Sunday, August 7, 2011

Hawaii State Championship Canoe Races

Aloha from the Valley Isle

Yesterday our island home hosted the annual State Championship outrigger canoe races. Even though I have not competed in canoe racing for a few years, I still get very pumped watching the canoes leaping off the start line and working the course to make the turn for a sprint to the finish line.

Canoe paddling training is relentless, practice is held several times a week, no matter what the conditions on the water. It is a full time committment to paddle.

However, I really loved the paddling community, there is an obvious love for the ocean and all things Hawaii with these folks.

This year had a few special bonus points for me. My family came over from the Big Island to have a booth at the event. Moku Nui, Big Island, was well represtented. They are quite popluar and have a huge following of folks who love their surf wear. It was my first time working a booth with them, and it was lively and fun and quite busy.

The yearly event being on our home island of Maui was also wonderful, and furthermore, my old club, Hawaiian Canoe Club won again!! With 366 points for the day, Hawaiian came out on top, in our home waters and elation was definitely in the air.

The magnificent koa wood canoes are used for the state championship. These canoes are a labor of love from the master canoe builders and the clubs who are priveledged to race them. The koa wood glistens in the sun, the canoes are heavy and solid. It takes more effort to get them up and running.

I was able to see a few of my old paddling buddies . Our bonds will always stay strong. We practiced hard, crossed channels and really depended on eachother in many ways during those times. I never trained so hard as I did to cross those channels in an outrigger canoe. You give it all you have in these crossings, can't hold back.

My dear friend, Susan, who now paddles for Kihei Canoe club, had a fantastic race. The crew photo is posted at the top of the blog. Her crew of Senior Master women had an outstanding race. They shot accross the start line, blasting way ahead of the pack, slowed a little in the turn, but ended with a photo finish in second place.

I finished my day satisfied and sunburned..lots of smiles and great vibes.

As we say here ( and really mean it) "Lucky we live Hawaii!"Hope you folks have a chance soon to come and have a taste of our wonderful life.


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