Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association Hosts State Championships on Maui
On Friday, August 4 and Saturday, August 5, the Maui County chapter of the Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association (HCRA) will host the annual HCRA State Championships at Hanakao`o Beach Park in Lahaina.
This annual event brings together clubs and crews from the Big Island, Oahu, Molokai, and Kauai to compete against local clubs and crews, and is attended by over 2,000 paddlers, family members and supporters. The HCRA State Championships is one of the rare races in Hawaii which require paddlers to compete in traditional, hand-carved koa wood canoes. The canoes, some of which are more than 30 years old, must weigh at least 400 pounds and are the pride of many families and clubs. For example, the “Tutu”, a canoe built by Wally and Luana Froiseth in the 1990s will be raced by the Waikiki Surf Club.
Friday’s activities begin with weighing the koa canoes at 8:00 a.m. until approximately 11:00 a.m. This is one of the only times that the public can view the canoes as great care, handling and security is maintained throughout the regatta weekend to ensure the canoes are not damaged.
Friday’s activities also include crew warm ups so paddlers can spot the course and get in a few practice runs, merchandise sales from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., and official and coach meetings.
On Saturday morning, the festivities begin early with opening ceremonies starting at 7:30 a.m. and races beginning at 8:00 a.m. The first few races of the day are the kapuna, followed by the keiki, and then moving into the open and mixed categories. Races will run the entire day and range from ¼ mile to a 1.5 mile races.
On Saturday, the HCRA will also be giving out scholarship awards to deserving young competitive paddlers within their own associations. These scholarship recipients have demonstrated valuable community service efforts and have written essays providing the history of a koa canoe which has impacted their experience paddling. These essays will be preserved so that the history of the canoes will not be lost and will be available to the upcoming generations.
McKeon Sheldon Mehling partner, Keri Mehling, serves on the HCRA Board of Directors as their Secretary and Scholarship Committee Chairperson. Keri, who started paddling 18 years ago and has raced in every state race since then, shares her aspect of the State Championships: “You get to see three generations of one family all race in a legacy koa canoe on the same day – perpetuation of ohana and the koa canoes is what our association is about!”
If you wish to attend this free event or to get more information about it, go to www.hcrapaddler.com.
MSM wishes all of the paddlers much success in their races!