Na Wahine o Ke Kai and Moloka‘i Hoe Announce They Will Join Forces for 2013 Race

Registration Open for 35TH Na Wahine O Ke Kai and 61st Moloka‘i Hoe

For the first-time in the history of both races, Na Wahine o Ke Kai and Moloka‘i Hoe race committees are joining forces on all aspects of race planning, including logistics and sponsorships.  It is the hope that this new direction will align resources and bring more support to both races.

Molokai Combo“We are happy to team up with the Moloka‘i Hoe, officially,” said Hannie Anderson, Race Director and co-founder of Na Wahine O Ke Kai.  “While we have always helped each other’s race over the years, we felt it important that we pull all our resources together so that we can leverage our strengths to put on the premier races for the sport of outrigger canoe racing in the world.”

Photos by Brooke Wilson

Photos by Brooke Wilson

For over 35 years, Na Wahine O Ke Kai has been organized by co-founders Anderson, Shelly Gilman, Haunani Campos-Olds, Carleen Ornellas, and Rosie Lum.  The Na Wahine O Ke Kai committee will team up with organizers from the O’ahu Canoe Racing Association (OCRA), who put on the men’s Moloka‘i Hoe.

“This coming together will allow us to streamline a lot of the logistics that go into planning such a large event,” said Stan Kaleiana‘ole Dickson, Moloka‘i Hoe race director.

Organizers anticipate more than 200 crews will compete in this year’s races, including clubs from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Guam, Tahiti and the continental United States.  Each year over 2000 paddlers from around the world compete in the Na Wahine O Ke Kai and Moloka‘i Hoe.

The course is a daunting 41-mile, non-stop race from the island of Moloka‘i to the island of O‘ahu, taking a crew of ten about 5-6 hours to complete.  Crew changes occur every 20-30 minutes in the open ocean, with paddlers in the canoe rolling over one side while the rested paddlers are climbing in the canoe from the other side.  Crews contending for the title must endure major training and preparation for months in order to complete the race.

Molokai 3
Of Polynesian origin, the canoes are about 45 feet long and weigh about 400 lbs.  Six paddlers sit evenly spaced the length of the canoe.  The canoe is very narrow, about 2 feet wide, and stabilized by an ama, a 10-foot long float which is connected to the canoe by two wooden struts called ‘iako.  It is this catamaran design that allows the canoes to venture into large open ocean swells.  While the sport of outrigger canoe racing originated in Hawai‘i, today it can be found all over world, with healthy participation from girls and boys and men and women of all ages.

Na Wahine O Ke Kai
Race Date:  September 22, 2013
Race Start:  8:00 a.m., Hale O Lono Harbor, Moloka‘i
Race End:  Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Waikiki (Fronting the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa)

For additional info, registration, and pre-race activities, please visit http://www.nawahineokekai.com.

Moloka‘i Hoe
Race Date:  October 13, 2013
Race Start: 8:00 a.m., Hale O Lono Harbor, Moloka’i
Race End:  Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Waikiki (Fronting the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa)

For additional info, registration, and pre-race activities, please visit the website, http://www.molokaihoe.com

ABOUT THE NA WAHINE O KE KAI
Hannie Anderson, Na Wahine O Ke Kai co-race founder and race director, dreamed of the day women would conquer the rough waters of the Kaiwi channel.  In 1954, then 17 years old, Anderson and two of her teammates from the Waikiki Surf Club hitched a ride on a boat from O‘ahu to Moloka‘i to watch their men’s team paddle in the Moloka‘i Hoe, a race across the Kaiwi channel open only to men.  Anderson’s coach was furious that the girls had found their way to Moloka‘i, but reluctantly allowed them to observe the race from the safety of the escort boat.  After six hours of observing their male counterparts, the girls were convinced that women were capable of making the crossing.  It wasn’t until 25 years later that Anderson and friends saw that dream come true with the creation of the first official women’s race on October 15, 1979.

Now in its 35th year, the Na Wahine O Ke Kai continues to be the premier competition for female outrigger canoe racing in the world.

ABOUT THE MOLOKA’I HOE
On October 12, 1952, three koa outrigger canoes launched through the surf at Kawakiu Bay on Moloka’i’s west side. Powered by six paddlers, each of the canoes was bound for Oʻahu across 38+ miles of open ocean in the Kaiwi Channel. Eight hours and 55 minutes later, the Molokaʻi canoe, Kukui O Lanikaula, landed on the beach at Waikiki in front of the Moana Hotel.  Thus began the world’s most prestigious outrigger canoe race, the Molokaʻi Hoe.

Registration is now being accepted online for the 2013 Na Wahine O Ke Kai and Moloka‘i Hoe open ocean outrigger canoe races.  Teams can access the race registration system at www.molokaihoe.com and www.nawahineokekai.com.

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