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2,500 Paddlers to Compete in Queen Lili‘uokalani Canoe Races

August 18, 2017, 11:00 AM HST (Updated August 18, 2017, 11:03 AM) · 1 Comment
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Photo credit: Queen Lili‘uokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races/Charla Photography

The 2017 Queen Lili‘uokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races will welcome more than 2,500 competitive paddlers to Historic Kailua Village when the world’s largest long-distance outrigger canoe race gets underway over Labor Day Weekend.

Kai ‘Opua Canoe Club, one of Hawai‘i’s oldest outrigger canoe clubs, will host crews from American Samoa, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Tahiti, United Kingdom and an estimated 75-plus crews from the US. The state of Hawai‘i will be well represented and more than 60 Big Island crews are expected at the starting line.

Two new events will make their debut on the Labor Day Weekend schedule.

First up, on Friday, Sept. 1, is the Royal Splashfest, a competition to see who can cannonball off Kailua Pier with the largest splash. This inaugural event will be in the Hawaiian style of Lele Pahū, plunging feet first with a great splash.

Photo credit: Queen Lili‘uokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races/Charla Photography

On Monday, Sept. 4, the Kupuna Classic takes off from Kailua Bay for a mix crew race to Keauhou Bay. The 50 and 55 year old mixed crews take the canoe from Kailua to Keauhou, and the 60, 65 and 70 mixed crews bring the race back to Kailua Bay.

There is a race for everyone throughout the Labor Day holiday weekend, including Hulakai OC4 (four-person crew) Sprint Relay Race, one- and two-person canoe races, SUP, teen and the always exciting double hull canoe race.

Other official Queen Lili‘uokalani Canoe Race events will unfold throughout the holiday weekend, including Historic Kailua Village Cultural Walk, Talk Story, Cultural Fair featuring Artisans and Cultural Practitioners, Torchlight Parade and the Queen Lili’uokalani Canoe Race Luau.

The 2017 Queen Lili‘uokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races are sponsored in part by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, Queen K 76, Pacifico, OluKai, Ocean Paddler Television, Courtyard Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, Hulakai, Kialoa, Target and numerous corporate and community donors.

Photo credit: Queen Lili‘uokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races/Charla Photography

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Queen Lili‘uokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races Event Schedule

Thursday, Aug. 31

8 .am. to noon
Historic Kailua Village Cultural Walk
Led by noted historian Hannah Kihalani Springer
This is a free event.
Meet on the beach at Courtyard Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel.

10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Queen Lili‘uokalani Cultural Fair
Courtyard Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel
Artisans and cultural practitioners lead demonstrations and provide hands-on learning opportunities for a wide variety of traditional Hawaiian crafts.

Hulakai OC4 (four-person crew) Sprint Relay Race
2 p.m.: Race meeting on Kailua Pier
3 p.m.: Race heats start
Fun relay sprints require one team member do a short Stand-Up (SUP) segment in addition to paddling.

Friday, Sept. 1

Noon to 2 p.m.
Royal Splashfest
A competition to see who can cannonball off the Kailua Pier with the largest splash.

4 p.m.
Talk Story
An informal gathering with some of outrigger canoe racing’s best and well-loved paddlers on the makai lawn at Courtyard Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel.

Saturday, Sept. 2

Wa‘a Kaukahi (single-hull canoes)
7:30 a.m.: Women and Mix 40-plus start in Kailua Bay
11:45 a.m.: Men and Mix Open start in Honaunau Bay
This is race weekend’s Signature Event with Women and Mix 40-plus paddling 18 miles from Kailua Bay to Honaunau. The men and Mix Open crews bring it back 18 miles to Kailua Bay. Crews in the Ironman division race the entire course with no changes.

7 p.m.
Torchlight Parade
A magical parade through Historic Kailua Village starting at Hale Halawai County Pavilion along Ali‘i Drive to Kailua Pier.

Sunday, September 3
Race action starts at 7:30 a.m.
Kailua Pier

Teen (single-hull canoes)
Race officials are adding three teen divisions (OC-6 – 6 person crews) that will race the same course as the double-hull canoes: 16 and under, 18 and under and mixed, 18 and under.

Wa‘a Kaulua (double-hull canoes)
Crews of 12 paddlers lash together two single hull canoes to make the double hulls that race throughout the morning in women, men and mix divisions.

OC1 (one person) and OC2 Races (two person)
The OC1 and OC2 canoe races are a recent addition to the more traditional racing events. The men and women paddling in this one follow the same course as the double hull canoes.

Stand-up Paddleboard Race
Stock boards race 3.5 miles and the Unlimited division races 4.5 miles.

Monday, September 4
8 a.m.
Kupuna Classic
Mix (three wahine/three kane) iron crews paddle from Kailua to Keauhou Bay in the 50- and 55-year-old division. Mix iron crews in the 60, 65 and 70 divisions paddle it back from Keauhou bay to Kailua.

For detailed 2017 Queen Lili‘uokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races information, including a complete list of events, go online.

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