Molokai Women Paddlers Bring Home Gold
Molokai wahine paddlers swept the Pailolo Challenge last Saturday, taking first place in two divisions. The 25-mile race from Maui to Molokai features one of the windiest channels in Hawaii. Eighty-four teams from all over Hawaii and the west coast with 10 to 12 paddlers per team crossed the finish line at Kaunakakai Harbor Saturday afternoon.
The Wa`akapaemua Open Women’s crew, known as Team Boomski, finished first in their division with a time of 3 hours, 26 minutes, 16 seconds. The Wa`akapaemua 50 Women also took home a first place, in 3:44’17.
“We were super excited, we wanted it,” said team captain Tiana Miguel. “When we hit the [start line] buoy today, we just pounded it.”
While some of the women have paddled together most of their lives, this is coach Keola Kino’s second year coaching the crew.
“So far we’ve medaled in every race this season,” he said, adding he’s shooting for top 10 in next Sunday’s Na Wahine O Ke Kai race to Oahu. The team came in 14th last year in that event.
He credits their success so far to harder training and becoming more bonded together as a team.
“As a team we’ve been meshing better,” she said. “We came out this season even stronger [than last year.]”
Miguel’s sister and teammate Teave Heen said they train together three to four times per week.
On the over 50 women’s side, some paddlers are Pailolo veterans, while for others, Saturday marked their first crossing.
“It was on my bucket list,” said first-time Pailolo channel paddler Annette English, who described her crew’s success as “overwhelming and emotional.”
“I didn’t sleep all week!” she laughed.
Also completing the race from Molokai was Kukui O Molokai’s Open Men’s team, coming in fifth in their division in 3:03’50, and the Molokai Canoe Club Open Men finishing 20th with a time of 3:44’59.
Coffees of Hawaii on Molokai was one of the race’s sponsors, while Paddlers Inn sponsored Team Boomski.