Hanalei Canoe Club claims ‘Challenge’

The Hanalei Canoe Club’s recently won the Pailolo Challenge Outrigger canoe race.

Pailolo Challenge is a 25-mile course from Maui to Molokai and is one of the big lead-up races to the Molokai races next month.

Last year was HCC men’s first try, where it placed sixth overall and fourth in the open nine-man race.

“Going into 2013 we were excited to get the chance to surf an epic course, as well as having the chance to compete against some of the best,” said a press release.

At the start of this year’s Pailolo Challenge, 85 canoes lined the beach at Flemmings.

“With crews traveling from as far as Europe, we knew that if we wanted a chance to place we would have to leave everything on the field,” the release said.

By the first water change, Namolokama had taken a considerable lead. HCC was battling with Hawaiian canoe club, last year’s third-place finisher, and Na Kai Ewalu, which placed 5th.

About an hour into the channel, conditions started lining up just right — enough for Hanalei to see an opening in Namolokama’s line.

“We make a big push to get past them, at which point we battled all the way to the very last buoy, which was sitting outside of Kaunakakai pier,” the release said.

HCC’s time was 2:57.38 and Namolokama followed nearly 20 seconds behind at 2:57.56. They were the only two traditional canoes that made it under the three-hour mark.

“Having the opportunity to battle tooth and nail with our closest friends and rivals (Namolokama o Hanalei) was an honor,” the release said.

The Molokai Hoe, normally our biggest race of the year, is Oct. 13.

In November, the Hanalei men are also attending the largest and most coveted outrigger race in the world, Hawaiki Nui in Tahiti.

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