Honolulu, HI (September 20, 1996)-- In its 45th year, the
Bankoh Molokai Hoe
has broken the 100 mark with a record 106 entries expected on
the line at 7:30 am, Sunday, October 13.
Just a month ago Joan Malama, president of the Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association (OHCRA), which organizes and conducts the race, indicated that 85 crews were committed and 100 entries would require Herculean efforts to produce. Mathematically, 100 entries, each with an escort boat, enough official boats to meet safety requirements and press boats, will make for a flotilla of about 2,000 people crossing the Kaiwi (Moloka`i) Channel.
"This is the acme of the sport," said Malama of the 45-year old Bankoh Molokai Hoe that includes veteran and novice crews as well as others who love to race but are racing with pick up crews.
Outrigger Canoe Club (OCC) steersman Todd Bradley is one of the veterans, with 27 years of experience, both in paddling and equipment design.
"I've paddled since I was ten," said Bradley, 37, from Honolulu, who will steer his OCC open crew across the channel again this year. "I've lost count of how many times I've raced Moloka`i, at least 15, but I've never been on a winning crew. That's my lifetime goal, then I can move on to the masters crew."
Bradley is generous with his paddling knowledge and shares it for the good of the sport.
"I'm always trying to think of new ways to help the sport grow, take it to another level," Bradley said. "As a steersman I've played with different types of paddle designs for efficient steering, experimenting in my shop at home. Coming across the Moloka`i channel you especially want to have a paddle that works efficiently for you so I specialize in steering paddles.
"There are not a lot of steersmen out there but there are a lot of paddlers," Bradley said. "Most companies don't make steering paddles, just an all around paddle that works for steering. People have tried my paddles and like them, they do work."
Bradley explained that the differences have to do with the shape of the paddle front and back, and its edges makes a big difference. "You want the paddle to stick against the hull of the canoe because you use the pressure of the water to hold the paddle in place against the side. This is what steersman call "poking" -- sticking the paddle into the side of the canoe and locking it in like a rudder," Bradley said.
He also revealed a fairly new indoor training concept, an adapter designed by marathon canoe paddler Mark McAndrews, that turns a standard rowing machine into a paddling machine. The adapter went into production last June and was recently used by athletes training for the Olympics. Bradley and several other OCC paddlers have them in Hawai`i and helped McAndrews with research and development.
In the "we just love to race category," there's a mixed-plate team called "The Poi Boys," described by Portland, Oregon's Brian Mulvaney as "a real bunch of mongrels united by a hunger for Moloka`i (and copious email).
"The Poi Boys grew out of an extreme desire to race Moloka`i on the part of myself, Australian Martin Barnes from Sydney Outrigger Canoe Club and Frank Hooton of the fledgling Austin, Texas-based Lone Star Outrigger Canoe Club ," Mulvaney said.
"Various circumstances precluded us from paddling Moloka`i with our home clubs (in Frank's case he and his wife are the club). The thought of not doing the race got to be too much so the three of us joined forces," Mulvaney said.
Other crew members are: Dave Hazen, former lead stroke for the winning 1974 Lanikai team, now living in Vancouver, Washington; Randy Briones, who grew up on O`ahu and now lives in Salem, Oregon; Ben Miller, an expatriate from Sydney now coaching the Whistler, British Columbia club; Garth Kirkham from Vancouver, BC ; Barnes, Hooton and Mulvaney. Outrigger Canoe Club will supply them with a canoe.
"Seats eight and nine are still open," Mulvaney said, "so please send strong paddlers with big hearts my way." Reach him via email at: email@example.com.
There are many other interesting crews, and after over three decades of participation as a Kailua Canoe Club member, race official and O`ahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association (OHCRA) president Malama has some predictions about possible winners: "Lanikai, the record-holding defending champions, has won just about every race they've entered this year. Outrigger won the (32-mile) Catalina Race and the 34-mile Skippy Kamakawiwo'ole Memorial, Tahiti will be a team to watch; and the Australian crews are really determined.
"There are going to be some crews pushing Lanikai, and also younger paddlers in the masters division such as Dana Outrigger from California and the Hawaiian Canoe and Kayak Team, who are still at their peak. I would certainly watch Waikiki Surf Club, Waikiki Beach Boys, Hawaiian from Maui and Kai Opua from the Big Island. And don't overlook Lanakila, from Redondo Beach, Calif.," Malama said. Lanakila has 1996 Olympic K4 competitor Cliff Meidl on its crew.
Spectators can watch the finish at Fort DeRussy Beach on O`ahu. The first paddlers are expected to cross the line at approximately 12:30 pm. Lanikai's 1995 record is four hours, 53 minutes, 03 seconds.
KHON Fox 2 television will broadcast the finish live from Fort DeRussy Beach in Waikiki at 1pm on race day. On Sunday, October 20 at 7pm, a one-hour special will be broadcast followed by a rebroadcasts on Friday, October 25 at 9pm and Saturday, October 26 at 4pm.
For race information, contact Joan Malama: 808-261-6651.
For media information, contact:
Piia Aarma, Bank of Hawaii
The Internet address is: http://www.holoholo.org/hoe/
Two press boats are available for the crossing and at the finish. Please reserve press boat space by October 5, 1996. Complimentary edited satellite news feeds of the race will be sent worldwide in the early evening following the finish. Please contact one of the media representatives above for coordinates.
Hele On Back
Last Modified: Friday 9/27/96 1529 HST
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