Uncle Louis Kelekolio Race 2019 – Recap and Results

Aloha ā mahalo to all the paddlers and supporters who came together on Saturday, March 3rd  for the Uncle Louis Kelekolio Memorial canoe race! Under clear blue skies and on relatively calm seas, more than 75 canoes raced 6 and 10 miles to Ke‘ei and to Keawekāheka Point then back to Hōnaunau Bay. Co-sponsored by HIPA and Ola Brew, this race marks the beginning of Keōua’s 2019 paddling season and is an opportunity to line up and compete with some of the best paddlers on the island. It also brings us together to work as a team in hosting and welcoming our Moku o Keawe paddling ‘ohana to historic Hōnaunau Bay.

The post-race festivities featured nahenahe music by the Ke‘ei Mauka Boyz, honoring our recently departed Aunty Diana Aki, Marlis Tanoai, and Derek Young. Our amazing kitchen volunteers worked their legendary magic and prepared a delicious pa‘ina with kalua pig & cabbage, rice, stir-fried ‘ulu, pumpkin lu‘au soup, tofu poke, vegetarian chili, green salad, and various desserts. Our locally based Ola Brewery provided us with a keg of their refreshing IPA to wash it all down, followed by individual awards created by our friends at Stoneface Hawai‘i.

More than just an athletic event, a canoe race embodies the spirit of Aloha and Laulima, with the entire ‘ohana, young & old, helping to put it together and participating in every aspect, enlisting the kokua of friends, manning the race registration and timing, obtaining escort boats, gathering & preparing food, setting up and decorating the venue, and anything else necessary to ensure that everyone involved has a great time. We are truly blessed and grateful for all your positive energy and contributions to the perpetuation of our cultural traditions.

Mālama pono,

Keōua Hōnaunau C.C. Board of Directors

Long and short course race results are listed below

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Calvin Kelekolio’s Long Distance Race Results 2018

The 32nd Annual Calvin Kelekolio Long Distance Outrigger Race challenged men, women and mixed crews from all around the Big Island with hot and relatively flat conditions in one of the most beautiful courses in the paddling series. Results are as followed:

Women & Mixed Divisions

8 MILE COURSE – Honaunau – Napo’opo’o – Honaunau

1 Puna Boogie Kalama 1st Unlimited Women 0:59:01
2 Kai O Pua Kealailani 2nd Unlimited Women 0:59:54
3 Hui Wa’a O Waiakea Waiakea 1st Koa Mixed 1:02:53
4 Kawaihae Pelekane 1st Open Women 1:03:06
5 Kai E Hitu Nalani Momi 2nd Open Women 1:03:12
6 Keauhou Hihimanu 3rd Unlimited Women 1:05:10
7 Keoua A’lea’lea 1st Koa Women 1:05:29
8 Keaukaha Komohana 1st Open Mixed 1:05:40
9 Kawaihae Uila 3rd Open Women 1:05:46
10 Puna Kupa’a 1st Masters 40 Women 1:06:04
11 Kai O Pua Hualalai 2nd Koa Women 1:06:20
12 Puna Kahiau 4th Unlimited Women 1:06:41
13 Kai O Pua Kaholo 2nd Open Mixed 1:07:50
14 Kamehameha Kekualani 4th Open Women 1:08:03
15 Kai E Hitu Mafatu Nui 5th Unlimited Women 1:08:51
16 Keoua Kai Pahe’e 1st Junior Mixed 1:09:58
17 Kai O Pua Ale 1st Masters 50 Women 1:10:18
18 Waikoloa Kukinikai 5th Open Women 1:10:30
19 Keoua Pali Kapu O Keoua 2nd Masters 40 Women 1:11:14
20 Na Wa’a Hanakahi Hilo Paleku 3rd Open Mixed 1:12:23
21 Kai O Pua Tesoro 2nd Juniors Mixed 1:12:31
22 Kai O Pua Tesuro 6th Open Women 1:12:31
23 Kamehameha Kawohi 6th Unlimited Women 1:13:07
24 Keoua Kaahumanu 2nd Koa MIxed 1:14:06
25 Keauhou Iolana 4th Open Mixed 1:14:45
26 Puna Kapuwai 3rd Juniors Mixed 1:14:53
27 Waikoloa Keoua Ku’ahu’ula 1st Masters 60 Women 1:15:15
28 Kai O Pua Laulani 2nd Masters 60 Women 1:15:37
29 Kai O Pua Keokea 4th Juniors Mixed 1:15:39
30 Kai O Pua Keokea 3rd Masters 60 Women 1:15:39
31 Waikoloa Kanelike 3rd Masters 40 Women 1:16:32
32 Kai E Hitu Heipualani 3rd Koa Women 1:17:26
33 Waikoloa Koamalu 2nd Masters 50 Women 1:23:16
34 Keoua Lono 1st Junior Women 1:23:28
35 Na Wa’a Hanakahi Ahuku 7th Open Women 1:27:28

