2021 Hawaiʻi Championship Canoe Races Cancelled due to COVID-19 Pandemic

The 2021 Molokaʻi Hoe Canoe Race has been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Courtesy screen shot

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Boards of The Oʻahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association and Nā Wāhine O Ke Kai have cancelled the 2021 championship canoe races: Hawaiian Airlines Nā Wāhine O Ke Kai (scheduled for Sept. 26) and Hawaiian Airlines Molokaʻi Hoe (scheduled for Oct. 10).

“This collective decision reflects our steadfast commitment to put individual and community safety ahead of racing for this 2021 season,” the organizations said in a joint letter.

Oʻahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association President Lāpule Schultz and Nā Wāhine O Ke Kai President Carleen Ornellas said in the letter: “While assessing the ongoing situation and weighing reports provided by medical professionals along with State and County Officials, as well as reckoning with lead me 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 early decision to cancel pre-season and regatta seasons for most canoe racing associations around the state were a result of the restrictions set forth by the individual counties. At this time, six-man canoe paddling continues to be a semi-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 2021 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 Kaʻiwi Channel crossing will be waiting, and we look forward to continuing the legacy of our races in 2022: Nā Wāhine O Ke Kai – Sept. 25, 2022 and Molokaʻi Hoe – Oct. 9, 2022.”

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