There Is Something in the Water


By Shannon Gerritzen

What is it that draws us to the water? Is it your friends or ‘Ohana (family)? Is it because it refuels us?

Is there some primal connection that makes us keep returning to the water? Whatever it is, or combination of many things, there is something in the water.

Outrigger paddling for many feeds the need to be on the water. While the temperatures aren’t quite the same as Hawaii, or even California, that hasn’t stopped those in the Pacific Northwest from becoming a crew of six that paddles as one.

With 18 clubs in the Pacific Northwest Outrigger Canoe Association (PNWORCA), 10 clubs in Washington and 8 in Oregon, there is a place for everyone in a canoe.

PNWORCA recently closed out their 2018 OC6 racing season with the Pacific Northwest Outrigger Challenge on Saturday, August 25th at Sand Point on Lake Washington. The weather wasn’t typical of what we have come to expect in Washington at this time of year, long warm days with plenty of blue skies, but we greeted grey skies with smiles and paddles at the ready. More than 200 paddlers from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia joined in the day’s festivities.

Kikaha O Ke Kai Outrigger Canoe Club of Tacoma, WA and Sand Point Outrigger Canoe Club of Seattle, WA joined forces again for the fourteenth year to make the event successful. The Pacific Northwest Outrigger Challenge consists of a variety of events: 18-mile Iron, 20-mile Beach Changeout, and a 26-mile 9-Man Changeout, starting en masse around swimming dogs from a nearby dog park, continuing under two bridges and around Mercer Island. This race included 26 crews from16 racing teams, making this the premiere changeout race in the Pacific Northwest.

Many paddlers use this race as the last training stop before heading to the Queen Lili’uokalani Canoe Race, Catalina Crossing, Pailolo, and/or Molokai Ho’e. The course is long and challenging and allows each paddler to test their mental fortitude for distance and their endurance. Not to mention, the Pacific Northwest Outrigger Challenge is an excellent race to test gear, crew lineup, perfect water change methods, and more. The results from this year’s race can be found here: We hope to see you in the PNW next August for the 15th Pacific Northwest Outrigger Challenge. Until then, Imua!

For more information on –
Kikaha O Ke Kai Outrigger Canoe Club visit:
Sand Point Outrigger Canoe Club visit:


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