Thursday, January 20, 2022

Coronado Outrigger Club Makes a Winning Splash in Hawaii

Outrigger race participants swap places throughout the race to share in the paddling efforts Photo provided by James Lee

On Saturday, September 14th members of the Coronado Outrigger Club traveled to the Aloha State to compete in The Pailolo Challenge, a 26-mile inter-island channel crossing canoe race that spans the distance between the island of Maui and the island of Molokai.

The Outrigger Hoe Wana’ao Junior Mixed Team take first place in The 2019 Pailolo Challenge in Hawaii. Photo provided by James Lee.

The Coronado Club known as “Outrigger Hoe Wana’ao” was represented in the international race by an adult women’s team and mixed juniors’ team of boys and girls aged 15-18. The race, organized and staffed by the Hawaiian Canoe Club, attracts competitors from across Hawaii, the USA, Canada, and Australia. This year, the competition saw 82 canoe crews competing in the race.

The Outrigger Hoe Wana’ao women’s team. Photo provided by James Lee

Coronado club member James Lee, whose wife Janice and son Micah both participated in the race, supported from the ‘sidelines’ which in the case of outrigger canoeing is the accompanying escort boat.

“The race is known as a 9-man challenge,” explains James. “Even though there are only six seats on the boat, because the race is so long, the team has the option of switching people out periodically. When a change happens, the new paddler has to jump off the escort boat and catch and climb aboard the canoe while it’s still moving. The paddler being replaced jumps out of the canoe just moments before their replacement jumps in. The paddler then waits to get picked up by the escort boat.” See video below:

Without the aid of mechanical devices or attachments for powering or steering, the teams relied on teamwork and grit to paddle the distance for almost five consecutive hours.

The Outrigger Hoe Wana’ao Junior Mixed Team for the 2019 Pailolo Challenge Photo provided by James Lee

The Coronado junior division team took first place in the competition with a total race time of 4:42:01. The women’s team finished tenth in their division with a time of 4:51:24.

The Outrigger Ho Wana’ao Club was founded in 2014 by a group of paddlers who shared a vision to establish a program for children and adults that:

helps to instill the values of Respect, Loyalty, Responsibility, Trust, Friendship, Fairness, and Teamwork which all come with paddling outrigger. We strive to teach and perpetuate the cultural significance of outrigger canoe paddling and are committed to both our members and the community at large. We believe that paddling together builds a strong sense of purpose and friendship that is hard to find elsewhere. –

The club is located at the Coronado Boathouse on Glorietta Bay and is a member of the Southern California Outrigger Racing Association (SCORA).