Over Labor Day weekend, I traveled to the Big Island (my first ever long distance race stroking a 6 man outrigger canoe) to compete in the annual Queen Lili’uokalani race. This race is the world largest long distance outrigger canoe race covering 18 miles between Kailua and Honaunau.
The crew was made up of 4 paddles from my club HPOCC (Steph, Tim, Manny and Me) and 2 paddlers from Seattle OCC (Billy and Mike). We all met each other when we arrived in Kona on Thursday night before the race. Having two paddlers from a different club and state proved to be difficult during training the months leading up to the race but on Friday before race day we were able to get the crew together for a run and we all seemed to blend and run well together.
Race day started at a very early 6am with the women’s race at 7:30 am and the men’s race starting at noon. We had to get on the ferry, at 6am!, that would take us along the women’s race and eventually to where we pick up our race canoe and get ready to paddle back the 18 miles to Kailua. After waiting almost an hour (Yes…I did my pre-race routine of throwing up, but this time is was 5 times!) in the Kona heat and humidity for the over 100 canoes to make their way to the start line, the race was underway! The crew ran strong and well for the 18 miles. For most of the race we were in the middle of the pack and steadily paddled walking down crews along the 18 miles. When we were able to see the shoreline and the finish about 2 miles out, we were in a battle with 3 other crews with all the way to the finish! The crew was able to give the last of what they had to make for an exciting finish to a very physically demanding and grueling race. It took us 2 hours and 40 minutes to paddle the 18 miles from Honaunau to Kailua, we were very happy with our time and place given the time we had to train and that this was the first time most of us had paddled that type of distance.
I had a great time doing this race and it was a great experience. I can’t wait for another paddling adventure!
Thank you Liquid Militia – Kyla, Ryan, Shawn,and Pablo for always supporting me with all of my adventure! Love you guys!
Covewater Outrigger, Standup, and Prone Santa Cruz – Scott and the crew there thanks for everything you guys do for me!
Thank you Kialoa – Meg for making the best paddles!
Thank you my crew – Steph, Tim, Manny, BiIly, and Mike for getting us across that 18 mile stretch! Best CREW EVER!!