Queen Lili'uokalani Outrigger Canoe Race in Kailua-Kona 2007


When it comes to sheer size the Queen Lili'uokalani Outrigger Canoe Race in Kailua-Kona was without equal - it's the largest long-distance outrigger paddling challenge in the world.  Two thousand five hundred paddlers come from all over the world (Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, Florida, California and Canada, to name just a few) to the Big Island for this strenuous course which covers the 18 miles between Kailua and Honaunau. The paddlers compete in fiberglass canoes of various designs, including a special division made up of Koa canoes. The age divisions for Saturday's races ranged from 18 year-olds to those in their seventies. Those competing in the "Open" Division paddle "iron" - meaning that they have no escort boat and use the same six people for all 18 miles.  Others can compete as a team of 9 and change out periodically.


Kawaikini entered a team of 6 to compete in the "iron" division. on September 1st, 2007.  Midori, Dawn, Adora, Barbara, Shirley, and Sharon.  We also had the pleasure of having Patience and Tina as our transportation charges.  Well, babysitters, if you will.  They took great care of us.


On day one, the Kawaikini team raced from Kailua to Honaunau, then the men raced back.  Our final time was 3:25:44 and we came in place 72 of 77 teams.  I'm not sure how many of those were iron, but I'd say more than 3/4th.  Puanani also competed with another group and we were with her during the weekend quite a bit.


On day two, Puanani raced in the double hull from Kailua Bay to Keauhou Bay (approx 5 1/2 miles) then the men race back in the opposite direction. We could not compete as we could not find another team to join us.  We watched from the pier and cheered Puanani on.  It was quite exciting to see it.

After the Saturday racing there was a torchlight parade down Kailua's Alii Drive, followed by some lively dancing.  Quite a few of the girls said this was a fantastic evening while some of us missed it in exchange of other activities.  There was plenty to do and see on the Big Island.


It was an amazing experience and I can't wait to do it again next year!


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