We all expected Tahiti to win The Hawaiian Airlines Molokai Hoe and they did. The surprise was that it wasn’t 8-time defending champion Shell Vaa. EDT Vaa-1 broke Shell’s winning reign taking top honors for the Tahitians in 4:51:43. Shell, who held the lead most of the way across the channel, ended up 16 seconds behind EDT with a time of 4:51:59. The third crew to cross the finish at Duke’s Beach in Waikiki was EDT-2 in 5:00:11, 4th was Team Air Tahiti Vaa and in 5th, the first crew from Hawaii, Lanikai Canoe Club with a time of 5:15:05. Lanikai was the last crew from Hawaii to win the Molokai Hoe back in 2005 (5:17.00).
Rounding off the top 20 were:
- 6 5:16:56 Wailea-Team Primo of Maui
- 7 5:17:26 Hui Nalu-Hokupa’a of Oahu
- 8 5:26:16 Kaua’i Wa’a- Mo’ikeha of Kauai
- 9 5:28:42 Outrigger-Red of Oahu
- 10 5:30:40 Mellow Johnny’s Va’a of Big Island
- 11 5:30:43 Kailua- Blue of Oahu
- 12 5:32:06 Air Tahiti Nui Va’a of Tahiti
- 13 5:32:12 Na Koa Kona of Big Island (Masters 40+)
- 14 5:37:03 Wa’akapaemua Canoe Club of Molokai
- 15 5:38:22 Cronulla Outrigger-Team Cronulla of Australia
- 16 5:39:40 Lanakila of California
- 17 5:41:40 Healani-Blue of Oahu
- 18 5:44:47 Waikiki Beach Boys-1 of Oahu
- 19 5:45:56 Kai Opua-Blue of Big Island
- 20 5:46:02 Tahitian Ohana of Tahiti (Masters 40+)
This year crews from Hawaii won all age group divisions except open. The top three, their times and overall finishing places are:
- 40-plus: 13 5:32:12 Na Koa Kona of the Big Island of Hawaii
- 20 5:46:02 Tahitian Ohana of Tahiti
- 35 6:04:19 Hui Nalu – Mokuahi of Oahu
- 50-plus: 28 5:56:30 Lanikai of Oahu
- 30 5:58:18 Outrigger Team California
- 32 6:01:53 Mooloolaba Outrigger of Australia
- 55-plus: 38 6:05:25 Kailua-Team Hawaii of Oahu
- 60 6:31:15 Kamamalahoe/Kihei of Oahu/Maui
- 102 7:41:06 Kamamalahoe of Oahu
- 60-plus: 42 6:13:24 Hawaiian Canoe Club of Maui
- 49 6:21:02 California Gold of California
- 65 6:33:30 Namolokama of Kauai
- 65-plus: 97 7:12:37 Keahiakahoe-Team Gilbert 65 of Oahu
- 101 7:29:28 New Hope of Oahu
There were three koa canoe crews:
- 26 5:55:03 Outrigger Canoe Club- koa named Leilani
- 27 5:55:27 Lanikai Canoe Club – koa named Hokulele
- 95 7:06:27 Team Puakea – koa named Ho’ola
And five junior crews in this year’s line-up. Waikiki Surf Club – Aunty Moku was first to Duke’s Beach – 56th overall in 6:26:47.
- 59 6:31:07 Outrigger Canoe Club of Oahu
- 70 6:39:40 Hui Nalu-Kepo’inalu of Oahu
- 87 7:01:24 Keahiakahoe-Ikaikai of Oahu
- 92 7:03:35 Keola O Ke Kai of Oahu
On Sunday, October 12th about 1,000 paddlers, making up 102 crews, took part in the 62nd annual Hawaiian Airlines Molokai Hoe. The 41-mile race from Molokai to Oahu across the Kaiwi Channel is considered by many paddlers to be the ultimate challenge.
This year the Kaiwi’s currents wern’t headed towards Oahu but the opposite direction. There was a wind swell, but the out-going tide prevented most crews from being able to get enough speed to make the drop and catch the bumps.
The Molokai Hoe is the longest-running annual team sporting event in Hawaii. The first race was held in October 1952 amongst three crews of six paddlers – they ironed the channel competing in dug-out koa wood outrigger canoes. The course back then was 38-miles long, and it started in Molokai’s northwestern Kawakiu Bay. The first canoe reached Waikiki landing in front of the Moana Hotel. It took a team from Molokai, Kukui O Lanikaula, 8-hours-and-55-minutes to finish in first place. The current record, set by Shell Vaa in 2011, is 4:30:54 and nearly half the time of that first race.
The Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association puts on the annual event, and this year’s title sponsor is Hawaiian Airlines. For more information about the Molokai Hoe, follow this link in the digital edition (www.molokaihoe.com).
Photos by Ropati Hebenstreit
Molokai Festival of Aloha
Welcoming paddlers to the Molokai Hoe
This year the Moloka’i Canoe Festival was excited to present “KULAIA” for both the Na Wahine O Ke Kai weekend as well as partner with the Festivals of Aloha for the Moloka’i Hoe weekend here on Moloka’i bringing back the festivals/Ho’olaule’a to these races. The great feedback we’ve received from the paddlers, race coordinators, Moloka’i community and visitors were exceptional and much appreciated. As the buzz continues to spread, we are hopeful that more crews will arrive early for next year’s events and participate in the festivities as we continue to share the Aloha spirit of Moloka’i. We are grateful to the County of Maui Office of Economic Development who supported us in this vision along with the many sponsors and partners involved. Until Next Year.
Malama Pono, Lori-Lei Rawlins-Crivello
Photos/story by Kevin T. McHugh, Photographer
Fresh off a fourth place overall at the 2014 Catalina Crossing Outrigger Team California (OTC) came to the Moloka’i Hoe looking to win the Master 50+ category. They knew that Mooloolaba from Australia would be in the hunt, as they always are, so to help in the channel, they lined up Todd Bradley to steer them across. At the start of the race, OTC was in the front group as they cleared Laau Point and with the tides and conditions took a slightly northerly route across. Mooloolaba was racing even further north, and the other top crew in the 50+ category from Lanikai was taking a southerly route. Early mid-channel battles with Hui Lanikila, Tahitian Ohana, Wailea and a father son steering battle with Christian Bradley steering Outrigger Koa kept the energy and excitement at high levels. As the crew got closer to O’ahu they began to take advantage of the northerly line and link some great waves along the Hawaii Kai run. Mooloolaba was hot on the chase and closing ground quickly in the bump while the Tahitian Ohana crew provided a wave for wave battle to keep the rate high knowing the finish was just miles away. Ahead in the distance a large pack of crews included Lanikai’s 50+ crew, and ultimately they took the win. OTC finished 1:48 behind with Mooloolaba rounding out the top three a further 3:35 behind. Many stories, laughs and drinks were shared amongst the crews afterwards concluding another great race across the channel.
photos by Ropati Hebenstreit