Kauai paddlers made it to the podium during the 19th annual Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge which wrapped up overthe weekend in New York.
Melissa Burovac was among the all-Kauai mixed crew, Kauai Ohana, which took the division, and was joined by teamcaptain Keone Miyake, Dana Miyake, Kalani Vierra, Marina Loew and Luke Evslin.
“The mixed Kauai Ohana crew won by several minutes following an intense battle at the start line resulting in damage tomultiple boats,” Burovac said in an email. “The team paddled 11 miles, a slightly shorter course due to increased boat trafficand more hazardous conditions in the afternoon.”
Official results of the race in New York were not available on the Liberty Challenge website.
Burovac said the conditions on the Hudson River course, covering 15 miles starting at Hudson River Park’s Pier 26 andwinding around the New York and New Jersey shores are what make this race challenging.
“Strong, shifting tidal currents and winds, together with passenger ferries, tour boats, tankers, barges, and pleasure boatscreate obstacles unlike anything on Kauai,” the paddler on the mixed division winning team said. “The steersmen followedthe best course to take advantage of the currents and boat wakes while staying clear of docks and river debris, police andsafety boats frequently stopping the canoes to allow large ships to pass through the race line and maintain the busyharbor’s schedule.”
She said the course for the six-man canoe passed some of the great sights of New York, including the Statue of Liberty,Governor’s Island, the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, and the 9/11 Memorial Tower with spectators watching frommultiple viewing points along the river. A high-tech tracking app allowed spectators to follow the canoes throughout theentire race.
“The second all-Kauai crew, the Kauai Waa, finished second in their division,” Burovac said. “They missed out on top honorsto the Brazilian team by two seconds. This crew included team captain Shaydon Moises, Keawe Smith, Spencer Smith, BJAiwohi, Jonah Enrique and Tiloi Alapa.”
Burovac said other Kauai paddlers teamed with off-island teams and ended with podium finishes for all Kauai paddlers whotraveled to New York.
“Noe Sawyer and Alana Frasier ended up winning in the women’s division with Team Bradley,” Burovac said. “Luke Evslinjoined Team Kamanu to finish second in the men’s unlimited division before taking the steers paddle for Kauai Ohana’s win,and Sokchea Evslin steered Team Singapore to a third place finish in the women’s race.”
The Kauai paddler said participants of the race hosted by the New York Outrigger Club came from 74 teams representingseven countries, including Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia.
“Everyone was treated to a Hawaiian-style luau following Saturday’s race, complete with hula from a New York halau,”Burovac said. “All of the teams took advantage of beautiful New York to sightsee Times Square, Central Park, and attend aYankees baseball game. Host club New York Outrigger demonstrated that aloha can be found everywhere.”