Tell us about the WAIKIKI BEACH BOYS
It was WBBCC founders that set out to share the spirit of aloha through the love and respect of the ocean and outrigger canoe paddling. As a club, we continue to want to make sure that each of our paddlers has the opportunity to have many different experiences to paddle and also to compete. It does not matter if you are a first year, third year or 20 year veteran paddler, we will make every effort to give every one of our paddlers an opportunity to be a part of a Na Wahine O Ke Kai or Molokai Hoe crew. At this time, we only have adult crews, however we continue to discuss the possibility of re-establishing a youth program. We have a dedicated group of members, coaches, officers and board members. Once a Beachboy always part of the Beachboy Ohana.
Could you give us A blow-by-blow of the race?
As the race started, we knew we had crews from Hui Nalu, Tahiti and our other WBBCC crews around us. As we approached La‘au Point, the front pack began to break away a little from the rest of the crews. As we turned into the channel, we saw Team Bradley come off the point slightly ahead of us. The other crews turned after we turned into the channel. As we entered the Kaiwi Channel, the water and conditions changed from smoother, smaller bump to filling in to provide some little runners to catch. The race was on. Around 1.5 -2 hours into the race, Team Bradly and WBBCC stayed on a similar line as other crews chose to go further North or South or drop behind. WBBCC and Team Bradley exchanged the lead multiple times. It was a true cat and mouse chase with the two crews changing positions. Not only was it exciting to be a part of the race, when getting on the escort boat, it was amazing to watch and cheer the crew on. As we approached Oahu, outside of Portlock, there was a moment when we were side by side, waves were forming and we went for it. We were able to get on a slighlty bigger wave and then connect a couple waves to give us a slight lead. From that point, we were able to maintain the lead. At times we were able to pull away further and then Team Bradley would make a surge and close the distance between us. We knew the race was not over until we crossed the finish line. Once the finishing crew crossed the line, they turned around to pick up the remaining four paddlers and all 10 of us crossed the line together. Finishing the race was an incredible sense of accomplishment, and to have the opportunity to bring the championship back to WBBCC was overwhelming and sense of pure joy.
Advise for anyone considering Na Wahine next year?
No matter how many times one races in Na Wahine O Ke Kai, each time is a different experience with memories to last a life time. Take the time to stop for even a brief moment to think about the women who carved out the opportunity for each of us to continue to be a part of this incredible experience. It is a small percentage of the population that are able to paddle and race in the Kaiwi Channel. The ocean can challenge a person in ways you may never have thought of. Be prepared to experience a range of emotions.
Crew member, Dana Gorecki