HK crews to paddle for glory in Hawaii

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 August, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 August, 1996, 12:00am

THE Hong Kong Island Paddle Club will send two women's and two men's crews to compete in the world's largest long distance outrigger canoe races being held in Hawaii next month.

The annual Queen Lili'uokalani long distance outrigger canoe races - celebrating their 25th anniversary this year - are being held by the Kai Opua Canoe Club during the September 7-8 Labour Day weekend on the Kona coast of the island.

The Hong Kong crews have been training all year for the competition, and have just finished a successful dragon boat racing season, with the men's and mixed crews all finishing first in the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races.

The regatta, named after Hawaii's last reigning monarch, begins with the 'Wahine's Race'- or women's race - in a 30-kilometre paddle, south from Kailua-Kona to the bay at Pu'uhonua O Honaunau.

After about 21/2 hours, the first of the 100 women's crews will start to arrive. Waiting on the beach will be the men's crews, ready to jump into the canoes and race back along the coast to Kailua Bay.

More than 100 canoes, stretching more than a kilometre across the ocean, will line up for the start of the Kane's Race - the men's race.

The Hong Kong crews will compete in the Iron Division, which means they will paddle all the way without any change-over or relief paddlers.

Sunday events feature Double Hull outrigger races, with both men's and women's divisions racing more than nine kilometres.