Queen Lili‘uokalani Long Distance Canoe Race Postponed to Next Year

May 20, 2020, 12:14 PM HST
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The 2020 Queen Lili‘uokalani Long Distance Canoe Race has been postponed until 2021 in the continued effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

In early March, the sport of outrigger canoe racing came to a halt due to the coronavirus, and since then has been unable to take place on any shores in Hawai‘i or elsewhere in the world.

Queen Lili‘uokalani Long Distance Canoe Race, named in honor of Hawai‘i’s last reigning monarch whose birthday is Sept. 2, is hosted by Kai ‘Opua Canoe Club. The race has welcomed paddlers from around the world to Kona every Labor Day weekend since 1971.

Last year, the Queen’s Race welcomed paddling crews from Australia, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, French Polynesia, and US crews from Nevada, Washington, California, Oregon, Virginia and New York. More than 75 Hawai‘i crews were also represented on the starting lines of its signature 18-mile race in Kailua Bay and Honaunau.

“In Hawai‘i, we use the word onipa‘a, meaning to hold steadfast, don’t let go, hold tight. All of us at Kai ‘Opua Canoe Club want our paddler family around the world to do just that,” said Race Director Mike Atwood. “As we all look forward to getting back in six-man outrigger canoes, stay safe and healthy and we will see you in Kona next year.”


As Hawai‘i state officials determine social distancing mandates, travel restrictions and other COVID-19 related safety issues and precautions, race officials are exploring the possibility of organizing a smaller modified one-day race to honor the Queen’s birthday in September. Kai ‘Opua Canoe Club race organizers are hopeful that paddlers can safely get back into their six-man canoes shortly.


For updates on the race, visit

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