Revered Tahitian team reclaims Molokai Hoe title, outrigger paddling’s top prize
Shell Va‘a won the prestigious Hawaiian Airlines Molokai Hoe outrigger canoe race over the weekend crossing the finish line in 4 hours, 35 minutes and 16 seconds. The Tahitian team’s victory was their 11th in the past 13 years, an unrivaled milestone in the sport of outrigger canoe racing.
Defending champion Red Bull Wa‘a from Hawaii arrived at the finish nine minutes and five seconds after Shell Va‘a, while Outrigger Canoe Club (4:44:55), another top Hawaiian team, finished third.
Teams battled their way across 41 miles of open ocean from Molokai’s Hale O Lono Beach to Duke Kahanamoku Beach in Waikiki in the 66th iteration of the Molokai Hoe. Ninety-eight teams took part, including U.S. crews from Hawaii, California, Connecticut, Washington alongside an international field from Australia, Canada, France, Singapore and Tahiti.
Ka Lāhui Kai – meaning Ocean People, a team of elite junior paddlers, made perhaps the most impressive showing of the competition. Paddling under the banner of The Outrigger Canoe Club on the official registry, the compilation team of top American junior outrigger paddlers won the junior division and finished an impressive 8th overall. The team included multiple Molokai Solo OC-1 winners, including Ryland Hart and Harrison Deisroth.