Na Wahine and Moloka'i Hoe

Goodluck and a safe crossing to everyone doing the channel races this year.
Please remember to be safe. I don't want to be a broken record, but we need to keep water change safety a priority. It just takes one mis-turn for someone to be run over. In my opinion, the most important thing (other than a prop guard) is a clear dialogue between the captain, the coach, and the paddlers. I also think that a clear and simple protocol for doing changes should be in place. I know that we all have a lot of pride, and it can be hard to ask your escort captain to follow a protocol, but your life or one of your teammates could possibly be at stake. Without safety as a top priority, someone, one of these days, will die. There have already been four deaths in Hawai'i from propellers in the last two years. It's only a matter of time before it happens to a paddler in a race.

All you have to do is have a quick conversation with the driver to clarify how he wants to do a change. Here is the protocol that we will be following:

1) Before any paddlers jump the engine needs to be in neutral.

2) A spotter, other than the captain, will verify that the prop is disengaged and will give the call for each paddler to jump.

3) When every paddler has swum well clear of the boat, the spotter will notify the captain that the engine can be engaged.

4) When picking up paddlers the same process will be reversed. The captain will come within swimming distance of the paddlers and then disengage the prop.

5) When the spotter verifies that the prop is disengaged, they will give the call to the paddlers to swim to the idling boat.

Again, goodluck to everyone out there.

Submitted by luke on Thu, 09/20/2012 - 10:47am

Thanks for posting this. Another thing I'd like to add:

4a) The boat shall approach on the downwind side of the paddlers/swimmers.

Most boat drivers will naturally approach the paddlers from the upwind side unless they know specifically not to, because that's normally how you'd approach a nonhuman object in the water to pick up. This is bad. The boat should always be downwind of any swimmers. If the boat is upwind of the swimmers, the boat can get blown onto the swimmers. Add in a wave at the wrong time and you have a head injury or can even get sucked under the boat. If you are a swimmer in this situation, try push off the boat with your legs instead of your arms.

Also, I can't agree enough with what Luke said about making sure you communicate with the boat captain. Don't assume that they know what they're doing (even if they do), and even if they are experienced and do know what they're doing, don't assume what they're doing is going to be what you want them to do (even if it is). Heck, even if you had them last week and they did everything exactly how you wanted them to, you should still go over it again. It's better to redundant than to have an incident.

#1 Thu, 09/20/2012 - 9:28pm

not trying to hijack a very constructive thread. out out of total curiosity, what if a crew just used six paddlers the whole race?

#2 Fri, 09/21/2012 - 9:48am

Malikojunkie: That never even occurred to me. Great recommendation. Any others that anyone has?

JC: Didn't a club do that recently? False Creek maybe? Not to hijack this thread even more, but that would be epic. Just imagine, an iron, open class division. It wouldn't take away from the 9 man race, just would add another awesome element to the greatest outrigger canoe race in the world. We can only dream....

#3 Fri, 09/21/2012 - 10:37am

Something else that needs to be cracked down on.... is those escort boat drivers who "suck?em" the night before the race and then has a hang over the next day OR decide to " suck?em" while race is in progress which puts paddlers at risk.. I know for many, getting as escort boat is usually someone you don?t know and usually you have to pay them far in advance so they make the travel up to Moloka?i. Is there something in place where a crew can notify race officials and possibly get another escort boat instead? What about the money that as paid earlier? How could that be returned? Should there be written contracts for escort boat driver to adhere to with consequences? We had one of of four crews experience that last year and we felt like it was a waste of money. We never follwed up with a complaint. We were just happy that everyone got to Oahu safe.

#4 Fri, 09/21/2012 - 10:48am

Eddie: Escort Boats Hawai'i is actually a good solution to that problem. They are very attuned to how their escorts do, and if there are any problems then they wont recommend them the next year. I know he's trying hard to standardize the process as much as possible, and is very interested in setting up change protocols that everyone follows. Basically, if you get an escort from them, then you know it's going to be a quality escort with an experienced driver.

#5 Fri, 09/21/2012 - 10:58am

Mahalo Luke. We took a chance on the guy last year which "he" said that he had done many of them and was experienced. I think it was for fishing, drinking and waste time adventure for them. I am trying to get his name from one of the crew members on that crew last year, that remembers, and notify the Escort Boat Hawaii. Aloha.

#6 Fri, 09/21/2012 - 2:06pm


#7 Sat, 09/22/2012 - 9:51pm


#8 Sun, 09/23/2012 - 6:00am

With the conditions today, I take Team Bradley.
East winds 20 kt. Wind waves 8 ft. Northwest swell 8 ft. Isolated showers.

#9 Sun, 09/23/2012 - 6:21am

Just saw pictures on Facebook. So much for safety.

#10 Sun, 09/23/2012 - 2:38pm

Great coverage by OPTV today. Anybody know where to access some footage of the start when the swell close off the mouth of the harbor?

#11 Sun, 09/23/2012 - 3:47pm

Just on the off chance - I lost a 49" Quickblade with a sticker of 3 white paddles on the back of the blade. I paddle for Kai Opua and as we were trying to get out for the start, 2 large sets went over our canoe. Luckily the girls punched through, but my paddle disappeared into the mist. Here's hoping it floated ashore and somebody nice found it.

#12 Sun, 09/23/2012 - 6:21pm

Some one was walking around with your paddle at the end of the race looking for the owner. Said they found it in the channel. It made it's way back to Oahu, hope it makes it's way back to you!

#13 Sun, 09/23/2012 - 7:11pm


#14 Mon, 09/24/2012 - 11:11am

For those of you who haven't seen it on Facebook yet, check out the video on Ocean Paddler TV's facebook page:
You don't have to be logged in to Facebook.
Here's some more images others have posted on Facebook:

There's 3 canoes right where the wave was breaking. The blue and yellow one that you can see easily and the tail of another canoe just to the left of it, but then look close and you can see part of an ama and a iako up in the air right in front of blue and yellow canoe. The canoes must have been smashing into each other, lucky nobody's head was right there.

Also this one and this one.

Apparently most of the canoes went out in clusters and headed straight for the peak of the wave. Lessons learned: Don't do that.

#15 Mon, 09/24/2012 - 12:26pm

Did you know that in 1952 when the first 3 canoes crossed the Ka'iwi channel they began with 9 men and during the course of the race you were only allowed to change ONCE. And that 3 of your paddlers had to iron the race? So simple, no paper work no over crowding and more so than not, it separates the men from the boys. Sounds like something that should be brought to the attention of the Moloka'i committee. They are actually more open to suggestions than you might like to think.

#16 Tue, 09/25/2012 - 10:27am

I think it would be great to have an 'Iron' division in all l/d races. If you're fit enough to do a change race, chances are you can iron the race too. Logistically, it just seems easier. I think it would even be safer. You'd probably still need an escort boat or the organizers would need to provide more safety boats (each oc would probably need additional safety equipment, including tracing equipment ?). With the advances in boat and equipment technology - and the assumed improvement in athlete's abilities (thanks to improved nutrition, hydration and fitness) - ironing a l/d race would likely be appealing to many paddlers. A local team (Cascadia - padddlers from the Vancouver & Seattle areas) ironed the Pailolo race a few weeks back, and did quite well. It didn't hurt that Jim (?) Foti was steering (from what I understand).
It should be something worth considering (promoting an Iron division).

#17 Tue, 09/25/2012 - 11:46am

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