Nine years ago, Jeremy Cole began a mission to introduce the V1, a rudderless Tahitian-style one-person outrigger canoe, to Hawaii’s paddlers. In most parts of the Pacific, the canoes don’t have rudders. The paddler steers with his paddle. If Hawaii was to compete there, they would have to learn a new technique. One of Jeremy’s biggest supporters was Kamanu Composites. They would be instrumental in helping his association, the Hawaii Va’a Association (HVA), in providing a few rudderless canoes for those who didn’t own one. Back in 2008 there were not too many V1’s around. For a few years, the race organizers were able to award the winners a trip to Tahiti to compete in races there. Over the years the race has grown. This year there were about 88 competitors and a score more who turned up to try the demos. Many first timers were game enough to race. They were given a few pointers on how to control a V1 by Luke Evslin before climbing into their V1 to be sent off around ‘the hat’ (Chinaman’s Hat or Mokoli’i).
The strong turnout of young and novice paddlers was a hopeful sign for the future of the V1 here. Champion surfski and OC1 paddler Pat Dolan was one of the competitors. In the finals, he was hot on the heels (elbows) of the more experienced Manny Kulukulualani who won the race just seconds in front of Pat. Makana Denton was third. Full results at www.ocpaddler.com/results/2017/hva_race_around_hat_2017.
The HVA is a non-profit organization created to foster international sporting and cultural exchange through the use of the traditional Va’a. Next year will be the 10th Annual on July 1st at Kualoa Regional Park.