Maui News

Maui’s Team Wailea wins two events at 50th Queen Liliʻuokalani Canoe Race in Kona

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Maui’s Team Wailea won the Iron Non Koa Open Division and the Unlimited Men’s Division at the 50th Queen LIli’uokalani Canoe Race in Kailua-Kona. Photo Courtesy (9.2.23)

In an epic 3-way battle in the Iron Non Koa Open Division of the 50th Queen Liliʻuokalani Canoe Race in Kona, Maui’s Team Wailea edged out Team Oceania and Tui Tonga for the victory in an impressive time of 2:03:49 for the 18-mile race.

Team Wailea also took first in the Unlimited Men’s Division with a time of 2:05:11.

“As Hawaii celebrates Queen Lili’uokalani birthday today, the men of Maui’s Team Wailea had an epic day and captured two wins today, showing their paddling expertise,” Queen’s race director Mike Atwood said. “With the spirit of Maui guiding our journey, all of us at Kai ʻŌpua Canoe Club extend our heartfelt aloha to everyone who traveled here to be a part of our golden anniversary race.”

Crews from around the world came to the Big Island to compete in the races between Kailua Bay and Hōnaunau Bay and were greeted with calm conditions and a bit of a south swell.


But the wind and currents can be unpredictable, and the endurance required is nothing short of extraordinary. Paddlers rely on their strength, teamwork and sheer willpower to conquer this challenging course.

  • Maui’s Team Wailea won the Iron Non Koa Open Division in a time of 2:03.49 at the 50th Queen Lili’uokalani Canoe Race in Kailua-Kona. Photo Courtesy (9.2.23)
  • The 50th Queen Lili’uokalani Canoe Race in Kailua-Kona attracted crews from around the world. Photo Courtesy (9.2.23)
  • Maui’s Team Wailea wins the Unlimited Men’s Division in a time of 2:05:11 for the 18-mile course at the 50th Queen Lili’ukolani Race in Kailua-Kona. Courtesy photo (9.2.23)

The women of Kai ‘Ehitu Canoe Club took the top spot in the Unlimited Female Division with a time with of 1:57:09.

Crew #251 Paddlers of Laka/Ka Lahui Ka claimed first in the Iron Non Koa Open Division (meaning no crew changes) with a time of 2:04:12.

In the Iron Koa Open Division, the women from Hanalei crossed first to claim the victory with a time of 2:20:33.


In the men’s Iron Koa Open Division, Keauhou Canoe Club won in a time of 2:19:44.

As all the crews of the 50th Queen’s Race approached the finish lines, the cheers of spectators and fellow paddlers echoed in the air. It’s a celebration of outrigger canoe racing and the thrill of conquering one of the most grueling canoe races in the world.

Crews came from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Tahiti, Taiwan and USA including: Arizona, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Virginia, Washington and other islands of Hawaii.


The Labor Day holiday weekend continues Sunday with more canoe races, including OC4 races, OC1, OC2, teen races and the Kūpuna Classic.

The race is made possible through the support of Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority through the Community Enrichment Program and the generous sponsorship of Kai Opua Canoe Club, Queen K Texaco, Ocean Paddler Television, Helekunihi Trust, King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, Hulakai and numerous corporate and community donors.

For event information, visit

For a complete list of all Saturday’s Signature Race, click


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