Men’s Division

10 MILE COURSE – Honaunau – Napo’opo’o – Keawakaheka Point – Honaunau

Place Club Canoe Name Division Time
1 Keauhou Hihimanu 1st Unlimited Men 1:18:57
2 Puna Kupa’a 1st Open Men 1:19:11
3 Keaukaha Komohana 2nd Open Men 1:20:30
4 Puna Kahiau 2nd Unlimited Men 1:22:06
5 Kai Ehitu Nalani Momi 1st Masters 40 Men 1:23:09
6 Keoua Ale’ale’a 1st Koa Men 1:23:11
7 Puna Boogie 3rd Unlimited Men 1:23:46
8 Kai Opua Ale 3rd Open Men 1:24:31
9 Kawaihae Pelekane 4th Open Men 1:25:44
10 Kai Opua Hualalai 2nd Koa Men 1:26:08
11 Kai Opua Kealailani 4th Unlimited Men 1:26:08
12 Kai Ehitu Papa Kimitete 5th Open Men 1:27:50
13 Kai Ehitu Heipualani 3rd Koa Men 1:28:06
14 Kekualani Kamehameha 6th Open Men 1:29:35
15 Kai Opua Tesoro 7th Open Men 1:30:36
16 Kai Opua Keokea 8th Open Men 1:31:01
17 Keoua Pali Kapu O Keoua 9th Open Men 1:31:01
18 Kai Ehitu Makanani 1st Masters 50 Men 1:32:59
19 Kamehameha Kawohi 5th Unlimited Men 1:33:58
20 Waikoloa Kukinikai 2nd Masters 50 Men 1:36:31
21 Keaukaha Aka Hemmings (yellow) 1st Masters 60 Men 1:37:55
22 Keauhou Iolana 2nd Masters 60 Men 1:38:16
23 Keoua Kai Pahe’e 3rd Masters 50 Men 1:38:34
24 Waikoloa Koamalu 3rd Masters 60 Men 1:39:19
25 Na Wa’a Hanakahi Ahuki’i 10th Open Men 1:39:29
26 Hui Wa’a O Waiakea Waiakea 4th Koa Men 1:43:00
27 Waikoloa Kanelike 4th Masters 60 Men 1:45:28
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31st Annual Calvin Kelekolio Long Distance Race Results

Below are the results from today’s 31st Annual Calvin Kelekolio Long Distance Canoe Race presented by Keoua Honaunau Canoe Club.

The short course was 8 miles from Honaunau into Napo’opo’o and back to Honaunau, and included the women, juniors, and mixed crews. The keiki junior division was a 4 mile race from Honaunau, past Moinui point, and back.

Keiki Course

Place Name                                 Division        Fem    Time    M/P/H

    1 Keoua/Puna Kapuwai                   Junior Mixed          1:07:56  4.416


       Place  Name                                      Time    M/P/H
Juniors 18 Male            

           1  Keoua Kuahuula                           1:11:08  6.747

 Juniors 18 Female            

           1  Keoua Kaholo                             1:28:16  5.438

 Juniors Mix            

           1  Kamehameha Lono                          1:15:19  6.373
           2  Puna Kanaloa                             1:31:38  5.238


       Place  Name                                      Time    M/P/H

 Koa Division Female            

           1  Kai'ehitu Heipualani                     1:15:54  6.324
           2  Kai'opua Kamakahonu                      1:16:44  6.255
           3  Keoua Alealea                            1:17:21  6.205
           4  Keoua Ka'ahumanu                         1:32:22  5.196

 Masters 40 Female            

           1  Kai'opua 'Ale                            1:12:38  6.608
           2  Kamehameha Kekualani                     1:16:12  6.299
           3  Waikoloa Kai Puhe'e                      1:18:22  6.125

 Masters 50 Female            

           1  Kai'opua Tesoro                          1:14:58  6.402
           2  Waikoloa Kanelike                        1:17:58  6.156

 Masters 60 Female            

           1  Kai'opua Kina'ole                        1:19:27  6.041
           2  Kai'opua Laulani                         1:19:46  6.017

 Open Female            

           1  Kai'opua Keokea                          1:07:41  7.091
           2  Kai Ehitu Nalani-Momi                    1:07:59  7.060
           3  Puna Pohoiki                             1:11:58  6.669
           4  Puna Mahealani                           1:19:26  6.042
           5  Kamehameha Kua'ana                       1:20:01  5.998

 Unlimited Female            

           1  Kai'opua Kealailani                      1:06:04  7.265
           2  Puna Boogie                              1:06:15  7.245
           3  Kamehameha Kawohi                        1:07:09  7.148
           4  Puna Kaihau                              1:09:09  6.941
           5  Keauhou Hihimanu                         1:12:48  6.593
           6  Kai Ehitu Mafatanui                      1:16:29  6.275
           7  Kai'opua Lono                            1:17:32  6.190


