Outrigger canoes are as Hawaiian as the hula dance, leis and lava flowing from volcanoes.
That's why it was a surprise upset yesterday when the heavily favoured Puna Team from Hilo, Hawaii, was beaten by Vancouver's Jericho Beach Racing Canoe Team 1 in the men's iron race in Howe Sound.
The top men's event in the third annual Howe Sound Outrigger Iron Races, which included the Canadian National Outrigger Iron Race Championships, the race took two hours to complete over a grueling 18-nautical-mile course.
The Puna canoe was out front for three-quarters of the race, but a persistent and strategic effort by the Vancouverites paid off.
Teams from Newport Beach, Calif., San Francisco, Portland, Ore., Seattle, Kelowna, Calgary and Victoria descended on Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast this weekend for the races.
Tammy Hansen, on of the organisers, said: "This is the first year teams from Hawaii and the best women's team in the world, Newport Beach, have attended and they've dubbed Gibsons, "Kona of the North."
She says the competition was voted in the world's top ten by Pacific Paddler magazine.
The Newport Beach team won the main women's race.
Boogie Kalama, who was broadcasting live on radio back home to Hawaii, said: "The scenery is a lot like home, and the water is fantastic, but what I really love is the hospitality of the locals; they really go all out for us. We will be back next year and with more teams. Aloha!"
News - Courtesy of The Province.