This September I was slated to attend The Queen Liliuokalani Race (the Queen’s race) to work in the KIALOA booth. I had no intentions of racing. However, a woman named Annie McEveety Allen stroked the Napali race I had just done the month before and she was going to be in Kona. She said, “Come on – let’s do Kona”. So two weeks before the race, we called up friends and we put a masters crew together and decided to race Iron in a Koa canoe.
Annie – what a go getter. I arrived in Kona on Wednesday night and on Thursday I was at the airport picking up two employees when Annie called. She said, “Can you get down to the pier in the next hour to race in the 4 man race? I already registered you.” I told her, “Yep, I can make it but I’m wearing a dress.” Now here is where I have to plug Title Nine – a women’s clothing line. I was wearing one of their dresses and they had a marketing campaign this summer called “Do It in a Dress”. That cracked me up. Anyhow, I get down to the pier to learn that this race entails a mandatory huli – a flipping of the canoe. “Hmmmm….interesting. Guess I”ll be doing that in this dress too.”
On Saturday we raced iron for 18 miles in a koa canoe that was loaned to us by Kai Opua Canoe Club. It was rigged, had padded seats and was sitting on the beach waiting for us. We can’t thank them enough! We took off from the line and never looked back. It was hot as hades and really challenging both mentally and physical due to the extreme heat and humidity. But we managed to pull off a First Place with our Masters crew in the Koa division.
Come Monday, I got to race again in the Ali’I Challenge with my home away from home Kailua Canoe Club. This is where my husband Dave and I learned to paddle 30 years ago. This is where we still have many deep bonds, many life long relationships. This is where KIALOA was born – through our love of outrigger paddling. Kailua Canoe Club will forever be in our hearts and racing with them in the Ali’i Challenge was one of the more fulfilling things I have done.
All in all, what a great summer of racing. To end the season in Kona was a gift.
— Meg Chun