Today was the day for the Pailolo Challenge – a 26 mile race from D.T Flemings Beach Park on west Maui to Kaunakakai Pier, on the south side of neighboring island Molokai. I hear that racing downwind across this channel is an exhilarating experience and when you throw water changes and big swells into the equation, one that will definitely test your mettle as a paddler.
Unfortunately we didn’t have the numbers to put a women’s crew out there but next year hopefully that will be different. We do have a men’s crew though – the Open Men – a crew of nine who raced today. IMUA to all the Lahaina guys who took part, I hope you had a blast.
I’d heard that there were some interesting canoes up at Flemings Beach, so the night before the race I went up there to check things out…
Kawainui, the boat in the foreground (above) and Kapa’a (below) both weigh in at under 200 pounds. When you consider that the fibreglass canoes that we use weigh 400, it’s a huge difference. It takes just two people to carry each one. They were both designed and made in 2010 by Kamanu Composites and it’s interesting to read on their website that they had just eight weeks to design and complete the two canoes. In their first race, the Pa’a ‘Eono Hoe from Molokai to Oahu, Kawainui paddled iron and took first place and Kapa’a, also iron, came in fourth. Not bad eh? And I hear that the Kapa’a is for sale. If it hasn’t been sold already, it goes for a cool $15,000…
I must admit to feeling envious of all the paddlers who were at the beach, gearing up for Saturday’s race. Rigging the boats, talking about the adventure to come as you hydrate and prepare for a good night’s rest is all part of the preparation for a race and as I walked around the beach, ogling everyone’s canoes I really wished I was going to paddle too. Oh well, next year!
The ‘non-traditional’ Open Spec division not only enabled V6’s like the two from Kamanu Composites (above) to take part but also this boat, the Malolo Nui. Seriously, if James Bond paddled, I reckon THIS would be the boat he would use. It was going to be paddled by Team Livestrong but that’s all I know at the moment. If anyone knows any information, please let me know!
So, I did some boat admiring but that’s about as far as my involvement went this year. IMUA to all the teams involved, I hope you had a fantastic time, next year I hope to join you!
Mahalo for reading, Laura