2020 Hawaiian Airlines Moloka‘i Hoe and Nā Wāhine O Ke Kai Canceled

May 21, 2020, 11:48 AM HST · Updated May 21, 11:48 AM
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PC: Oʻahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association

The Board of The Oʻahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association together with the organizing committee of Nā Wāhine O Ke Kai announced their decision today to cancel this year’s championship canoe races.  This includes the “Hawaiian Airlines Nā Wāhine O Ke Kai” scheduled for Sept. 27, 2020; and “Hawaiian Airlines Molokaʻi Hoe” scheduled on Oct. 11, 2020.

“This collective decision reflects our steadfast commitment to put individual and community safety ahead of racing for this 2020 season,” said contest organizers.

“While assessing the ongoing situation and weighing reports provided by medical professionals and State and County Officials, as well as reckoning with lead time for event production and growing financial constraints, it became very clear that proceeding with these races was not feasible nor advisable. In addition, recommending more than 2,000 paddlers and support staff travel from around the world into our fragile communities during this time of uncertainty would be imprudent,” said Lāpule Schultz, president of the Oʻahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association and Carleen Ornellas, president of Nā Wāhine O Ke Kai in a joint letter.

Organizers say the early decision to cancel pre-season and regatta seasons for canoe racing associations around the state were required in accordance with the “stay at home” orders issued in all counties.

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According to organizers, six-man canoe paddling continues to be a restricted activity.

“As our associations wait on the phased reopening of our sport, we feel that the first order of business for our clubs will be to focus on the needs of their own paddlers and families impacted by COVID-19. For the remainder of the 2020 season we stand positioned and ready to support our canoe clubs as they look to reengage their athletes as is appropriate,” according to Schultz and Ornellas.

“Our sincere hope is that with the easing of restrictions our clubs and paddlers will join together to once again be on the water perpetuating our state sport of canoe paddling,” they said.

Until then organizers are setting their sights on the Kaʻiwi Channel crossing for next year with dates set for Nā Wāhine O Ke Kai on Sept. 26, 2021 and the Molokaʻi Hoe on Oct. 10, 2021.

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