Paddlers Prep for 26-Mile Pailolo Challenge 2015

September 3, 2015, 1:45 PM HST · Updated September 3, 1:47 PM
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Pailolo Challenge. Photo courtesy: Hawaiian Canoe Club.

Pailolo Challenge. Photo courtesy: Hawaiian Canoe Club.

By Wendy Osher

The Pailolo Challenge 26-mile downwind outrigger canoe race between Maui and Molokaʻi takes place on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015.

The race starts in West Maui at DT Fleming Beach in Kapalua and continues on to Kaunakakai Pier on Molokaʻi.

Race organizers say they expect to host an estimated 1,200 participants and spectators this year, with 100 crews from around the world signed up to make the channel crossing.

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Event organizers say many of those participating in the upcoming race are preparing for the world championship of outrigger canoe racing — the men’s and women’s Kaʻiwi channel races scheduled within the following few weeks.

“This race course crosses one of the windiest channels in the Hawaiian Islands,”  said Hawaiian Canoe Club President Dave Ward in an event announcement.  ” The prevailing tradewinds that funnel between Maui and Molokaʻi create perfectly spaced bumps that offer surfable rides virtually all of the 25 miles,” he said.

Pailolo Challenge. Photo courtesy: Hawaiian Canoe Club.

Pailolo Challenge. Photo courtesy: Hawaiian Canoe Club.

Now in its eight year, organizers say the Pailolo Challenge is considered “one of the fastest growing events” in the paddling community.

“The race increases the national and international awareness of Maui and Molokaʻi as prime paddling destinations. Hawaiian Canoe Club is honored to host teams from Hawaiʻi, the mainland US, and around the world,” said Ward.

Race host Hawaiian Canoe Club was established in 1960 and now has more than 340 members.

HCC’s mission is to perpetuate and preserve the art of Hawaiian canoe paddling by providing an environment rooted in traditional Hawaiian values that promote personal growth, character development.

Pailolo Challenge. Photo courtesy: Hawaiian Canoe Club.

Pailolo Challenge. Photo courtesy: Hawaiian Canoe Club.

In addition to the influx of visitors participating in the race, the event also helps to generate income for the local economy through accommodations.

Race organizers say an estimated 300 rooms are utilized, and visitors stay an average of three to seven days in the islands for the event.

This year’s event is sponsored by: the Office of Hawaiian Affairs; the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority; Maui Brewing Company; and Hawaiian Canoe Club.

The opening ceremony is scheduled to take place at 8 a.m. at DT Fleming with the race start scheduled for 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015.

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