       Place  Name                                      Time    M/P/H

 Koa Mixed            

           1  Hui Waa Waiakea Waiakea                  1:09:14  6.933

 Open Mixed            

           1  Keoua Pali Kapu O Keoua                  1:08:49  6.975
           2  Kawaihae Waiakailio                      1:09:20  6.923
           3  Keauhou Kai Pu'eone                      1:10:01  6.855
           4  Na Waa Hanakahi Hilo One                 1:11:38  6.700
           5  Waikoloa Anaho'omalu                     1:14:03  6.482
           6  Kawaihae Pelekane                        1:15:25  6.364
           7  Na Waa Hanakahi Onomea                   1:16:17  6.292
           8  Waikoloa Kialoahou Pookela               1:17:42  6.177
           9  Kawaihae Uila                            1:18:12  6.138
          10  Hui Waa Waiakea Kamanu                   1:18:34  6.109
          11  Keaukaha Pae'a                           1:18:49  6.090
          12  Na Waa Hanakahi Ahuki'i                  1:19:07  6.066


       Place  Name                                      Time    M/P/H

 Koa Division Male            

           1  Kai Ehitu Heipualani                     1:26:44  7.609
           2  Keoua Alealea                            1:28:01  7.498
           3  Keoua Ka'ahumanu                         1:34:51  6.958

 Masters 50 Male            

           1  Waikoloa Kanelike                        1:32:37  7.126
           2  Kai'ehitu Kehaulani                      1:33:23  7.067

 Masters 60 Male            

           1  Keoua Pae'a                              1:36:02  6.872
           2  Waikoloa Anaeho'omalu                    1:48:12  6.099
           3  Keauhou Kai Pue'one                      1:50:44  5.960

 Masters 40 Male            

           1  Puna Mahealani                           1:24:09  7.843
           2  Kamehameha Kekualani                     1:31:28  7.215

 Open Male            

           1  Kai'ehitu Nalani Momi                    1:22:14  8.025
           2  Kai Ehitu Makanani                       1:28:44  7.437
           3  Kai Ehitu To'iki A Kai Ehitu             1:30:20  7.306
           4  Kai'opua Tesoro                          1:30:49  7.267
           5  Waikoloa Kialoa Kou Pookela              1:33:44  7.041
           6  Kai'opua 'ale                            1:36:17  6.854
           7  Kamehameha Kuaana                        1:38:26  6.705
           8  Laka Napuanani                           1:39:17  6.647

 Unlimited Male            

           1  Puna Boogie Kalama                       1:16:43  8.603
           2  Puna Kailau                              1:18:07  8.448
           3  Kai'ehitu Mafatu Nui                     1:24:39  7.796
           4  Kai'opua Kealailani                      1:25:14  7.743
           5  Kamehameha Kawohi                        1:27:27  7.547
           6  Kai'opua Lono                            1:30:11  7.318
           7  Keauhou Hihi Manu                        1:41:38  6.493

Then long course was over 11 miles from Honaunau, into Napo’opo’o, and out to the northern side of Kealakekua Bay, then back to Honaunau, and was paddled by men’s crews.

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Celebration in Honaunau: South Kona Cultural Center Rebuilt

West Hawaii Today, August 5, 2017

On July 30, more than 150 people gathered at Honaunau Bay for a traditional Hawaiian blessing of the newly restored Hale o Ho’oponopono. The attendees included many community volunteers who had worked on the building project, community members from the surrounding area and numerous kupuna who had been connected with the hale in the early days of its history.

The rebuilding of this significant South Kona cultural site was sponsored by the Keoua Honaunau Canoe Club and funded with a grant from the Administration for Native Americans (ANA). In addition to perpetuating the ancient art and culture of Hawaiian outrigger canoe paddling as traditionally practiced on historic Honaunau Bay, the canoe club seeks to promote awareness of Hawaiian culture and its preservation and perpetuation.Their youth program seeks especially to assure that the cultural knowledge is passed on to those who will preserve it for the future.

The Hale o Ho’oponopono, which translates to “house of making things right, bringing things into balance, healing” was constructed in the mid-1970s as part of the creation of a school of the same name.

The school had been established to fill the need of many Hawaiian children who had a difficult time relating to the education process as presented by the local public schools.

The students went fishing and opihi, or Hawaiian limpet, picking and were taught canoe maintenance, paddling and stewardship principles, along with a Hawaiian language curriculum.

The school’s traditional hale halawai, built by school staff and students, served as the center for many of these activities, which had a significant positive impact on the lives of many young Hawaiians coming of age in the 1970s.

 The building project has been a long time coming, noted Rafael Ramirez, a member of Keoua Honaunau Canoe Club for 42 years and its current president and head coach. The school at Honaunau Bay closed in 1995 and the hale gradually fell into disrepair. The concept of rebuilding the hale had been discussed at the canoe club for more than 20 years, and when a grant application written by a club member was approved by ANA in 2015, the long-awaited project could finally begin.

