HoloHolo Hawa`i Ocean Sports News


in NA WAHINE O KE KAI Outrigger World Championship

Final Results

Honolulu (September 26, 1999) -- Kauai's Wailua Canoe & Kayak Club #1 won the 21st annual Bankoh Na Wahine O Ke Kai Moloka`i-to-O`ahu outrigger canoe race to become the first Kaua`i club ever, and first Hawaiian club in seven years, to take line honors.

Paddling on a course all their own across an unusually calm Ka`iwi Channel, Wailua finished the 41-mile course in five minutes 13 seconds clear of O`ahu's Hui Nalu #1, in five hours, 55 minutes, 21 seconds. The record, set in 1995 by OffShore Outrigger Canoe Club, is 5:24.32.

After the start at 7:27 am off Molokai's Hale O Lono Harbor, the teams paddled four miles down the island of Moloka`i toward O`ahu. At La`au Point, the entrance to the Ka`iwi (Moloka`i) Channel, three Hawai`i crews -- Waimanalo, Hui Nalu and Wailua - led the 58-boat fleet. But while Waimanalo and Hui Nalu elected to turn south to cover OffShore, Wailua broke away on a northerly route which ultimately brought them home to Duke Kahanamoku Beach unhindered.

With a team comprised of top paddlers from Hawai`i, Canada and New Zealand, Wailua was as surprised as anyone to find themselves in first place.

"Our plan was to have a good time and a good race, but we didn't expect to do this!" said steerswoman Noelani Sawyer, formerly from Moloka`i and now living on Kaua`i. Other team members were Margie Kawaiaea, Theresa Felgate, Jenni Maclean, Nicole Wilcox, Corrine Gage, Patty Eames, Mary Brewer Dawn Williams and Joanna Felloon.

"This is the first time a Kaua`i team has ever won the race, and we're so proud to bring the title back to Hawai`i too," Sawyer said. "It was so nice to have no one in front of us disturbing the water. We had a really good race. We're just a bunch of really good girls, having a really good time. There was no weak link at all."

Today's crossing of the Ka`iwi Channel demanded extra hard work. The unusually calm ocean, light winds and strong northerly current offered little in the way of surfing and ensured that crews paddled every stroke of the way. As a result, there were countless paddle battles between teams racing neck and neck across the channel. Second place Hui Nalu (6:00.34) and third place Waimanalo (6:01.55) battled back and forth for three hours, making for one of the most exciting races in history. They finished just one minute, 21 seconds apart.

"We thought we had the chance of taking the lead at every part of the race," said Hui Nalu crew member Tammy Kaneaiakala. Hui Nalu has won the Na Wahine O Ke Kai twice - in 1982 and again in 1983.

Not taking any chances, Hui Nalu steerswoman Kaui Pelekane, steered "iron," (not making any rest changes), the entire way across.

"I won't be able to walk tomorrow," she joked, "But we were trying to get a good line and figure the best way to go. We wanted to stay with the competitors and not let them out of our sight.

"It was hard work. There was some chop in certain areas but basically it was flat, and hard work. Other crew members were Kelly Fey, Kelly Wong, Julie Horner, Niki Queyrel, Dane Ward, Chris Jahrling, Megan Harrington, Darcie Wilcox and Kaneaiakala,

Waimanalo steerswoman Denise Darval-Chang also stayed in her seat all the way across: "Basically we were with them (Wailua Canoe & Kayak and Hui Nalu) the whole way. We crossed paths a few times. But we paddled a near-perfect race so my hats off to Wailua and Hui Nalu."

The defending Na Wahine O Ke Kai champions from Australia did not compete, however, Queensland's Panamuna team was the first foreign crew to finish, at 11th overall. Many of Australia's top paddlers remained at home to train for the Olympics, and a newly formed Panamuna crew competed in today's event.

This year's Na Wahine O Ke Kai race was comprised of an international field of teams from Australia, California and the five major Hawaiian Islands.

The Molokai Hoe men's outrigger canoe championship, the final long distance event of Hawaii's 1999 canoe racing season, will take place on Sunday October 10th.

This site will be linking to all available online resources for the 2 Moloka`i Races,
so if you have items of interest, please Email...

Also see: Official '99 Pre-race info

1998 Race Info -|- 1997 Race Info -|- 1996 Race Info -|- 1995 Race Info

See: Moloka`i Hoe Race
Mens World Championship Outrigger Canoe Race

See: Latest NOAA weather reports courtesy of UH SOEST

*Hele On To Hawai`i Canoe Club News

Last Modified: 19990927.1439 HST Monday
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