The Queen Lili’uokalani Race is the biggest outrigger canoe race in the world. It’s put on Kai ‘Opua and is a five-day, international event. It honors our Queen Lili’uokalani and takes place on the weekend of her birthday. I have been wanting to race in it since I first heard about it a few years ago.
When long distance season started, I had all intentions to do it with my club but my eye got injured, and life happened, and kids started school, and actual work started getting done, and I already missed a few practices, so I knew it wouldn’t be fair for me to come right back and try to compete for a seat with others who have been there every day. (That’s just not me to try and take something like that from someone.) Long story short, I decided not to continue with my team.
But I raced anyway. I didn’t train for 3 weeks, but I jumped in a boat and hammered. Not with my girl friends at my current club, but with two old paddling friends and their friends. Out of all the boats we could pick we got one of the oldest, clunkiest ones but we were doing good for the first hour and a half– we were near the front of the pack but… things happen. Hence, my 6 word story.
After the third pit stop, when the 30 or so boats whizzed by I think we were all over it. We probably could have finished near the top but we finished 49th out of 95 boats. 20th in our category. Bew.
Despite everything that happened, it was still a good experience and one of the best weekends we’ve had in a while. We saw old friends (love this sport!) And spent time talking story with our paddling sisters and brothers. Definitely would do it all over again, the exact same way because one: I love my two girl friends who I feel blessed to have paddled with very, very much and two: I’m a story teller and the best way to tell a story is to live it first in full, glorious, blister covered, sunburnt, muscle aching, raw, emotional color.