Categorized | Canoe Racing, Sports

Mellow Johnny’s, Waikiki Beach Boys win Queen Liliuokalani race


More than 2,000 paddlers in the Men’s and Women’s Divisions competed in Saturday’s Queen Liliuokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races, the world’s largest outrigger canoe race, hosted by Kai Opua Canoe Club in Kona.

The first women’s crew to cross the 18-mile race from Kailua Bay to Honaunau went to Waikiki Beach Boys #1 who captured the overall win with a time of 2:07:11.

Puna Canoe Club was second over the finish line with a time of 2:08:09 and Hulakai Canoe Club was third over the finish line at 2:08:49.

The women’s crews from Waikiki Beach Boys Canoe Club have excelled at this race with three other recent first place finishes (2013, 2010 and 2008).

With the drop of the official flag at 7:30 a.m. in Kailua Bay, 96 women’s crews headed south to Honaunau under hot, sunny and flat conditions as they paddled their way to the finish line.

“It was exciting to see how well the top three crews faced each other. Kai Opua’s Master 40, Puna Canoe Club and Hulakai battled and paddled nearly the entire race course,” said Mike Atwood, Race Director. “The unlimited canoes kept it close and all the wahine moved those canoes.”

Once the women’s crews finished, the men’s race got underway in Honaunau and made the return 18-mile journey to Kailua Bay.

From the start, Mellow Johnny #1 kept its pace, validating this team as the world’s best at this event. Mellow Johnny #1 fought hard for the lead against Tahiti’s Paddling Connection.

Making its debut at this year’s Queen Liliuokalani Long Distance Canoe Race, this Tahitian team came to Kona having won the recent Hawaiki Nui Vaa, an intense three-day outrigger canoe race through the Leeward Group of Society Islands.

Both crews were neck and neck until just off Puu Ohau (Red Hill) when Mellow Johnny #1 took to the outside and gained distance.

Mellow Johnny #1 crossed the finish line with a time of 1:55:33 followed by Paddling Connection in 1:56:30. Kailua Gold 2 rounded out the top three with a time of 1:57:12.

“This race brings paddlers together from all over the world who want to be a part of this great race here in Kona. Queen Liliuokalani Long Distance Canoe Races are about sharing the spirit of Hawaiian outrigger canoe racing with the world,” said Kai Opua Canoe Club President Uncle Bo Campos. “Mahalo nui loa to everyone who helps make this event the world’s largest long distance canoe race.”

The 2014 Queen Liliuokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races are sponsored in part by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, county Research and Development, Queen K Tesoro, Steinlager, Olukai, Ocean Paddler Television, King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, Hulakai, First Hawaiian Bank and numerous corporate and community donors.

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