Pacific Paddler October 2014 - (Page 34)

Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge On a sunny June morning, outrigger teams from across the globe gathered at Hudson River Park's Pier 26 in New York City. For many, the Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge capped off a week of Big Apple sightseeing and provided an amazing viewpoint for some of the city's most iconic sights. On the water, teams battled for position as they raced past landmarks including the World Trade Center and Statue of Liberty. While back at Pier 26, the East Coast's largest Polynesian festival entertained New Yorkers and visitors alike. The Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge comprises three distinct races. The day begins with a 15-mile women's race, followed by an identical men's race, and the day concludes with a 12-mile mixed race in the afternoon. As the premier East Coast outrigger event, Liberty is a gathering place for teams from throughout the region and abroad. This year's race brought crews from Australia, Canada, Germany, Hawaii, Panama, and across the mainland U.S. With tough on-water conditions, the day favored local crews with a knowledge of New York Harbor and its strong tidal currents. A new feature at the 2014 Liberty Challenge was the use of live GPS tracking. Each canoe was outfitted with a transponder that relayed real-time location and speed information to both spectators on the pier and folks watching online. "Paddlers at the festival watched intensely as their teammates raced through the harbor," said Liberty Director Will Chang. "Having real-time GPS updates allowed everyone to take part in the strategy taking place on the water." While online coverage gave paddlers across the globe a window into the day's events, the crews who battled it out in New York's rough waters experienced the full breadth of what Liberty has to offer. "There is no other race like the Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge, steeped in history, challenged by currents, refracting waves, ferries, and of course, keeping a keen eye on the competition," said Lex Raas of Kai Aniani Florida whose unlimited crews placed first overall in the men's and mixed races. "There is nothing like this race. Ferries, water taxis and commercial boats are competing for space in the Hudson River," said Margaret Wright of the Kai Mana/Hanalei Canoe Club team. It's not only the currents and boat traffic competing for paddlers' attention. Along with the on-water excitement, racers get a unique and up-close view of many New York landmarks. "You simply cannot replace the amazing feeling I will always remember as our crew came around the jetty and saw the Statue of Liberty," said Erin Moston of Outrigger Canoe Club of Australia. "For me it was sitting at the start line looking at the World Trade Center, admiring the Statue of Liberty 34 Pacific Paddler OCTOBER 2014 PHOTO JENNIFER OLSEN PHOTO STEVE SUTTON PHOTO ADAM STOLTMAN PHOTO CHASE SUTTON

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pacific Paddler October 2014

HCRA State Championship
'Queen Lili‘uokalani' Races
Catalina US Championships
The Kailua Bay Iron Challenge
Duke Kahanamoku Distance Race
Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge
Experience Fiji
JACO Going the Distance
Restoring the ‘Aina
Wounded Warriors

Pacific Paddler October 2014