Na Wahine O Ke Kai

Sabrina Schwanebeck -Jericho

Longing to race Na Wahine O Ke Kai again this year I found myself absolutely miserable. The race date was coming closer and I came to the resolve that I would not be there. Jericho was not attending this year and I had been replaying the past years’ races in my mind.

Then as if by magic, the sun came out. One minute I was reading emails and
the next minute I was booking a flight to Maui. Oh my God!! Zoe
Norcross (formally from False Creek) now from Hawaiian Canoe Club was
trying to recruit paddlers to race! All of a sudden I knew I was
going to race in the World Outrigger Championships again and what
elation! Oh joy!! Oh rapture!!! Email to airport was approximately 5
days and so off I go…

The moment I got off the plane, the heat and smell of plumerias
filled me with excitement and relief that I was finally there. One
practice with the crew (mostly surfing) and I feel like I have always
paddled with them. They were all so nice and welcoming. Aloha
permeates our practice. Day before race day we ferry over to Molokai
and it is nearly flat!! Oh no, don’t tell me I’ve come for a flat
crossing! Apparently the trades weren’t due till Monday. The race is
Sunday. I had been missing the girls from my home club and was frantically
on email to Jericho women asking them to whistle us up some wind.
Well…it worked!! The trades actually hurried over for Sunday. The
Channel gave us solid 4 to 8 foot seas and averaged 15-20 knots.
Don’t know how that worked, but the paddling Gods were smiling on us.

We finished the race with a battle to the last second with Healani
and ended with a time of 6:38:32. Great finish to go with a great
race! I give much Mahalo to Zoe and the women of Hawaiian Canoe Club
and Coach Jonny Mac. They welcomed me into their paddling family and
I loved getting to know them all. Hopefully I will see you all again
one day.

Much Aloha,
Sabrina Schwanebeck

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