In advance of this year’s Na Wahine O Ke Kai race, Governor Neil Abercrombie joined with Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell for a proclamation calling Sept. 22 “Na Wahine O Ke Kai” day.
Na Wahine O Ke Kai co-founder and race director Hannie Anderson and race committee members received the proclamation yesterday at the state capitol. Gov. Abercrombie said it was the first time both Mayor Caldwell and the Council joined the state for a joint proclamation.
In its 35th year, the Na Wahine O Ke Kai is commonly considered the world championship of long-distance canoe races. This year for the first time 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 race on Oct. 13.
“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,” said Anderson.
At last year’s race, Team Bradley regained the title of top female paddling team after a wild start that capsized several boats at the starting line.
Huge, overhead sets of waves closed out across Hale o Lono Harbor last year. While 10 boats were swamped by the surf, only one was so badly damaged that it could not compete. The Kailua team broke its ama. One member of the team took a hard impact from a wave and had to be transported to Molokai Hospital with shoulder and rib injuries.
Conditions are expected to be much calmer, as is normal. The race leaves Hale o Lono Harbor Sunday at 8 a.m. as they paddle to Duke Kahanamoku Beach in Waikiki. The race committee departed for Molokai today in preparation.