Saturday’s race saw almost 100 paddlers turn out for the Kaipalaoa race which was a fundraiser for OSMD hosted by our own Kwai-Chang and Corrina Publico of So Juicy. All of the event proceeds go to help OSMD provide assistance and motivation for those effected by Muscular Dystrophy. In addition to part of the race fees going to OSMD a donation based drawing also raised more funds. If you entered the drawing follow https://www.instagram.com/sojuicyhawaii/ and watch for your ticket number! A big thanks to the sponsors: HI Pressure Paddles, Stay Humble Hats, Sig Zane dry bags, So Juicy, OK farms Coffee, Bytes and Pieces, Homesteady, All Pulu Hat, Hilo One, The Makery, and any others missing from this list.
Kaipalaoa is an area of the bay that most paddlers are very familiar with. The land around the lighthouse in Hilo is known by this name and features the surfing reef which has been surfable almost every day this past year. Kamehameha was said to have landed here and left his guards to watch his canoe. After a few days of Kamehameha being absent the guards decided to search for him. Kamehameha was upset they left the canoe behind but one guard mentioned he fashioned a rope and a knot to keep the canoe safe. Upon returning to the secured canoe Kamehameha was impressed by the guard’s skills and named the area Hilo after the twisted and braided line that kept the canoe safe.
Due to the high amount of humpback whales, race officials decided the safest way to not disturb them or risk any paddlers was to keep the races inside the bay. This made for a lot of turns for the long course and a shortened both courses to accommodate the separate courses inside the bay — probably a first for the HIPA races.
With a Le Mans-style beach start, all the racers lined up in waist deep water. When the horn was about to go, there was the calls of “Cheehoo!” and “Go!” and an explosive start followed shortly by the official air horn start sound.
About 45 canoes on the short course (~3 miles) charged towards the red buoy while another 42 canoes on the long course (~5.5 miles) aimed for the inner green buoy. It was an intense start with everyone pushing hard for the best lines. Long course paddlers headed for the outside green, the bridge piling, outside green, and back to the bridge and then a sprint for the halaus where both courses finished. The short course sprinted to the red buoy and then a boat turn by the tip of the wall then to a flag and boat on the left side of the Kaipalaoa area to avoid the surf break.
There was a slight breeze blowing down the mauna and a strong current running from the Wailuku towards the outer green buoy. Aside from the hulis and a long course canoe or two getting caught trying to short cut the surf, everything went perfectly and all the paddlers had a blast. Even Moku and Sammy Sampaga (OSMD) teamed up on an OC2 to tear up the long course.
Keaukaha helped fill out the starting line up on both courses and the KCC and KOYD kids were out in force:
- Long: Jose, Keahi, Aaron, Kama, Eric, Kawika, Jeff, Kanoe, Keola, Brandi, La’akea (jr. oc1)
- Short: Grant, Greg, Kawai, Shai (jr. V1), Mike, Lewis (jr. V1), Lexi (first race and a first place!), Rena, Dalilah (jr. V1), Eha (jr. V1), Cother (jr. V1), Malakai (jr. V1), O-Shen (jr. 1), Niau (jr. V1), Kwai-Chang, Corrina, Tanoa (jr. V1), Lexie (jr. V1)
And next Saturday is one of the popular venues: Keoua’s Race at Honaunau! Sign up on line before Friday.