Steinlager Kauai World Challenge outrigger canoe contest set for April 25-26

The first Steinglarger Kauai World Challenge is set for Friday April 25 and Saturday April 26.

Along with single-man outrigger canoe racing, the event will host what is believed to be the first-ever outrigger canoe industry trade show. The show is open to the public on Friday afternoon at the Radisson Kauai Beach Resort.

The race is scheduled to be a featured segment in the nationally syndicated “Hawaii Ocean Games.”

Participants in the race will range from the elite of the one-man canoe circuit, and be coming to Kaua’i from Tahiti and other international canoe paddling nations, to local teens in the 15-19 year-old age division.

The race begins on Saturday morning, April 26 at Wailua Beach at 9 am. Relay points for the race are being set to showcase historic voyaging canoe landings and beautiful beaches. They are to be located at Hanama’ulu, Kalapaki in front of the Marriott, Poipu Beach Park and the finish line is at Salt Pond Beach Park in Hanapepe, with a finish expected around 12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 26.

The public is encouraged to watch the race at the handoff locations to cheer paddlers on as they wait in the water for their partner to paddle in and hand off the canoe to them.

The four legs of the race are arduous and technically demanding requiring skill, balance and endurance as well as ocean knowledge and surfing ability, according to race organizers.

Following the race an awards ceremony is scheduled, along with entertainment featuring local music groups Tommy and Malia, Papaa Bay Boys and Revival as well as the Tahitian Revue Rohotu. The public is encouraged to attend the free post-race festivities, which are free and open to the public.

The sport of single-man outrigger paddling is growing at a rate of perhaps 200 percent a year, according to race organizers, who hope to make Kaua’i a featured locale for the sport.

Sponsors include Steinlager, the Kaua’i Visitor Bureau and the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Volunteers and the participation of volunteers from the newly formed high school paddling clubs is showing how popular one-man outrigger canoeing and outrigger canoe racing is with high school students. The young paddlers are being encouraged to attend the trade show along with all paddlers and the general public to see the state of the art carbon fiber canoes, paddles the clothing, water systems and accessories for the canoe enthusiast as well as all water sports athletes .

The trade show is scheduled for the event’s headquarters the Raddison from noon to 6 p.m. on Friday, April 25.

Contributing support for the race are the Aloha Beach Resort, Radisson, the Kauai Marriot and Beach Club, the Waiohai Resort, the Sheraton Kauai Resort, Princeville Hotel, Hyatt Regency and Embassy Vacation Resort at Poipu. Sponsorship includes providing rooms for international and out of state paddlers.

Some paddlers other islands in Hawai’i will need places to stay and anyone wishing to adopt a paddler or a team of two by providing a bed for one night or two should contact race organizers. The County of Kaua’i is providing water safety for the race, along with the local Coast Guard Auxiliary. Volunteers are also needed to help with parking, providing paddlers with information, at aid stations, to help with food service. For more information call Cindy Grover at 635 3511, or send an e-mail to tiland @aloha. net. More information about the race and the paddling world can be found at www.ocpaddler.com.

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