Cinder block moorings found resting on coral reef temporarily postpones canoe race in Kona
An outrigger paddling race in Kailua-Kona was placed on temporary hold after 16 cinder blocks, used as mooring for course markers, were found resting on the coral reef.
The Keauhou Canoe Club hosted the Founders Regatta on Saturday at the Kailua Pier on Ali‘i Drive. Teams from the Department Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Aquatic Resources looked at the placement of the 28 race markers when they discovered the 16 cinder blocks resting on coral structures.
The race was delayed while the state conducted a preliminary assessment to determine which ones may have caused damage. A permit issued by the state’s Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation allows a race stoppage in the event of any issues, including potential natural resource problems.
The agency agreed to let the race continue without moving the blocks, but they will be removed at the end of the day to prevent further damage. A more complete assessment of any damage caused by the markers will happen after the regatta is finished.
“We know paddlers love the ocean and want reefs to be protected and to thrive,” Laura Kaakua, first deputy for the Department of Land and Natural Resources. “Mistakenly placing markers on the reef can cause damage to a vital part of the ocean ecosystem. The ocean comes first and that’s the reason for we asked for this pause, so we could conduct an initial coral damage assessment.”