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Na Wahine O Ke Kai, Molokai Hoe canceled

The Maui News

The world championship events for outrigger canoe racing — the Na Wahine O Ke Kai and Molokai Hoe — were canceled by event organizers on Thursday.

“As our state has been tremendously impacted by the global reach of this pandemic, the Board of The Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association (OHCRA) together with the organizing committee of Nā Wāhine O Ke Kai, regretfully announce the decision to cancel this year’s championship canoe races — Hawaiian Airlines Nā Wāhine O Ke Kai, scheduled for September 27, 2020 and Hawaiian Airlines Molokaʻi Hoe, scheduled on October 11, 2020,” an emailed press release said. “This collective decision reflects our steadfast commitment to put individual and community safety ahead of racing for this 2020 season.”

The press release continued:

“While assessing the ongoing situation and weighing reports provided by medical professionals and State and County Officials, as well as reckoning with lead time for event production and growing financial constraints, it became very clear that proceeding with these races was not feasible nor advisable. In addition, recommending more than 2,000 paddlers and support staff travel from around the world into our fragile communities during this time of uncertainty would be imprudent.”

The Maui County Hawaiian Canoe Association announced on April 30 that its regatta season had been canceled. All of the other associations in the state did likewise.

“The early decision to cancel pre-season and regatta seasons for canoe racing associations around the state were required in accordance with the ‘stay at home’ orders issued in all counties,” the press release said. “At this time, six-man canoe paddling continues to be a restricted activity. As our associations wait on the phased reopening of our sport, we feel that the first order of business for our clubs will be to focus on the needs of their own paddlers and families impacted by COVID-19. For the remainder of the 2020 season we stand positioned and ready to support our canoe clubs as they look to reengage their athletes as is appropriate.

“Our sincere hope is that with the easing of restrictions our clubs and paddlers will join together to once again be on the water perpetuating our state sport of canoe paddling. Until then, the Ka’iwi Channel crossing will be waiting, and we look forward to continuing the legacy of our races in 2021 — Nā Wāhine O Ke Kai — September 26, 2021 & Molokai Hoe — October 10, 2021.”

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