Canoe races for island championships are happening this weekend in Hawaii, top crews will go on to compete at the State Canoe Race next month.

Hawaiian Canoe Racing is a popular sporting event in the islands. Racing canoes are made from Hawaii’s giant Koa tree. The Koa tree is one of the tallest trees in Hawaii, often reaching several hundred feet in height with a diameter of over 10 feet. The Koa trees are resistant to salt water, making them perfect for boat-building.

This is a team sport as there are 6 paddlers in the canoe, each trying to mimic the paddler in front of you with the same rhythm, timing, press and totally becoming one. When everyone is working together and in sync, the canoe glides with ease thru the water with such a rhythmic force.

On August 7th, you can watch an actual canoe regatta in action during the State Championship Canoe Races at Keehi Lagoon (near the airport) on Oahu. It’s an all day event, beginning at 8:30am until the last race is completed, approximately 6pm. There will be lots of yummy ono (good) food for sale including plate lunches, shaved ice, and other local favorites. Local vendors will also be selling clothing, canoe paddles, bags, souvenirs, stickers and many other fun items.

This is a culmination of summer long regatta races, with only qualified crews racing. Until now, each association has only raced against other clubs in the same association, but now at the state race the best paddlers finally get a chance to race against crews from other associations and neighboring islands. It’s an exciting race for all paddlers!

Like many other islanders, I have been paddling since I was a teenager, and as long as I am capable will continue to do so. I am in this photo (seat 1) with my crew from a race on July 17th at Keehi Lagoon. We’ve been getting 2nd place all season, so were happy to win 1st place this week.

Hopefully we’ll see a Hana Hou (do it again) this weekend at the Oahu Championships.


  1. Congratulations on 1st place. Awesome sight watching paddlers. Few people learn to appreciate the art of moving in sync with others, its like dancing on water though in my opinion. Good luck to you for the August 7th state race, I’m sure you’ll do splendidly.

  2. Wow, that sound like a fun thing to do this weekend, I know a couple of people heading out there, we’re gonna catch the paddlers coming across the Molokai channel from our Lanai tomorrow, LOL Congrats Kalei, nice post, and good luck!!

  3. Good job! A very fine piece of writing and a nice photo, tho’ I would have liked to have seen more or you. But, I recognize your determined stretch.
    Congratulations to you and crew for placing 1st. Know I wish you only the best of luck on the 7th.
    Makes me relaize how much I miss going to your races as I

  4. Don’t know what I did but my comment got away from me before I finished. I wanted to tell you I really miss going to your races as I used to and that I love you very much.
    Love ya, mom

  5. Congrats Kalei on winning 1st place this week! I love seeing the canoes out on the water. Koa wood is so beautiful and it’s amazing to think those canoes are made from it.

  6. WOW! Another gold! Fantastic!!!
    Oahu Champs!!!!! AWESOME!

    Congratulations to you and crew!!

    Proud of you. Love you, mom

  7. Hey MOM,
    Way to go….nice form. Must’ve felt wonderful to finally be back where you belong…on top. Your dedication and commitment has always been very inspiring. Keep it up and celebrate your victory!
    Love, Hau

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