Dan Van Dyck
This is the day each year that I begin to plan the next Hanohano Huki Ocean Challenge. Wow, it’s going to be hard to top yesterday in Mission Bay, San Diego. Over 600 paddlers, which exceeded our permit I was told, descended upon Bonita Cove under clear skies with balmy summer weather. Twenty Five Vendors set up an impressive Lifestyle Expo with some great Paddling product ranging from clothing to paddles and boards. As the sun came up, tents were erected, boards and canoes were unloaded and food was laid out it was clear to me that it was going to be a day for the record books.
Hanohano Outrigger Canoe Club, founded in 1981, has been hosting the Hanohano Huki Ocean Challenge since 1995 after taking over the Excel Surfski Challenge hosted by Club Founder Egon Horcajo.
Following the club’s philosophy of building an Ohana based upon Friendship and Aloha the race has grown from approximately 20 surfski paddlers to over 600 paddlers ranging from 7 years old to 70+ paddling craft from kayak to Surfski, singles to a quad SUP, SUP Surfboard to 18’ Unlimited SUP, Prone Paddleboard and OC-1/OC-2’s; Truly something for everyone. About a dozen brave souls opted to vie in the “Waterman” Division, which consists of racing the Short Course on a Prone Paddleboard or SUP and the Long course on a Surfski or OC-1. Of note were Maggie Hogan and Leah Bebe for the women and Danny Ching and Slater Trout for the men.
That reminds me, Not only did we see the likes of Danny Ching, Slater Trout, Anthony Vela, Rami Zur, Chris Barlow, Maggie Hogan, Candice Appleby, Kristina Zur we had a number of first time racers who vowed to be back next year. A race with no vibe and a lot of love…that’s what makes the Hanohano Huki Ocean Challenge different from the rest.So, the racing field was strong, the courses were safe because of our experienced safety crew and 600 paddlers put it all on the line. There was more. Bull Taco fed us with some killer grinds, Makihele Polynesian Revue treated us with some great music while we waited for the results to be tallied and our Vendors and Sponsors provided a vast array of shopping alternatives and product demos; notably Maui Jim who was offering some great deals on some Killer Shades. Looking over the crowd, I felt both elated and a little bit uneasy. Those that know me understand that I stress about making everyone happy.
The Raffle was unbelievable…Wow…More swag than I’ve seen. We gave away paddles, bags, hats, gift certificates, tons of clothing, Kona Beer,board bags; for a complete list of our vendors and sponsors, go to the web site www.hanohano.org, Topping it all off with a choice between a brand new Huki OC-1, Surfski or SUP. Our winner gave us the required amount of jumping up and down and squealing.
I sincerely appreciate our Hanohano volunteers, Safety Boat Operators, vendors, Sponsors and participants for making the Hanohano Huki Ocean Challenge a Premiere Event. It truly takes a village and I’m happy to be part of such a loving Ohana.