Hawaiian Airlines continues to expand its presence on Molokai with its recent decision to sponsor Hawaii’s two premier outrigger canoe paddling races.
The two world championships of outrigger paddling will now be called the Hawaiian Airlines Na Wahine O Ke Kai and the Hawaiian Airlines Molokai Hoe. This year the women’s race takes place Sept. 21 with the men’s race on Oct. 12. “We are honored to be the title sponsor of Hawaii’s leading women’s and men’s outrigger endurance races from Molokai to Oahu,” Kevin Yim, senior director of global marketing communications for Hawaiian Airlines, said in a statement. “These are the crown jewels of the international outrigger racing circuit, bringing teams from around the world together in Hawaii to celebrate our island culture in these two pinnacle races.”
Hawaiian Airlines entered the Molokai market in March with the formation of its subsidiary air service ‘Ohana by Hawaiian, flying to Molokai and Lanai to and from Oahu. The service has recently expanded to include flights to Maui and the Big Island as well.
As the title sponsor, Hawaiian Airlines can use the races to promote its various routes around the state and the world. The airline can also include its logo on the new race composite logo, and it can place the winners of its sponsored Hawaiian Airlines Sydney Harbour Challenge in Australia and Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge in New York in the Molokai races.
“These types of events fit very well with other Hawaiian Airlines corporate sponsorships, such as Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage Sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines,” Kevin Yim, senior director of global marketing communications at Hawaiian Airlines, told the Pacific Business News. “Outrigger canoeing is about voyaging and travel around the world, as is Hawaiian Airlines.”
Both the Molokai Hoe and the Na Wahine O Ke Kai race leave from Hale O Lono harbor as paddlers cross Kaiwi Channel and finish 41 miles later at the Duke Kahanamoku Beach on Oahu. As the respective world championships in open ocean outrigger paddling, these two races attract thousands of top paddlers from around the world.
Since last year, both races now fall under the jurisdiction of the Oahu Canoe Racing Association. The Molokai Hoe is in its 62nd year while the Wahine O Ke Kai will run for the 36th straight year.