Tahiti Fete canoe races July 1 in Hanalei

Hanalei Canoe Club will host its Tahiti Fete V1/OC1 competition July 1 at the Hanalei Pier.

This year is the 30th running of the one-person canoe races.

“We actually haven’t done it the last two years. Otherwise, it would be the 32rd annual,” said Adam Roversi, Hanalei Canoe Club men’s coach and steering committee member. “But we’re reviving it this year. It’s coming back.”

Roversi said the V1 and OC1 canoes, while both are one-person canoes, are different.

“The V1s are a Tahitian-style canoe. They don’t have a rudder, and they’re sort of going through an upsurge in interest in Hawaii just in the last few years,” he said. “The OC1 is similar. It’s a single-person outrigger, but it has a rudder and foot pedals. It’s technically much easier to paddle.”

The Na Opio competitions will begin 9 a.m. Registration will take place 7-8 a.m., and there is no entry fee.

V1 canoes will be provided for keiki racers, and a clinic that will cover the basics will start 8 a.m.

“Our view is that it’s a critically-important tool to improve as a six-man outrigger paddler,” Roversi said of the V1 keiki clinic. “It’s one of the best ways to learn to feel the ocean and to really learn the skills of paddling and technique.

“Because those boats without any rudder are very responsive, it just takes a lot of attention to be able to paddle them well compared to an OC1 canoe that you can do fairly well just by brute force,” he continued. “It’s simple to steer and doesn’t really require a great deal of finesse or technique. To lean the ocean and the skills of outrigger paddling in a V1 canoe is ideal.”

Na Opio races will be held in timed heats within Hanalei Bay. Division will defer between boys and girls and will vary by age groups. The course length will vary by age group.

“The young kids will probably do a half-mile that will just be a straight line out to a buoy and come back,” Roversi said. “The 14, 15, 16 to 18-year-olds will probably do a triangle course through (Hanalei Bay) that is about, somewhere between, a mile-and-a-half to two miles. But it’s all within the bay in very flat water.”

Awards will be presented to the top-three finishers in each division.

The adult V1 and OC1 competitions will begin 11 a.m. Registration is 7:30-10 a.m. Entry fee for adults is $10.

Adult competitors are expected to provide their own canoes.

“We’ve got a group of club members, and also people in our community, through their generosity donating the use of their canoes for the kids. And that’s a little bit dependent on the fact that they’ll be in flat water, and the chances of boats being damaged are fairly slim,” Roversi said.

“But when we send the adults out on the ocean in the surf, we didn’t want to take on the responsibility of damaged boats that don’t belong to the canoe club,” he continued. “If people want to loan their own boats to their friends, that’s great. But unfortunately, we’re not able to provide boats to the adults.”

There will be two divisions for both men and women — the Open division (50-and-under), and the Masters division (50-and-over).

The adult course will be approximately 10 miles going outside of Hanalei Bay and back. The course will be determined by ocean conditions the day of the races.

“The adults course will go outside the bay, either towards Haena or towards Anini depending on the weather that day,” Roversi said.

Other amenities at the event include: Double-hull canoe rides for visitors ($10 per person), food and a craft tent selling various Hanalei Canoe Club paddling wear, bikinis, jewelry and other merchandise.

Info: Roversi, 652-9706.

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