Kailua-Kona (May 20, 2020) - In early March, the sport of outrigger canoe racing came to a stop and since then has been unable to take place on any shores in Hawaii or elsewhere in the world. Race officials announced this week that the iconic 2020 Queen Liliuokalani Long Distance Canoe Race, named in honor of Hawais last reigning monarch whos birthday is September 2, will be postponed until 2021.
Queen Liliuokalani Long Distance Canoe Race, hosted by Kai Opua Canoe Club, has been welcoming paddlers from around the world to Kona, Hawaii every Labor Day weekend in September since its first race in 1971. Last year, the Queens Race welcomed paddling crews from Australia, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, French Polynesia and U.S. crews from Nevada, Washington, California, Oregon, Virginia and New York. More than 75 Hawaii crews were also represented on the starting lines of its signature 18-mile race in Kailua Bay and Honaunau.
"In Hawaii, we use the word onipaa, meaning to hold steadfast, dont let go, hold tight. All of us at Kai Opua Canoe Club want our paddler family around the world to do just that," said Race Director Mike Atwood. "As we all look forward to getting back in 6-man outrigger canoes, stay safe and healthy and we will see you in Kona next year."
As Hawaii state officials determine social distancing mandates, travel restrictions and other COVID-19 related safety issues and precautions, race officials are exploring the possibility of organizing a smaller modified one-day race to honor the Queens birthday in September. Kai Opua Canoe Club race organizers are hopeful that paddlers can safely get back into their 6-man canoes shortly.