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Kaua‘i paddlers strong in Na Pali Challenge

HANALEI — The 81M Terehau Hanalei Unlimited team finished second overall in the annual Na Pali Challenge long distance canoe race that wrapped up on Saturday at the Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor in Kekaha.

The 87K Lawakua Namolo Billabong Open team, starting in the second of three starts outside the Hanalei Pavilion Beach Park, topped the overall finishers by completing the 37-mile course in 4 hours, 29 minutes and 38.2 seconds.

The 81M Terehau Hanalei Unlimited, starting in the third start, followed about two minutes later, stopping the clock at 4:31:35.0, more than seven minutes ahead of its closest competitor.

The club was also the first to finish in the third start wave.

Attracting 52 teams from across Hawai‘i and from across the Pacific from Washington, Oregon and California, Na Pali Challenge included several division that started its trek at 7:30 a.m., 8 a.m. or 8:30 a.m. starts depending on the group’s age and the type of canoes they were paddling.

“Na Pali Challenge is unique among the world-class outrigger races because the teams are composed of six men and six women who take turns paddling in 30-minute intervals,” said Eric Shewchuk, who has been regularly submitting results and notes for outrigger canoe events.

“While many teams were able to complete the course with outstanding times, of particular interest is the team of teenage boys and girls from Hui O Mana Ka Pu‘uwai who paddled the Kamakahiapo in the Unlimited class to a fourth place overall with a time that was less than 12 minutes back of he fastest team that was individually selected by a major sponsor from a number of Hawai‘i canoe racing clubs for the specific purpose of winning the race,” Shewchuk said.

The 87F Holokiki Namolokama Grand Master 60 team was the first finishing team from the 7:30 a.m. start, crossing the finish line in 25th overall with a 5:20:51.5 paddle around the northwestern side of the island.

“I’m so excited for this race,” said Lahela Correa of the Hanalei Canoe Club in an interview posted to for YouTube.

“The people, the clubs, the unity. When we paddle this race, we feel like family.”

Full results of the 52 participating teams can be found at

The Kaua‘i Outrigger Association (KOA) wanted to thank the dozens of volunteers who helped make the race a success, Shewchuk said.

The KOA also extended its mahalo to the County of Kaua‘i, the Kaua‘i Police Department and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources for their help in getting the necessary permits and clearances accomplished.

The next race will take place Saturday at the Mick Callahan Memorial in Hanalei that is being hosted by Namolokama.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or
Source: The Garden Island

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