2018 Queen Lili‘uokalani Long-Distance Outrigger Canoe Races to Begin
The 2018 Queen Lili‘uokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races will welcome paddlers from around the world for five days of exciting canoe racing from Thursday, Aug. 30, through Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. The signature 18-mile-long distance race is slated for Saturday, Sept. 1.
Kai ‘Opua Canoe Club, one of Hawai‘i’s oldest outrigger canoe clubs, will compete as hosts with outrigger canoe clubs from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Tahiti, United Kingdom and across the USA. Several clubs from Hawai‘i will also be competing.
As the state’s Official Team Sport, outrigger canoe racing is a significant and fundamental Hawaiian cultural event in Hawai‘i. Kona’s place in canoe regatta history is unrivaled, and for nearly 50 years, the Queen Lili‘uokalani Long Distance Canoe Races has continued to share Hawaiian culture through the sport of outrigger canoe racing with the world.
Interesting, Queen Lili‘uokalani Canoe Race cultural events unfold throughout the five days including Historic Kailua Village Cultural Walk, Talk Story, Cultural Fair featuring Artisans and Cultural Practitioners, Royal Splashfest, Torchlight Parade and the Queen Lili‘uokalani Canoe Race Luau.
Of course, a full lineup of racing events bring paddlers together in the spirit of this great race. Racing events include the Hulakai OC 4 8 person relay, OC 6 races for teens, double hull canoe races and a kupuna (senior) mixed OC-6 race.
Women’s Division Celebrates 45 Years
The year 1973 was filled with many historic events—a ceasefire was signed, ending the Vietnam War; Watergate hearings began; Skylab; the first American space station was launched—and here in Hawai‘i, Elvis Presley headlined the Aloha from Hawai‘i concert.
It was also the first year that women lined up at the starting line for the Queen Lili’uokalani Long Distance Canoe Race.
A year after the inaugural 18-mile long distance outrigger canoe race started, women paddling six-person canoes were invited to race the course. Eleven crews of women took on the challenge and raced the course starting in Kailua Bay and finishing in Honaunau Bay. The Queen’s Race salutes these pioneering women and the support crews who believed in their ability to paddle an open ocean race and steered the way for other women to follow.
Last year, the Queen Lili‘uokalani Long Distance Canoe Race (Queen’s Race) welcomed 117 women’s crews to its signature Saturday long distance race. The women of today are as fierce as the women of 1973. What has changed today is the evolution of canoe technology and the incredible endurance of today’s women and men paddlers. Iron crews, those racing the entire 18 miles without crew changes, have begun to dominate the scoreboard. Lighter canoes, faster times and athletes from around the world wait with excitement for their summer trip to Kona to race against the world’s best.
The 2018 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 and numerous corporate and community donors.
For detailed race information, including a complete list of events, visit www.qlcanoerace.com.