The process of rebuilding the hale was accomplished over a two-year period with a small core team of experienced and new hale builder haumana — interns — assisted by a cadre of community volunteers who participated in the seven hale building workshops that took place over the course of the project.

The hale building process was led by one of the most experienced practitioners in the state, master hale builder Walter Wong. Uncle Waltah, as he is known, orchestrated the project from start to finish, which was built according to Hawaii County’s building code for traditional and indigenous structures.

Puna Kihoi, who officiated the hale blessing, was a teacher at Hale o Hooponopono in the 1980s. One of the hale builder haumana, Randal Kahele, was one of her students at the school and their reunion at the blessing ceremony was an emotional reconnection for both.

The hale will be used for educational and ceremonial purposes and will serve to strengthen the cultural landscape of Honaunau Bay ­— a visible, enduring reminder of the significant and sacred nature of this place.

Info: email contact@keouacanoeclub.com.

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Hale o Ho’oponopono Blessing – Sunday, July 30th

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Hale Building Workshop – March 11 2017

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2017 Season Practice Begins Monday March 6

Aloha mai kakou!

The 2017 paddling season is about to begin and Keōua Hōnaunau Canoe Club welcomes new and returning paddlers of all ages to our orientation week, Monday, February 27th – Thursday, March 2nd   at 4 p.m. Outrigger canoeing is a family-oriented sport, a great way to get in shape, make friends, and learn about the culture and traditions of Hawai’i. It also teaches us respect for the ocean and our marine environment.

We’ll be providing an introduction to paddling for newcomers, collecting registration & waiver forms for everyone, as well as dues. Regular practices will begin on Monday, March 6th at 3:45 p.m. for our youth, 4:45 p.m. for adults, Monday through Thursday.

On Saturday, March 4th , Keōua is sponsoring our Louis Kelekolio Memorial OC-1 Race so we invite everyone to come participate by racing and/or helping out with registration, timing, food preparation and decoration. This year, the race is dedicated to the late John B. Greenbush, board member & historian, passionate paddler and strong supporter of our youth program.

We look forward to seeing old friends and new faces as we prepare for an event-packed season of friendly competition and camaraderie. See you in Hōnaunau Bay!

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Haumana- Job description

Keōua is actively recruiting  haumana for our Hale o Ho’oponopono restoration project. This is an opportunity for our local youth to learn hale building skills through hands-on experience under the supervision of Uncle Walter Wong, certified traditional hale builder. We are looking for applicants with the desire to perpetuate the knowledge of building Hawaiian hale and entering an exciting new career pathway.

Microsoft Word - Job description-Haumana-2016-17.doc

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Calvin Kelekolio’s Long Distance Race Results 2016

The 30th Annual Calvin Kelekolio Long Distance Outrigger Race challenged men, women and mixed crews from all around the Big Island with hot and relatively flat conditions in one of the most beautiful courses in the paddling series. Results are as followed:

Junior’s Race (12-15)

2.5 MILE COURSE – Honaunau – Moinui Point – Honaunau

1 0:21:43 KEOUA in KAPUWAI 1st Mixed Juniors 12-15
Crew: Jesse Duarte-Mahi, Dylan Green, Makayla Green, Ataivai Faleofa, Kehaulani Faleofa, Kaniala Barboza
2 0:22:07 LAKA in KEAALI’IKANE 1st Girls 12-15
Crew: Tia Kuali’i, Anela Mikaele, Ihilani Mamau, Aloha Karratti, Kau’imakalani Pakani-Tsukiyama
3 0:22:40 KAI OPUA in KAWEHIONAPUAOKALANI 2nd Girls 12-15
4 0:23:52 PUNA in MAHEALANI 2nd Mixed Juniuors 12-15

