Maui Outrigger Canoe Championships

Aloha,

This past weekend was the Maui island canoe championship races at Kahului Harbor Na Kai Ewalu Canoe Club hosted the 2013 MCHCA Championships.  At the end of Regatta season, all the clubs on each island have their island wide championships to compete  for the State races.  It was a hot, hot day with little wind, normally the trades blow at the harbor.
Championships are  fun times of tough competition,  and alot of Aloha spirit.  Folks gather early for morning blessings  to start the races. The lanes are set in the harbor and the canoes line up waiting for the green flag. What a rush it is!! I used to paddle for Hawaiian Canoe Club and my seat was the Stroker of the boat. The person who sits in seat #1  sets the pace for the race. Getting a 400# canoe  going from a dead stop to flying across the water takes alot of strength, team effort, and  proper technique .

My guests at Hale Ho'okipa Inn   Olivier and Jo Mischon, came to the races, helped out,and took photos. Mahalo Oli, I am happy to post these great shots.



 The Koa Canoe of Hawaiian Canoe Club is important to the ohana (family). Koa canoes are a work of love, taking many months and many hands  to complete. Sitting in a Koa canoe at the race start line always made me feel emotions way beyond race jitters... a bit awestruck and very blessed.
We were working at this race. My daughter from the Big Island brought her goods over to set up a booth . Moku Nui has beautiful parreo, t-shirts, hats and paddle gear. A sweet model showing off her new hat posed for us. Island clothing made for island life style with Polynesian print is quite popular . Moku Nui means, Big Island. Endless Summer Surf Shop in Honokahau Harbor is just opening and will be carrying Moku Nui gear. Check em out if you are in Kona. The shop is shaping up to have all sorts of great goods, and, you can look into some dives with Sunlight on Water while you are there. That will be another post  soon, as their photos and snorkel trips are amazing!

All in all, it was a great day, and wonderful to be with family and friends, enjoy the races, sell some gear and feel grateful for all the wonders, natural beauty and good folks of Hawaii.

Aloha,
Cherie

Outrigger Canoe Paddling

Aloha....


Today I want to share one of my favorite sports that is in full swing during the summer months.

This is outrigger canoe racing season in Hawaii.... only a couple of races are left before the last regatta culminating in the State races. Canoe races are great fun to watch, and even more fun to participate in.

Each canoe club has divisions from the keiki (kids) to the Golden Masters. I paddled for Hawaiian Canoe Club in Kahului for many years. My club has always been very competitive ,often winning the State Races. We have done a lot for the kids in our community, and we take racing very seriously. Even though I have not raced for years, I still feel a kinship with my canoe ohana. The camaraderie and bonding is born out of a deep respect for this sport and the Hawaiian culture. It is a lifetime connection.


Racing in and watching the State Races is awe inspiring, as this is when the revered koa canoes come out to shine. Members of our canoe club hiked through upcountry forests until the perfect koa tree was found. After prayers many hands brought the tree down the mountain to be lovingly fashioned into a beautiful vessel. Getting the koa canoe up and running takes finesse and a lot of hard paddling, it is heavier, but once it is going...................


When the regatta season is over, comes long distance paddling. After training for short races, it is time to get out into the open ocean and go for distance. At this point of the summer paddlers are in good shape and jumping at the chance to get in the zone and become one with the ocean. It is a hypnotic rhythm with a very particular stroking method and pace. I used to sit seat one, the stroker of the boat, the person who sets the pace. When in long distance it is important to be able to feel the waves in order to catch as much of a push as possible. There is a special point when you feel that the boat is about to lift ..and that is when the stroker can dig deep and change the intensity of the pace. It is such an amazing feeling.! I have raced accross a few channels in the open ocean. The 40 plus miles Ka'iwi Channel runs between Molokai and Oahu. The pictures posted here are from that amazing race in 2009...one of my favorite photographers Mike Elhers took the shots from the escort boat...my paddling buddy with an AMAZING reach, Susan Ramos, seat four, is in the boat racing her way across this awesome challenge.

My daughter's family used to have a 4 person canoe and we spent some great times surfing the waves in the canoe........oh, how incredible to dig in hard and feel the canoe lift up on the face of the wave...one of my all time favorites feelings rushing down a wave in an outrigger canoe !!!!!!!!!

Outrigger canoe racing caught the attention of the ali'i (royalty) during the later part of the 1800's. It was reported that canoe competitions were fierce with intense betting and high stakes.


The early seafarers made their way across the oceans in sailing and paddling canoe. Great distances were covered in large well stocked double hull canoes. The warring Hawaiians would paddle across dangerous channels, fight a battle, loose, and have to paddle back.

That put some perspective our our races, one of our coaches used to remind us of this fact.


So, state races are in Oahu this year, coming up soon...check it out, and island hop over to Maui for a different pace.....You'll be very happy that you did.


See you out there, and remember to tell the special people in your life just how much you care.


" Ho O Makaukau. Hoe Hapai. Imua~ Huki": "Get ready, lift paddles, forward... pull!"


Commit, and go for it!


Much Aloha,
Cherie