By: Jon Rombaoa
Paddling crews are preparing for the 44th Annual queen Liliuokalani Outrigger canoe races in Kona from Saturday, Aug. 30 to Monday Sept. 1, where thousands of paddlers from around the world will compete in the world's largest outrigger canoe race.
The Kai Opua canoe club is preparing to welcome crews from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, Tahiti, United Kingdom and an estimated 75 crews from the us. Hawaii will be well represented as crews from Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui and the Big Island will be present at the starting line.
On Saturday, Aug. 30, the Kona coast will host see of outrigger canoe racing's best paddlers and crews at the Waa Kaukahi (sing hull canoe races). Women's crews will line up across Kailua bay and head for the finish line at Honaunau starting at 7:30 a.m. Starting with iron women crews, who paddle the 18-mile distance with no crew changes. The unlimited division, whose boats have no weight limit will follow five minutes later. Then finally, women crews that change paddlers throughout the race take off at 7:40 a.m.
On the other side, the men will begin where the women finish. With the same five minute staggered start as the women, the men's crews participating in the Waa Kaukahi start at 11:45 a.m. From Honaunau to Kailua Bay. The first men's crew is expected to reach the finish line at about 1:00 p.m.
Sunday will see even more action as the men and women's crews tie together two single hull canoes to partake in the Waa Kaulua, the double hull canoe races at Kailua Pier at 7:30 a.m. Following the same course as double-hull canoes, one person and two person races will also take place.
Teens have an opportunity to compete in three teen divisions for six person crews: 16 and under, 18 and under & mixed, and 18 and under. The action doesn't stop there as the event will also host a stand-up paddleboard race, starting from kKailuabay heading south, stock boards in a 3.5 mile race and unlimited division in a 4.5 mile race.
To cap off the event, the Ali'i challenge will take place on Monday, Sept. 1 at the Kailua pier at 9:00 a.m. The Ali'i challenge is based on the formats of Survivor and Amazing race, where participants compete in a 17.5 mile paddling race and a land course that challenge participants' knowledge on Hawaiian history with games and other fun activities.
For those who are interested in watching the race, the Blue Sea Cruise is offering a front row view of the signature race on Saturday by making their Spirit of Kona tour catamaran available for transporting race participants and spectators. Board Blue Sea Cruise at the Kailua Pier at 6:00 am for a 6:30 am departure.for ticket costs and reservations call 808-331-8875 or book online at www.blueseacruisesinc.com
Online registration closes after Aug. 26.
Before the races, other interesting and fun events will take place on Thursday, Aug. 28 and Friday Aug. 29. An entire schedule of the event is posted below.
2014 Queen's Race Slate of Events
Historic Kailua Village Cultural Walk
Lead by noted historian Hannah Kihalani Springer
Queen Lili'uokalani Cultural Fair
Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel
Artisans and cultural practitioners lead demonstrations and provide hands-on learning opportunities for a wide variety of traditional Hawaiian crafts. Beautiful crafts and local art on display.
Hulakai OC4 8-Man Relay
Relay race with laps starting and finishing at the Kailua Pier. Great spectator event!
Friday, August 29
An informal talk with some of outrigger canoe racing's best and most well-loved paddlers. On the makai lawn at Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel.
Wa'a Kaukahi (single hull canoes)
Starting at at the women start the race paddling 18 miles from Kailua Bay to Honaunau. The men then bring it back 18 miles to Kailua Bay.
Starting at all awards for races will be given at Kamakahonu Bay.
Everyone is invited to celebrate the 2014 Queen Lili'uokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Race champions.
Torchlight parade through Historic Kailua Village starts at . Parade winds its way through Historic Kailua Village.
Sunday, August 31
Wa'a Kaulua (double hull canoes)
Men and women crews tie together two single hull canoes to make the double hulls.
OC1 (one person) & OC2 Races (two person)
Men and women paddling in this race follow the same course as the double-hull canoes.
Stand-up Paddleboard Race
Starting in Kailua Bay, the SUP race heads south. Stock boards race 3.5 miles and Unlimited division races 4.5 miles.
Teen (single hull canoes)
QLCR officials are adding three teen divisions (OC-6 - 6 person crews): 16 and under, 18 and under & mixed, 18 and under.
Old Airport Events Pavilion
This Hawaiian celebration features traditional foods, music, dance and award presentations for race winners.
Monday, September 1
Based on the formats of Survivor and Amazing Race, Ali'i Challenge includes a 17.5 mile paddling race and land course tasks that challenge participants on Hawaiian history, games and a lot of fun.
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