Men’s Division

10 MILE COURSE – Honaunau – Kealakekua Bay – Honaunau

1 1:10:11 PUNA in KAIAU 1st Unlimited Open Men
Crew: Jeremy Padayo, Kili Wakana, Koa Suera-Lee, Chance Nicholas, Lloyd, JB
2 1:10:59 PUNA in BOOGIE KALAMA 2nd Unlimited Open Men
3 1:12:30 KAI OPUA in TESORO 1st Non-Koa Open Men
Crew: Trey Cox, Puni Freitas, Chevist Conte, Kekoa Kam,  Salesi Apina, Mike Fields
4 1:12:47 KEAUKAHA in MAKAWALU 3d Unlimited Open Men
5 1:13:48 KAI EHITU in NALANI MOMI 2nd Non-Koa Open Men
6 1:13:55 KAMEHAMEHA in KAUOHI 4th Unlimited Open Men
7 1:14:11 KEAUHOU in AUKU’U 1st Non-Koa 40+ Men
Crew: Ian Foo, Ivan McIvor, Hunter Anderson, Daniel Legler, Theron Ogata, Bruce Ayau
8 1:17:15 PUNA in POHOIKI 1st Non-Koa 50+ Men
Crew: Louie Mendonca, Kevin Thompson, Troy Parker-Bailey, Terry Andrade, Dave Okita, Afa Tuaolo
9 1:18:13 KEAUKAHA in KAHOHANA 2nd Non-Koa 40+ Men
10 1:19:13 KAI EHITU in HEIPUALANI 1st Koa Open Men
Crew: Tawai Marquardt, Koa Galdones, Lorin Sellers, Kekoa Napihaa, Aaron Nahina, Kahookahi Kanuha
11 1:19:36 KAI EHITU in MAFATU NUI 5th UnlimitedOpen Men
12 1:20:30 KAI OPUA in LONO 6th Unlimited Open Men
13 1:20:50 KEOUA in ALEA’LEA 2nd Koa Open Men
14 1:21:01 KAI EHITU in KAWEHIONAPUAOKALANI 2nd Non-Koa 50+ Men
15 1:22:02 KAI OPUA in ‘ALE 3rd Non-Koa Open Men
16 1:23:32 KEOUA in IOLANI 7th Unlimited Open Men
17 1:24:25 PUNA in MAHEALANI 4th Non-Koa Open Men
18 1:27:59 KAI EHITU in PAPA KIMITETE 5th Non-Koa Open Men
19 1:30:22 HUI WA’A O WAIAKEA in WAIAKEA 3rd Koa Open Men
20 1:32:13 LAKA in KEALIIKANE 6th Non-Koa Open Men
21 1:33:32 KAWAIHAE in PELEKANE 3rd Non-Koa 50+ Men
22 1:34:55 KEAUKAHA in KEKUALANI 4th Non-Koa 50+ Men
23 1:37:37 KEOUA in PALIKAPU O KEOUA 1st Non-Koa 60+ Men
Crew: Rafael Ramirez, Al Larosa, Malama Lama, Peter Bacot, Dennis Weskott, Marvin Feldman
DNF no time KAMEHAMEHA in LONO Damaged Equipment

Women & Mixed Divisions

8 MILE COURSE – Honaunau – Kealakekua Bay – Honaunau

1 1:00:17 PUNA in KAIAU 1st Unlimited Open Women
Crew: Jolene Hughes, Sheila Cadaoas, Bev Tuaolo, Jen Tanner, Miri Sumida, Kim Kimi
2 1:00:49 KAI OPUA in ‘ALE 1st Non-Koa Open Women
Crew: Noel Lorenzo, Kristin Old, Lorelei Nakagawa, Maile Leslie, Jessie Krause, Leimana Spencer
3 1:00:12 KAMEHAMEHA in KAWOHI 2nd Unlimited Open Women
4 1:01:38 KAI OPUA in KEOKEA 1st Non-Koa 40+ Women
Crew: Rebecca Lussiaa, Tiapepe Ulufaleilupe, Tina Flower, Tasha Aipa, Melanie Kelekolio, Nicki Lacey-Enos
5 1:02:00 KAWAIHAE in PELEKANE 2nd Non-Koa Open Women
6 1:02:04 KAI OPUA in LONO 3rd Unlimited Open Women
7 1:02:07 PUNA in BOOGIE KALAMA 4th Unlimited Open Women
8 1:02:44 KAI EHITU in NALANI MOMI 3rd Non-Koa Open Women
9 1:03:06 KAWAIHAE in WAIAKAILIO 1st Non-Koa Open Mixed
10 1:03:45 HUI WA’A O WAIAKEA in WAIAKEA 1st Koa Open Mixed
Crew: Erica Talbert, Lisamarie Nance, Wally Wong, Andrew Salvador, Sierra Tanoai, Ira Kekaualua
11 1:04:34 KEOUA in KA’AHUMANU 1st Koa Open Women
Crew: Mikilani Van Osdol, Kelli Yamauchi, Jene Green, Mina Elison, Carol Farkas, Brittany Caporrimo
12 1:05:43 KEAUHOU in AUKU’U 2nd Non-Koa Open Mixed
13 1:05:57 KEOUA in ‘ALE’ALE’A 2nd Koa Open Mixed
14 1:06:14 KAI OPUA in PALI KAPU O KEOUA 3rd Non-Koa Open Mixed
15 1:06:34 KEAUHOU in MALIA KINI 4th Non-Koa Open Women
16 1:07:19 KAI OPUA in LAULANI 1st Non-Koa 50+ Women
17 1:08:02 KAMEHAMEHA in TUAHINE 5th Non-Koa Open Women
18 1:08:15 KAI EHITU in HEIPUALANI 3rd Open Koa Mixed
19 1:08:33 KAI OPUA in HUALALAI 2nd Open Koa Women
20 1:08:45 KAI EHITU in MAFATU NUI 5th Unlimited Open Women
21 1:09:07 MILOLI’I in KAI PAHE’E 4th Open Non-Koa Mixed
22 1:09:21 KAMEHAMEHA in KEKUALANI 2nd Non-Koa 50+ Women
23 1:09:27 KEAUHOU in KAI PU’EONE 1st Non-Koa 60+ Women
Crew: Sandy Sater, Peggy Anderson, Diana Temple, Lonny Higgins, Marianne Starr, Kim Schneider
24 1:10:11 KEOUA in IOLANI 5th Unlimited Open Women
25 1:10:48 KEAUHOU in IOLANA 3rd Non-Koa 50+ Women
26 1:10:55 PUNA in POHOIKI 6th Non-Koa Open Women
27 1:12:27 KAI OPUA in TESORO 2nd Non-Koa 60+ Women
28 1:14:44 KEAUKAHA in LONO KAIOLOHIA 4th Non-Koa 50+ Women
29 1:21:36 WAIKOLOA in KEOUA ELUA 3rd Non-Koa 60+ Women
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Keoua’s November To Remember, 1990



