The two biggest Molokai boat races of the year, the Molokai Hoe and Na Wahine o Ke Kai, have decided to work together for the first time ever.
After 35 years, the Na Wahine o Ke Kai committee will team up with organizers from the O’ahu Canoe Racing Association (OCRA), who put on the men’s Molokai Hoe.
“We are happy to team up with the Molokai Hoe, officially,” said Hannie Anderson, race director and co-founder of Na Wahine O Ke Kai. “While we have always helped each other’s race over the years, we felt it important that we pull all our resources together so that we can leverage our strengths to put on the premier races for the sport of outrigger canoe racing in the world.”
The two races are considered the men’s and women’s world championship in open ocean outrigger canoe races. Six-man boats battle each other and 41 miles of the Kaiwi Channel. More than 200 of the top crews from around the world are expected to compete in this year’s races.
Both races leave Hale o Lono Harbor at 8 a.m. as they paddle to Duke Kahanamoku Beach in Waikiki. This year’s Na Wahine o Ke Kai race will be Sept. 22 and the Molokai Hoe is scheduled for Oct. 13.
Last year, Team Bradley regained the title of top female paddling team, winning the race in 6 hours, 14 minutes after a wild start that capsized several boats at the starting line.
The Tahitian team of Shell Va’a won its seventh straight Molokai Hoe last year in a time of 5 hours, 15 minutes.
Registration is now being accepted online for the 2013 Na Wahine O Ke Kai and Molokai Hoe open ocean outrigger canoe races. Teams can access the race registration system at www.molokaihoe.com and www.nawahineokekai.com.