The Hawaii Canoe Club will mark the culmination of another season on Sept. 13 by hosting the Pailolo Challenge, a 26-mile downwind outrigger canoe race from Maui’s D.T. Fleming Beach in Kapalua to Kaunakakai Pier on Molokai. The Maui to Molokai race is considered a prime training run for crews preparing for the world championship of outrigger canoe racing—the men’s and women’s Ka‘iwi channel races, which are scheduled for mid-October.
HCC anticipates approximately 1,200 participants and spectators from around the world to converge at D.T. Fleming Beach for opening ceremony and launch. The Molokai community will be on the neighbor island at the finish to greet the members of 100 crews with a post-race party featuring hospitality, live music, and awards.
“The Pailolo Challenge is now in its eighth year and is one of the fastest growing events in the outrigger canoe paddling community,” said HCC President Dave Ward. “The race increases the national and international awareness of Maui and Molokai as prime paddling destinations. Hawaiian Canoe Club is honored to host teams from Hawaii, the mainland U.S., and around the world (Australia, Canada, China, Singapore, Panama).”
Ward said the race course crosses one of the windiest channels in the Hawaiian Islands. “The prevailing tradewinds that funnel between Maui and Molokai create perfectly spaced bumps (open ocean swells) that offer surfable rides virtually all of the 25 miles,” he said.
The HCC is once again representing Maui as the State Outrigger Canoe Champions. The organization, which was established in 1960, is one of the most successful and respected canoe clubs in Hawaii. The club has more than 340 members and a strong base of supporters throughout the community. HCC’s mission is to perpetuate and preserve the art of Hawaiian canoe paddling by providing an environment rooted in traditional Hawaiian values that promote personal growth, character development, and achievement in physical fitness.
The Pailolo Challenge, commonly known as “The World’s ‘Funnest’ Canoe Race,” is also sponsored by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, Coffees of Hawaii and Maui Brewing Company.
The opening ceremony will begin at 8am; the race starts at 9am. Those interested in registering or participating can contact HCC club manager Arianna Gerry, 808-359-8641 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional details are available at the Pailolo Challenge 2014 website, Pailolo.com.
Photo courtesy Hawaiian Canoe Club