By: Rafael Ramírez

January 1991, Kealakekua, Hawai’i

As the 1990 paddling year comes to an end, Keoua’s paddlers busily make plans to fight off the boredom following the October Turnover* in the Molokai Hoe Channel Race. We decide to reclaim the South Kona coast as ours, by undertaking a three-day paddling and camping expedition. We will launch our double-hulled canoe at Ka Lae, South Point on the Big Island and proceed northward to our home waters at Honaunau. After much discussion and input, the details begin to fall into place.

* During the Molokai Hoe in October, our escort boat, the Chop Suey Girl, belonging to Uncle Moses Kalilikane of Molokai, capsized in 10-foot seas nearing Portlock and was towed to Oahu. Most of our gear was lost at sea but our three alternates, support crew and our race official were picked up by a Coast Guard Auxiliary boat and taken to Waikiki, where they joined us several hours later. We paddled without changes for the final 2 ½ hours of the race.


We will paddle from Ka Lae to Kaupua’a, the green sand beach at Road to the Sea, and camp overnight. A support crew will meet us there with camping gear, food, drink, etc. On the second day, we will paddle to Honomalino and camp again with the aid of our support crew. Finally, on the third day, we will reach Honaunau and celebrate our journey.


On Thursday, November 15, we’ll trailer our canoes and surfskis to South Point, camp overnight and get an early start on Friday, November 16, for the first leg of our trip. We plan to arrive in Honaunau on Sunday, November 18, 1990.


We’ve decided to take Kanaloa and Keoua Elua, two of our fiberglass canoes, rigged together, as well as two surfskis and a surfboard lashed to the canoes. Everyone will bring free-diving gear, spears, and food/water for each leg of the trip. The support crew will transport the camping gear, main food & water supply, and anything that we can’t carry in the canoes, from one campsite to another. We’ll also take fishing rods for trolling along the way, a cross net, and cameras to document the journey. I decide to also bring a small, folding anchor and 60 feet of nylon rope, just in case…!


As the departure date draws near, we have about ten paddlers committed, some tentatively due to jobs, family obligations, etc. Finally, on the afternoon of November 15th, the canoes and surfskis are loaded on the trailer and transported to South Point to set up our first campsite, before embarking on our expedition the following morning. I will join them before daybreak on the 16th. In command of our crew is Kurtis Yamauchi, the head coach; the rest of the paddlers are Kawika “Running Bare” Spaulding, Dave Kermott, Steve Caverly, Big John Emrick, Iron James Goodman, Princess Diana Wolking, Danny Mack, Sam Fry, and Wild Bill Kinney, who joins us at the end of the first day’s paddle. The support crew consists of Katharine Howard and Luanne Trevina, who’ll transport our camping gear, food & water supplies, from one campsite to the next, as well as prepare the meals, a most important component of our trip.

IN THE BEGINNING- Friday, November 16th, 1990

There was heavy rain and wind as I approached South Point early in the pre-dawn darkness. I left home at 4 AM and reached the campsite near the Ka’u boat ramp at 5:30 AM. As I drove up, my headlights revealed a nomad like assortment of plastic tarps flapping in the cold wind, dome tents, and several half-awake heads peering from their sleeping bags. It had been a hard day’s night with plenty of wind-driven rain but by all accounts, an excellent dinner which made up for the discomfort.

As daybreak slowly approached, we exchanged greetings, lit the stove and started a pot of Kona coffee as well as oatmeal. One by one, our crew came out of their nests and began preparing for the long day ahead. After some coffee and oatmeal, we held a safety meeting and began breaking camp, moving the canoes to the boat ramp in order to rig them. Katharine loaded up all our camping gear and left since she had to go to work that day. She would meet us in late afternoon with Luanne and Wild Bill at Kaupua’a-Road to the Sea. We proceed to rig the canoes, load up all our gear and surf skis, as well as Danny’s surfboard, and by 7:30 AM, we’re ready to go!

Looking out to sea, there are whitecaps and a steady swell breaking just outside the small cove at Ka’u. After taking some photos and carrying the canoes down the slippery ramp, we each take our seats, grab our paddles and wait for the signal to begin from Kurtis. I say a silent prayer: “May no harm or danger befall upon us…” We see only one fishing boat out at sea and it looks like it’s on a roller coaster. It’s now 7:40 AM

“Paddles up… Huki!

