Outrigger team dominate event
IN 1952 three Koa Outrigger Canoes travelled the ocean from Molokai's west side to Oahu.
This started a trend which now attracts thousands of outriggers a year including for the past three year's local outrigger Chris Grant as part of his Mooloolaba Senior Masters men's crew.
Every year Grant has participated in this event his crew has won the senior masters event, and this year even managed to shed six minutes off their personal best record.
"We have a very experienced side, a couple of the guys have been in 18 or 19 hoe's and the rest about 7 or 8 each," Grant said.
"It is thanks to dedication, time and hard training that we have been able to get to where we are now."
And that is just right - not any average person could paddle 66km, in 10-14ft swells, in 5:29:07 minutes at 64 strokes a minute.
For Grant, to get where he is it has taken him 18 years of pure hard work.
"I train hard, but when you get to my age it's also about training smarter," he said.
"So to train smarter I have a personal trainer, Natasha Askin, who works me really hard to increase my fitness which helps me paddle.
"I also do a lot of single canoe work which prepares me for competitions."
Grant also used to be a member of the local outrigging club but his change to Mooloolaba was a move to improve his opportunities.
"For a step up I had to look at moving clubs and paddling with more experienced outriggers," he said.
"Mooloolaba offered me this direction and I have since won National titles and other competitions.
"The guys I paddle with are great and we all learn a lot from each other. We probably race together about 12 times a year."
Although not Hawaii Grant is looking forward to his upcoming competition the Gold Coast Cup which will be held in two weeks.
This event is 36km.
What is it?
- On October 12, 1952, three Koa outrigger canoes launch through the surf at Kawakiu Bay on Molokai's west side.
- Powered by six paddlers, each of the canoes was bound for Oahu across 38+ miles of open ocean in the Ka'iwi Channel.
- Thus began the world's most prestigious outrigger canoe race, the Molokai Hoe.
- The Molokai Hoe has become one of the longest-running annual team sporting events in Hawaii, second only to football.
- Each year over 1000+ paddlers from around the world compete in the Molokai Hoe, the men's world championship in outrigger canoe racing.
- 2011 marks the Molokai Hoe's 59th crossing of the treacherous Ka'iwi Channel.