KONA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - UPDATE: Pa'a Pono Miloli'i will have a canoe when the regatta starts Saturday morning. Two canoe clubs offered their Koa canoes to the group from South Kona after their prized one was destroyed earlier this week. Kai Ehitu canoe club from Kona and Hui Wa'a O Waiakea from Hilo have offered the use of theirs to compete!
A south Kona canoe club, Pa'a Pono Miloli'i, is heading to Hilo Bay for a regatta Saturday morning. Members will be holding their paddles on shore waiting for the competition to start as usual, but this time, they will be without a canoe. The prized Koa canoe they have been using, the Keahonui, was destroyed in a car accident Wednesday night.
The Keahonui -- valued at about $100,000 -- was being towed on a trailer on Mamalahoa Highway, when a white SUV hit the trailer from behind.
"To make matters worse, the driver of the vehicle didn't have insurance, didn't have a driver's license, and was driving a vehicle that wasn't even his," says the club's Executive Director Kai Kahele.
No one was hurt in the accident, but the canoe -- 45 feet long and weighing 400 pounds -- split in half and splintered.
Miloli'i is a small fishing village in south Kona. This is the canoe club's inaugural year in the Hawaii Canoe Racing Association and already they've seen success. Just last week, they won multiple gold medals in the Keahonui, which isn't even theirs. The builder, Bill Rosehill, loaned it to them while he worked on the club's canoe.
"Offered Miloli'i to use that as he was restoring our Koa canoe that we're going to use next season," Kahele says.
Miloli'i will try to pay Rosehill to rebuild it as they struggle to pay for the restoration of their own canoe.
Meanwhile, Pa'a Pono Miloli'i is scheduled to compete Saturday in that regatta in Hilo.
"We'll be there standing proud with our paddles and hopefully we got a wa'a to jump into and get into those lanes and represent Miloli'i," says Kahele.
The club is a 501c3, a non profit which takes donations using Pay Pal on their website
. All contributions are tax deductible.