Our canoe glides forward and meets a breaker head on; I up the stroke, we cut through a few more breakers and turn right, heading for the point. We slowly warm up as we paddle steadily towards Ka Lae and round the point. The canoe is moving smoothly through moderate though windy seas and in 35 minutes we have reached the cliffs at Kahuku and are out of the wind. We have made it past what we thought would be the hardest part of the journey so we stop to rest, hold a safety meeting and gaze at the beauty around us. The water is calm and crystal-clear and we see a honu taking a peek at us. On our way to the cliffs, we’ve also seen several large kaku- barracuda speeding on top of the water. These, we feel, are good luck signs.

Everyone is feeling great; Kurtis pulls out his fishing rods and prepares to troll when we resume paddling. However, one rod falls in the water and several paddlers jump in to retrieve it. After several dives, we realize that the bottom is almost 50 feet below us. We also begin to drift and lose sight of the rod. I don my mask, snorkel and fins, then jump in to look for it. Soon, one of the boys spots the pole and I swim to the canoe to get my anchor and rope. After several attempts to snag it with the anchor, the pole slowly comes up from the bottom; one of the divers meets it halfway and retrieves it. We laugh and celebrate our good fortune so far. We’d thought the anchor was extra weight on the trip!

We resume paddling and ten minutes later, hook up! Kurtis has a fish on the line and we stop paddling while he fights the fish. The pole is bent double as we maneuver the canoe towards open ocean to prevent the fish from diving for the bottom and snagging or breaking the line on the rough coral. After a 15-minute struggle, we see the leader coming up; Steve grabs it and the ulua comes alongside the canoe then lands inside. It looks like a 20 pounder! We take photos and celebrate again.

With our spirits high, the paddling seems easier, we’re making steady progress northward; we look around at the shoreline and the distant silhouette of Mauna Loa with its long black lava flows cascading down to meet the sea. They look like superhighways to the sky. The wind is picking up again and some water is coming in from time to time, as we head for the point north of the big cinder cone, Pu’u Ki, near Keliuli Bay. We paddle into a strong current with the wind at our backs, bailing sporadically. The waves are getting bigger and more water is coming in over the gunwales. We’re now bailing in earnest as we paddle, knowing that swamping could spell disaster and the end of our trip!

A big wave comes in and I feel the water level rising in the front of the canoe; Dave Kermott and I are stroking and we both yell, “bail water”. Another wave comes in and we jump out of the canoes to lighten the load. I check my watch; it’s 10:40 AM and the sky is hazy but with few clouds. We count heads to make sure everyone is OK and transfer all our gear from Kanaloa to Keoua Elua. While some of us try to bail out Kanaloa, the rest are gathering loose gear floating past us and holding on to the canoe hulls.

I see Diana with an armful of paddles, trying to swim to the canoe, so I send Danny after her with his surfboard. He collects the paddles and returns to the canoe. Meanwhile, Diana is swimming towards the canoe, but the current is making it difficult and she’s falling behind. By this time, we’re paddling and bailing, headed towards the nearest point, making almost no headway into the current. I am now steering Keoua Elua from the front seat, with Kanaloa on my left, full of water. There are three people in the canoe with me, paddling and bailing when necessary. We know that Keoua Elua must stay afloat if we want to make it to shore. I keep looking back for Diana; she still hasn’t reached the canoe. I ask if she’s OK but get no answer. Finally, Danny goes after her in the surfboard and brings her back. What a relief! Now, we can look forward and concentrate on getting to safety; we’re all working together, pushing and pulling the canoes, taking turns paddling and bailing.

After an hour of this, we spot a small Cessna flying overhead and wave our paddles. The pilot acknowledges us circling once and a dip of his wings. We are not alone now; he will radio for help. Soon, we see a trawler on the western horizon but it keeps going south; no help there! Another hour goes by and in the distance, we see a red & yellow chopper flying south following the highway. It turns and heads out to sea in our direction; finally, we think, help is on the way! The Fire & Rescue chopper swoops down and hovers above us, counting heads and assessing the situation. Dave is now on his surfski but they tell him not to wander away from the canoe; they want us to stay together for our own safety. A diver drops out of the chopper and swims to our canoe, asks if we’re OK. He tells us that a rescue boat has been launched from Keauhou but will take at least three hours to reach us. He suggests that we be taken ashore in the chopper, leaving two paddlers with the canoe. We assure him that we can make it, so he takes Diana aloft in a basket and drops her off on shore. The chopper then lands atop the cliffs and stands by while we continue to paddle towards Keliuli Bay and calmer waters. We seemed to be making no progress until the last 500 yards, when the current must have shifted and we finally reached a small shallow cove, out of the wind and current.

