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KHW Race Series kicks off this weekend

The Kauai Hoe Wa‘a will start their first 2020 downwind race at 11 a.m. Sunday from Kalapaki Bay to Poipu.

Paddlers will congregate starting at 9 a.m. on the lawns next to Niumalu Canoe club with their canoes and surf skis and start the tasks of registering, rigging up, warming up and running through the safety briefing.

The KHW will feature some of the top, single craft OC1 competitors on Kauai, according to Board director Dylan Thomas.

Some of the Kauai-born competitors will be Christian Marston Jr., Jesse Palumbo and Bronson Aiwohi. The event will feature mostly Kauai and off-island racers.

“Most of our paddlers are seasoned but encourage novices and intermediate paddlers, and even the season paddlers jump in off the bench with most of the racers,” board director Dylan Thomas said. “Racers will alternate between one-man and six-man, and most of the paddlers are keeping fit by paddling in other events.”

The race series spans three months with a race every other week that culminates with the iconic Kauai World Challenge, a team event that runs from Kapaa to Salt Pond over four legs.

“The race committee and paddlers are super thankful this year for securing sponsorship for every race from local Kauai businesses that will help cover the costs of running the event,” Thomas said. “This includes feeding the paddlers post-race and keeping them safe with safety boats and jet skis.”

Paddling is a sport in which competitors have to get used to the weather variables, and how it affects their ocean daily.

This skill of mastering certain weather variables takes years for competitors to learn.

“You have your intermediate and weekend warriors, and they are probably only paddling four hours a week,” Thomas said. “You have your novices and your younger generations who are breaking into sports and ride doubles all show up for the races. Those guys are paddling one to two hours a week. We welcome small and novices paddlers that are new to the island and the sport.”

For more information or questions visit or email Dylan Thomas at

The race series is as follows, and racecourses will be decided for each race closer to race day and dependent on weather conditions.

w Race 1: KHW Havaiki Race, Jan. 26

w Race 2: KHW JP’s Race. Feb. 9

w Race 3: KHW Tahiti Nui Race. Feb. 23

w Race 4: KHW Aiwohi Ohana Race. March 8

w Race 5: KHW Namolokama Canoe Club Race. March 29

w Race 6: KHW Island Champs.

w Championship: KHW Kauai World Challenge April- May 9.


Jason Blasco, sports reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or
Source: The Garden Island

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