The tradewinds, although light, stuck around long enough for the 40th annual Na Wahine O Ke Kai Molokai to Oahu women’s outrigger canoe race on Sunday, and a familiar name came in first.
It came down to the end, but team Bradley from Maui held off to win their third consecutive race.
“It was a battle for sure,” said team Bradley coach Kelly Fey. “For the first couple hours, we were with Maui Jim and we split off north and a lot of the pack went south,” she said.
Bradley finishing 61 seconds before Outrigger Canoe Club, followed by Maui Jim Wahine in third, Lanikai Canoe Club in fourth and Kawaihae – Team Mauna Kea rounding off the top 5.
“Today was just an awesome way to end our season,” said Bradley stearsman Lori Nakamura. “It was a close race, I told myself ‘don’t look back’ and never did.”
Hawaiian Canoe Club Juniors finished first for the fairly new division. Overall, they finished the race in the top 20.
Twins Olivia and Rose Delaney, 17, were overjoyed with not just coming in first for the juniors, but completing their first Molokai to Oahu race.
“[This is the] best experience we’ve ever had in our life,” the sisters said. “[We’re] super fortunate to be out here and give our all and tackle that one speed and it’s the greatest thing we’ve done in our lives.”
The 41-mile race started with a dream more than 50 years ago when a group of women were told they couldn’t cross the Ka Iwi channel on their own. Today, women proving they and future generations can.
“My mom was one of the first to cross the channel,” Nakamura said. “To be here doing it 40 years later, and watching all the kids and them running around knowing that soon maybe they’ll be doing this maybe 20 years from now.”