In minutes, we were able to bail the water out of Kanaloa and reinforce the rigging, which had come loose due to the stress and buffeting of the wind and current. We redistributed our gear in the two hulls and were ready to continue to the nearest beach so we could land the canoes and rest our tired arms. We’d been paddling and swimming for more than three hours without rest and the closest beach was still a mile away at Pohue Bay. The chopper agreed to meet us there, making sure that we were all safe. With Dave and Steve in their surf skis, we paddled on to Pohue Bay and landed for the first time since our departure at 7:40 AM. It was now after 2:00PM.

The beach at Pohue was a beautiful white sand beach with a small cabin belonging to Kahuku Ranch. We saw several honu in the water and a short exploration revealed an empty turtle nest with broken eggshells, near a crevice in the rocks. The chopper radioed the rescue boat to turn back, since we were confident that we could make it unassisted the last two miles to our campsite at the green sand beach near Road to the Sea. We were alone again but feeling strong and exuberant after our ordeal. We regrouped at the cabin, held a safety meeting, took some photos and prepared to paddle the 2 ½ miles to our campsite, where Katharine and Luanne would meet us with food and shelter.

With the two surfskis leading the way, we leave Pohue with eight paddlers in the canoe. The wind and waves pick up again but the canoe is handling a lot better it seems, without the extra weight. However, water is still coming in from time to time, so we bail constantly to make sure we don’t swamp again. In less than a half hour, we approach the green sand beach at Kaupua’a, where Dave and Steve land their surf skis and guide us in. I steer the canoe into the beach and we all jump out and pull it up on the sand.

The beach is so narrow that the bows of the two hulls are still in the water. We realize that with the pounding surf, we can’t leave them on the beach overnight. After some discussion, we unrig the canoes and carry each one to higher ground about 50 yards away, over an embankment, and onto the old coastline trail. Now it’s time to find a place out of the wind to set up camp and wait for our support crew. It’s now 4:00 PM and it has started to rain.

We reach a spot behind some rocks and huddle together for warmth, waiting for Katharine and Luanne. Kawika and a few others go exploring and come back, telling us that there’s a better, more sheltered place to set up camp. We pick up all our gear and move, only to return to our original site within minutes. It was much windier at the other spot, so we settle down, shivering until Luanne arrived at 4:30 PM. When her Wagoneer drove up, we all converged on the hood and hugged it for warmth; what a feeling! We showered Luanne with kisses and started telling her our story, while we pitched our tents and set up the stove, started a fire, etc.

A short while later, Katharine drove up with Wild Bill, the rest of our gear, and the food! Russ “the Doc” Reese had brought back some fresh moose meat from Wyoming and that would be part of our dinner that night, moose steaks! We also had a cooler full of Steinlagers so we held a safety meeting that lasted well into the night. With the wind blowing steadily all night, we had to decide whether it’d be safe to continue as planned the next day, or an alternative plan. We agreed to wait till morning to see how the weather and ocean looked. If it were too rough, we’d bring the trailer down and take the canoes to Miloli’i, where we’d camp that night to resume the final leg on Sunday. With that settled, we sat down to a hearty meal which included the ‘ulua that Kurtis had caught much earlier that day. Before long, everyone was cuddled up in their tents or sleeping bags, resting sore muscles and awaiting the next day.

SATURDAY MORNING, November 17, 1990

After a cold, windy night (but no rain), we wake up one by one and prepare breakfast. Looking out to sea, there are white caps everywhere and the waves seem bigger than the previous day. The small green sand beach where we landed yesterday is shimmering in the early morning light. Another honu surfaces and looks at us curiously, then dives in the clear blue water. I feel sore from sleeping on the ground and have a slight headache, probably from the beers the night before!

We discuss our options for the day and decide to trailer the canoes out of there and take them to Miloli’i. Danny and Luanne leave to get the trailer in Honaunau, while Katharine has to go to work. I catch a ride with her to Ka’u, where I left my car. I planned to meet the gang at Miloli’i but on the way there, it starts pouring rain and I have no wipers. My brakes are shot too, so the descent to Miloli’i would be dangerous, so I choose to go home and come back with my truck. When I get home, the truck is gone so I lie down to watch TV and fall asleep. I awake that evening, rested and ready to go but decide to leave early in the morning and rejoin the crew at Miloli’i before 7 AM. On Sunday morning, I head for Miloli’i at 6 AM; it has rained non-stop all night and the radio reports flooding on all roads island-wide. As I approach Miloli’i Road, I see Kurtis and Luanne’s trucks headed back to Kona. Halfway down to Miloli’i, I see the canoe out at sea already. Although it’s raining steadily, the ocean looks calm. I turn around and drive to the ‘ili’ili beach at Kaohe, hoping to intercept the canoes when they go by there.

After waiting for half an hour, the canoes come into view and I wave to them. Dave is on his surfski, closest to shore, but he doesn’t see or hear me. They continue on their way to Honaunau so I drive home to sit back and watch the Forty-Niners-Buccaneers game, capping a perfect Keoua weekend!

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