have the world's most pristine lagoon—sets the ultimate stage for this entirely water-based event. This year marks the 15th consecutive year for the festival, which is scheduled to take place in early December 2015 - firm dates to be announced soon.
Sporting events include a grueling single-man outrigger canoe (va'a hoe) race, surf-ski competitions, standup paddling sprints and long-distance swims. Some of the world's greatest athletes make the journey to put their physical and mental endurance to the test. They come from near and far, including California, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and all around French Polynesia, creating a pretty diverse crowd. However, there is an overwhelming feeling of familiarity and community throughout the island.
Although the competition is fierce, this isn't your typical sporting event. The overall ambiance is highly playful and celebratory. Family and friends gather on the beach to cheer on the participants and enjoy an afternoon of activities including relay races, kids' programs and live entertainment. There are DJ's spinning on the beach, festive outdoor barbecues, traditional Tahitian dance shows and a variety of other tours and excursions open to everyone. Simply put, the Bora Bora Liquid Festival appeals to anyone who is fond of a friendly island environment.
Originally known as the Bora Bora IronMana, the event was established in 2000 by world-class aquatic athlete and competitor Stephan Lambert. It began as the only va'a hoe paddling event in the world that covered more than 34 miles. Every year, new disciplines are added and the race circuits are continually modified to ensure the novelty of the event and create a fair yet competitive environment for both new and returning athletes. Now, in addition to a display of sporting excellence, the event has also grown into a celebration of authentic Tahitian culture. "This is one of the most unique and exciting events I've ever been a part of,"
says open water swimmer Alex Kostich. "While the event is a great racing experience in and of itself, what I love about the Liquid Festival is the celebratory nature of the gathering; its produced by and populated by people who grew up around and have a deep affinity for the ocean. While the events are all highly competitive and incredibly exciting, there's an undercurrent of passion that infuses the whole week which you don't necessarily see anywhere else. It's a stunning location of course, but more importantly it's a celebration of all things aquatic—and to my knowledge that's never been done before."