Molokai Hoe Record Broken Again

By Catherine Cluett 

Over 1000 paddlers from around the world gathered at Hale O Lono Sunday morning for the start of the 57th annual Molokai Hoe men’s championship outrigger canoe race.

One hundred and six crews hailed from countries such as Hungary, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Japan, Tahiti, Australia, Canada, as well as the US mainland and Hawaii to make the 41-mile paddle across the Ka'iwi Channel to the Hilton Hotel on Oahu. The day’s conditions brought swells that were welcomed by some teams and dreaded by others.

“At home, we are used to flat water,” says Jakus Tamas, a member of the Hungarian team. “Big waves are not good for us.” But their team boasts two members that are former Olympic paddling champions, he says.

Ali`i Napoleon of the Lanikai Canoe Club says he and his teammates welcome the swells. He adds that the Lanikai crew is “the strongest we’ve ever been as a team.” “Competing with teams from around the world pushes us to paddle harder,” he says.

Pure Light Racing team made history this year as the first adaptive team to paddle in Molokai Hoe. The crew, made up of 11 physically challenged athletes, was given a head start in the race, and was escorted by medical boat.

Shell Va'a team from Tahiti won the race for the third year in a row, beating their previous record with a time 4 hours, 38 minutes, 35 seconds. Lanikai Canoe Club’s first crew finished third in 4:51:50, the first team from Hawai'i to finish this year’s race. Kukui O Moloka'i placed 27th, with a time of 5:37:2.

Caption: Molokai’s crew, Kukui O Molokai, held their own last weekend against the world’s finest paddlers in the 57th annual Molokai Hoe race, crossing the Ka'iwi Channel in 27th  place with a time of 5 hours 37 minutes 2 seconds.

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