Hawaiian Airlines Named Title Sponsor of World Championship Outrigger Canoe Races: Nā Wahine O Ke Kai and Moloka‘i Hoe

HONOLULU—June 30, 2014—Hawaiian Airlines today announced that it will for the first time become the title sponsor of the 2014 to 2015 women’s Hawaiian Airlines Nā Wahine O Ke Kai, produced by the Nā Wahine O Ke Kai  Race Committee, and the men’s Hawaiian Airlines Moloka‘i Hoe, produced by the O‘ahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association (OHCRA). Widely considered the world championships of the traditional Hawaiian sport of outrigger canoeing, these long distance races from Moloka‘i to O‘ahu—across the treacherous Ka‘iwi Channel—will take place on Sept. 21 and Oct. 12, 2014, respectively.


Outrigger canoeing is steeped in Polynesian culture and tradition, challenging the mental and physical prowess of athletes as they navigate the extreme elements of the open ocean as a team. It is a widespread sport in Hawai‘i and the Pacific Islands that has been embraced by competitors around the world, from the U.S., Canada and Australia to Germany, Japan, and Russia.


“We are honored to be the title sponsor of Hawai‘i’s leading women’s and men’s outrigger endurance races from Moloka‘i to O‘ahu,” said Kevin Yim, senior director - global marketing communications for Hawaiian Airlines. “These are the crown jewels of the international outrigger racing circuit, bringing teams from around the world together in Hawai‘i to celebrate our island culture in these two pinnacle races.”

Nā Wahine O Ke Kai  (The Women of the Sea) was founded in February of 1979. The canoe race has flourished through the years, attracting crews from all over the world because of the tireless efforts of race supporters, volunteers, and paddlers. Through their endurance, devotion and sportsmanship they have helped to perpetuate Hawai‘i’s cultural heritage.

“Our love for this race is deep, because it represents the power and potential of women,” said Hannie Anderson, race director and co-founder of Nā Wahine O Ke Kai. “To put this race on year after year, for a total of 36 times, is a tremendous team effort by the entire race committee. We set out to create a movement for the sport of women’s paddling and we did it. This race and the women who come back every year to participate are a testament to that.” 

Anderson continued: “Nā Wahine O Ke Kai  is proud to partner with Hawaiian Airlines for the 36th annual crossing of the Ka‘iwi Channel. It is truly an honor to have Hawai‘i’s premier airline as the main sponsor of this prestigious and historic race. This sponsorship will take this event to a new level, and we are hopeful that this is the beginning of a long partnership.”


The Hawaiian Airlines Moloka‘i Hoe has become one of the longest running annual team sporting events in Hawai‘i. Each year, more than 1,000 paddlers from around the world compete in the Moloka‘i Hoe, the men’s world championship in outrigger canoe racing.


“Mahalo to Hawaiian Airlines for becoming Molokai Hoe’s title sponsor,” said Luana Froiseth, president of OHCRA. “Our legacy of perpetuating the sport of Hawaiian canoe racing has finally come full circle. We are very proud of our partnership with Hawaiian. To all the paddlers who have paddled in past Moloka‘i Hoe races, we have earned this right to say Hawaiian Airlines Moloka‘i Hoe is the world’s long distance canoe race championship. To all our sponsors and supporters throughout the years, a big mahalo.”

Earlier this year,
Hawaiian Airlines was also a third-year title sponsor of the 18th annual Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge race hosted by New York Outrigger (NYO) on the Hudson River, as well as the inaugural Hawaiian Airlines Sydney Harbour Challenge, the first international outrigger canoe race on Sydney Harbor, hosted by the Australian Outrigger Canoe Racing Association (AOCRA). Both events attracted men’s, women’s and mixed teams from around the world to compete, paddling en masse past iconic sights like the Statue of Liberty and the Sydney Opera House and elevating global competition in team outrigger racing.

The team winners of the Open Men’s and Open Women’s Divisions in these respective races have won complimentary round-trip tickets on Hawaiian Airlines and an entry for their crew members to compete in Hawai‘i’s elite championship races, the Hawaiian Airlines Moloka‘i Hoe or Hawaiian Airlines Nā Wahine O Ke Kai :   

Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge Open Division Winners:

  • Women’s: WCC Women from Washington Canoe Club in Washington, D.C.
  • Men’s: PDBA Team Independence from Philadelphia Dragon Boat Association in Philadelphia


Hawaiian Airlines Sydney Harbour Challenge Open Winners:

  • Men’s: Cronulla Outrigger Canoe Club, Australia
  • Women’s: Northern Beaches Outrigger Canoe Club, Australia

The Hawaiian Airlines Nā Wahine O Ke Kai  on Sept. 21 will consist of Juniors; Open; Masters 40; and Sr. Masters 50 and 55 divisions. The Hawaiian Airlines Moloka‘i Hoe on Oct. 12 features Juniors; Open; and Masters 40, 50, 55 and 60 divisions. Both events will be a 41-mile race beginning at 8:00 a.m. HST from Hale ‘O Lono Harbor on the island of Moloka‘i and finishing at Duke Kahanamoku Beach at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort on the island of O‘ahu.


About Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian® has led all U.S. carriers in on-time performance for each of the past 10 years (2004-2013) as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Consumer surveys by Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and Zagat have all ranked Hawaiian the highest of all domestic airlines serving Hawai‘i.


Now in its 85th year of continuous service, Hawaiian is Hawai‘i’s biggest and longest-serving airline, as well as the largest provider of passenger air service from its primary visitor markets on the U.S. mainland. Hawaiian offers non-stop service to Hawai‘i from more U.S. gateway cities (11) than any other airline, along with service from Japan, South Korea, China, Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa and Tahiti. Hawaiian also provides approximately 160 jet flights daily between the Hawaiian Islands, with a total of more than 200 daily flights system-wide.


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