Summertime in Paradise! | Labor Day on the Big Island

Despite the recent return to school traffic, it is still summertime in paradise! This means long, warm days, lingering sunsets, and a little more time to fit in those warm-weather activities. Ocean activities are a favorite at this time of year as a way to stay cool for both visitors and residents alike. Consider soaking up the last of these gorgeous August days with some sunbathing, snorkeling, fishing, surfing, or even a local favorite, outrigger canoe paddling!

Paddlers carrying a canoe to the water

Paddlers in Honaunau Bay

Queen Lili’uokalani Outrigger Canoe Races

While it may a more adventurous activity, outrigger canoe paddling is a great sport that incorporates competition, fun, and culture. Racing season is currently in full swing and a must-see event to put on your calendar is the Queen Lili’uokalani Outrigger Canoe Races. This five-day event takes place over Labor Day weekend, Thursday, August 29, 2019 to Monday, September 2, 2019.

Even if you know nothing about paddling, the spectacle offers something for everyone and is sure to entertain! There will be a torchlight parade, arts, and craft fairs, food booths, cultural fair and historic Kailua village cultural walk, demonstrations and, of course, four days of intense competition.

Moku State Championships

The main event on Saturday is the 18-mile race from Kailua Kona to Honaunau Bay. This strenuous race attracts athletes from all over the world and all walks of life, united by a common love of paddling. Canoes range from the modern lightweight unlimited boats, to the more standard fiberglass boats, to the gorgeous traditional Koa-wood boats. Imagine a start line with over 100 canoes lined up! It is a sight you won’t soon forget.

Unbeatable scenery

Rough racing conditions

Open ocean racing

Outrigger Canoe Club

Did you know that Hawaii’s oldest canoe club was established more than 100 years ago? Outrigger Canoe Club was established in 1908 and is still going strong today. For those interested in learning more, there are some excellent resources, including the Polynesian Voyaging Society, Hawaiian Paddle Sports, and Queen Lili’uokalani Canoe Race websites.

A colorful lineup

Happy Labor Day and, as the paddlers say, see you on the water!

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