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 Oʻahu across 38+ miles of open ocean in the Ka‘iwi Channel. Eight hours and 55 minutes later, the Moloka‘i canoe, Kukui O Lanikaula landed on the beach at Waikiki in front of the Moana Hotel. Thus began the world’s most prestigious outrigger canoe race, the Moloka‘i Hoe.
The Moloka‘i Hoe has become one of the longest running annual team sporting events in Hawai‘i, second only to football. The Moloka‘i Hoe perpetuates one of Hawaii’s and Polynesia’s most important and historic cultural traditions, while honoring outrigger canoe paddlers around the world. The Moloka‘i Hoe tests the limits of physical and mental strength and endurance, courage determination and teamwork, and paddlers must also battle nature’s most extreme elements.
Each year over 1000+ paddlers from around the world compete in the Moloka‘i Hoe, the men’s world championship in outrigger canoe racing. This year marks the Moloka‘i Hoe’s 59th crossing of the treacherous Ka‘iwi Channel.
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Photo: 2012 Winners Shell Vaʻa; image courtesy of 808photo.me.