Written by Stephenie Brown. All photos courtesy of The World’s Toughest Row
Hanalei Bay welcomes The World’s Toughest Row through the month of July. Expanding from their Atlantic Ocean rowing races, this is the first year hosting the Pacific Challenge, a 2,800 mile, extreme endurance rowing race from Monterey, California to Hanalei Bay, Kauai. Starting on June 12th, 14 teams set off into the unknown, for an adventure of a lifetime, crossing the world’s deepest ocean, the treacherous Pacific. Teams have been challenged with rogue 20-foot waves, broken rudders and oars, sleep deprivation, and the physical and mental trials that challenge human strength and resilience.
On July 12th, the first team, Team Kiwi Fondue, a four-man team from the UK and Switzerland, arrived in Hanalei Bay. They set a new World Record with a time of 29 days, 17 hours, and 29 minutes! Not only did they win the inaugural World’s Toughest Row, but they smashed the record previously set by 14 hours and 1 minute! This tremendous achievement epitomizes the toughness of the human spirit. When asked about their experience, one rower said it was “epic to torturous to beautiful and everything in between.”
The second team to arrive in Hanalei Bay was Team Ocean Warrior, a four-man team from Denmark, arriving on July 13th. We are anticipating the arrival of the next 12 rowing teams in pairs, groups of three, four and five, as well as two all female teams, Row Aurora & Team Antigua Island Girls. Historically, only 82 people in 33 boats have successfully rowed to one of the Hawaiian islands from mainland USA.
When speaking to The World’s Toughest Race Director, Carsten, he expressed his appreciation for the local community and their support of the competition. “From the moment we set foot in Kaua’i, the overwhelming support from the local community has been nothing short of remarkable. As event organisers, we have been moved by more than the stunning natural beauty of this island. What truly touched our hearts was the earnest welcome and deep interest we received from the people. In Kaua’i, we have found an undeniable kinship with those who share our deep love for the ocean. The respect and appreciation for the life-force of our planet echos our own, and those of our rowers who make it their home during the race. One day we look forward to seeing a team from Kaua’i take up the challenge and steer their course home in our race, from Monterey, California all the way back the shores of Hanalei. We are sure it will only be a matter of time!”
The community is welcomed to join in on the welcoming events that will take place next to the Hanalei Pier. Rowing teams are expected to arrive throughout the end of July. You can find more information & live tracking information on the facebook page for The World’s Toughest Row.