Drone video showing the start of the Queen Lili’uokalani Canoe Race in Kona today, taken by Kurt Chambers
THREE-PEAT WIN FOR THE WOMEN OF WAIKIKI BEACH BOYS CANOE CLUB
Na Koa O Kona Men’s Crew Finishes First at the 2015 Queen Lili‘uokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races
Kona, Hawaii (September 5, 2015) – Over 2,000 paddlers in the Men’s and Women’s Divisions competed in today’s Queen Lili‘uokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races, the world’s largest outrigger canoe race, hosted by Kai‘Opua Canoe Club in Kona, Hawai‘i.
It was another epic morning battle in the women’s race, as 112 crews lined up on the starting line across Kailua Bay. Slightly stormy conditions at the start of the race gave way as the seas calmed, making racing conditions favorable. The first Iron Unlimited Division women’s crew to cross the 18-mile race from Kailua Bay to Honaunau went to Waikiki Beach Boys #4 who captured the overall win with a time of 2:03:52. The second Iron Unlimited women’s crew to cross the finish line was Hui Nalu Canoe Club with a time of 2:07:41 followed by Waterline Wahine (third place) and host club Kai Opua #1 (fourth place).
The Iron Non-Koa Open Division win went to Waikiki Beach Boys #5 with a time of 2:09:37 followed by Kawaihae Canoe Club #1 with a time of 2:15:25. Another Kawaihae crew followed close behind and rounded out the top three with a time of 2:16:32.
This is a three-peat performance for the women of Waikiki Beach Boys Canoe Club who have captured the title three years running and have another two earlier first place finishes (2010 and 2008).
First place Iron Koa Division winner went to Kailoa Wahines followed by Kai ‘Opua / Keahuou for second place. Wa‘akapaemua Canoe Club from Molokai took first in 9-person Open Division with Kai Opua #6 second and Hanalei #1 for third place.
“With tricky weather here in Kona this week, race day morning seas were a bit stormy, with some thunder in the distance,” said Mike Atwood, Race Director. “When the seas calmed down, it was great water. It’s always exciting to watch these strong women battle it out and move those canoes down the race course.”
Once the women’s crews finished, 119 men’s crews made their way to the starting line and left Honaunau on the return 18-mile journey to Kailua Bay.
The lead pack of men’s crews held tight the entire course. Good sea conditions and light breeze made the race back to Kailua exciting. Top honors go to Na Koa O Kona #1 who crossed the finish line first in the Iron Non-Koa Open Division with a time of 2:03:03. Kauai Waa took second with a time of 2:06:41 followed by Mosaic Pacific who finished third with a time of 2:08:15.
In the men’s Iron Unlimited Division, first place went to Hui Nalu #1 with an impressive time of 2:01:15, Puna #5 took second with a time of 2:06:48 followed by Waikiki Beach Boys #2 with a time of 2:11:47
Kawaihae #4 was the first Iron Koa Division canoe over the finish line with a time of 2:25:03, followed by Kai Ehitu #5 with a time of 2:25:36 and Kaneohe #1 rounded out the top three with a time of 2:29:27.
“This race honors our Queen and unites paddlers from around the world who want to be a part of the racing tradition here in Kona. Queen Lili‘uokalani Long Distance Canoe Races share the culture and spirit of Hawaiian outrigger canoe racing with the world,” said Kai ‘?pua Canoe Club President Uncle Bo Campos. “Mahalo nui loa to everyone who help make this event so inspiring, and as the world’s largest long distance canoe race, it’s no small task.”
The 2015 Queen Lili’uokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races are sponsored in part by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, County of Hawaii Department of Research and Development, Queen K Tesoro, Corona, OluKai, Ocean Paddler Television, King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, Hulakai and numerous corporate and community donors.