Da Booze Cruise
Rawlins said outrigger-canoe races nowadays are very competitive, which is not what the sport is originally about. The Master Blaster race goes back to what the sport really is about, camaraderie. “We don’t care who came in first and who came in last,” he said. “We are all winners.” He was right; each crew was heavily cheered upon arriving at the finish line.
At 62-years-old, Rawlins has no plans to stop participating in the race in the coming years. “My boys won’t let me go,” he said, referring to his crew-members. It’s hard to imagine that his teammates are his motivation, as it seems just the opposite – the high-spirited Hawaiian appears to energize everyone around him.
The race has been organized by the Rawlins family since its first year. This was the first year the Molokai Canoe Club took over the organization, and they did a fine job. The race also works as a fund raiser, benefiting the `opio who paddle for the club.
With all that drinking and joy going around, August Rawlins Sr. and his wife Mary would have been pleased to see the traditional race gaining popularity, and promoting camaraderie. The irony in all this is, despite Rawlins Sr. still being alive when the race was first run, he never competed in it – he had stopped drinking since his first granddaughter was born.