Planet Haolewood

A toolbox, a change of underwear, and a surfboard.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Stunning Upset at State Canoe Race

The Hawaii Canoe Racing Association holds its annual championship regatta every other year on the island of Oahu. The other years the race alternates between one of the three “neighbor islands:” Maui, The Big Island and Kauai. Expert mathematicians have concluded that means it comes to Kauai once every seven years. On Kauai it is held in Hanalei Bay which has a great beach and excellent conditions for racing at that time of year. It just so happens that 2007 was the year the championship came to Hanalei and I live 10 minutes away.

An especially fortuitous turn of events since I have recently taken up outrigger canoe racing with the Hanalei Canoe Club. In order to qualify for the state regatta, my six-man team of first year paddlers had to win our race against other first year paddlers from all over Kauai. We didn’t. However, through a series of events I don’t fully understand we ended up competing in the championship anyway.

The 100-year-old Koa wood boat was lowered from the racks where it stays the rest of the year and entrusted to our humble group. (In the state championship, all canoes must be Koa, a more traditional material than the fiberglass most boats are made from.) Thousands of paddlers from around the state converged on Hanalei. Roads were blocked and parking restricted but when I showed my Hanalei Canoe Club parking pass to a police officer he told me to “go right on through, cuz.”

It was a close race and it was hard to tell how we did from lane 14. Later I heard that we came in 11th place. I had expected to finish dead last so I’d say we did pretty well.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Photo from the Archives

When I was a kid people used to tell me I looked like Mick Jagger. It seemed that my lips had grown to full adult size before the rest of my body had. Happily, a better balance was eventually attained.