• How many crews race in Na Wahine o Ke Kai?

In the past few years, there have been 60 to 70 crews that compete in Na Wahine o Ke Kai, from 16-year-olds crossing the Kaʻiwi Channel for their very first time to Masters crews in their 60s who have been racing for decades. We usually have several crews from outside Hawaiʻi — from California, Canada, the East Coast, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia – to name a few!

The size and location of this race make it the premier destination for outrigger racing, where you can compete against the top teams in the world. It’s an amazing opportunity for women to challenge themselves and each other in some of the most beautiful waters on the planet.

  • What are the conditions like?

The Kaʻiwi Channel lies between Molokaʻi and Oʻahu. The channel is different every time you cross it. The tide will change during the race, and either pull you back or push you forward. The wind may blow hard or soft, hopefully helping you along. The waves are usually coming from the north, pushing you south. The size of the waves vary, but generally there is swell and wind chop to surf.  All the different elements make crossing the Kaʻiwi challenging and fun.

  • Is it easy to know where to go and what line to take?

Programming a GPS on your canoe will tell you the straightest line to the finish. Your escort boat driver can also help your steersperson to find the “rhumb line” or shortest distance. However, many crews may decide to bear north or south depending on the wind, currents, or tide to try to gain an advantage. If your steersperson has not done the race before, having them talk to experienced local paddlers about the expected conditions is a good idea.

  • How much does  it cost to do this race?
  • Registration Fee: $900 per crew
  • Boat Shipping Fee (if shipping a canoe from Oʻahu): $300
  • Escort Boat: $1200-2000
  • Flights: Oʻahu to Molokaʻi (one-way): $50-150 (Hawaiian Airlines, Mokulele, Makani Kai)
  • Lodging and food: Accommodation rates vary (see below)
  • How can I find a canoe to rent?

We suggest calling the phone number located on the Molokaʻi info webpage.

Another way is to contact a canoe club on Oʻahu or Maui or try using the paddler classifieds.

  • How can I find an escort boat?

We suggest emailing us at info@nawahineokekai.com

Another way is to contact a canoe club on Oʻahu or Maui or try using the paddler classifieds.


  • Experience: Ask if your escort boat driver has experience doing this race or similar races, especially with dropping off and picking up paddlers in the water. Will there be a helper on board to assist the driver? Does the boat have a bridle?
  • Size: Is the boat large enough to safely hold all crew members? If you have extra passengers (friends/family/coach), will the additional numbers be okay with the driver and boat capacity?

Please read the race rules to verify they comply. Safety should be the number one priority.

Your provisions can be either loaded onto the escort boat before it travels to Molokaʻi (usually either the day before or early morning of the race), or loaded at the harbor at Hale o Lono on race morning.

Note: Mobile phone service is limited at Hale o Lono. Make a plan in advance for how you will find your escort boat.

  • When should my crew arrive on Molokaʻi? Where should we stay?

Many paddlers arrive on Molokaʻi a few days before the race to rig their canoes, and prepare and have some time to rest and relax.  

We suggest using the contact information on the Molokaʻi info webpage to start your search for accomodations.

There are many vacation rentals available, from condos in NW Molokaʻi (Kalua Koi and Ke Nani Kai) to large houses that are suitable for a whole crew to stay together. Check Air BnB and VRBO for availability.   

  • When will my canoe arrive at Hale o Lono?

Canoes are delivered to the beach at Hale o Lono before Thursday, three days before the race. It’s your crew’s responsibility to rig the canoe (or get help). Most canoes are rigged on either Friday or Saturday morning before the heat and sun get uncomfortable. It is often hot and dusty at Hale o Lono, so be sure to bring water and sun protection. There are porta-potties at the site, but no running water.  

  • How do we get down to the race start (Hale o Lono) on the morning of the race?

A bus is available to transport paddlers from Kalua Koi to Hale o Lono (race start) for $10/paddler, but book early to make sure you get a spot. Also, some rental car companies are willing to pick up the rental car from Hale o Lono, so you could drive down on the race morning and leave the car there. Another option would be to return your car(s) the night before or morning of, and hitch a ride down with another crew.

  • Will I be able to buy food and water on Molokaʻi?

Yes – there are medium-sized grocery stores in town and a small shop at the condos in Kalua Koi. Please remember that our goal is to reduce Single Use Plastic so come prepared with reusable water bottles to refill with tap water (it’s cleaner than most bottled water). Some put their race day water on the escort boat before it leaves for Molokaʻi (make sure the escort boat captain is okay with this and straps it in tightly).

  • How can I get around on Molokaʻi?

Most crews rent cars or vans to transport paddlers around to buy food and to rig their canoes. The road to Hale o Lono is not paved and can be rough, so make sure the rental company knows where you are going. There are also limited taxi services available.

We suggest using the transportation contact information on the Molokaʻi info webpage.

  • Is there anything else to do on Molokaʻi?

Yes! There is Kulaia Hoʻolauleʻa (local music + food festival) on Friday night in town with local food, music, lomi lomi massage, and local crafts and clothing. This is also a good chance to mingle with other paddlers.

You can also enjoy snorkeling, swimming, beachcombing, hiking, and other local tourist attractions.

  • What happens at the race finish?

You will be welcomed to the finish by an announcer, along with musicians and hula dancers. Once you reach the beach, you can unrig and move the boat onto your trailer. Make sure to know who to look for or who will be towing your canoe back to its hale (canoe house). Many crews have supporters that meet them with cold beverages and food, and people hang out and mingle in the area for a few hours.  There are open outdoor showers on the beach side of the parking lot.

Your escort boat will park nearby in the marina, the rest of your crew and paddlers will disembark there and bring all of your belongings to the race end. You may need to go find the escort boat and help them.

Awards are held at the beach under a big tent. The awards schedule will be posted.

  • Where can I buy Na Wahine o Ke Kai merchandise?

Merchandise is on sale at the Outrigger Canoe Club on the Monday before the race, and on Molokaʻi from Friday to Saturday at registration. Visit the website and Facebook page for the latest schedule and locations.