As the longest canoe race in Hawai`i, the 71st annual Walter J. Macfarlane Memorial Canoe Regatta kicked off Fourth of July off the waters of Waikiki Beach today.
“It’s a day that everybody looks forward to not only to celebrate Independence Day but we come here and we’re allowed to race in our fiberglass canoes and also to enjoy the surf of Waikiki Beach,” O`ahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association Race Director Stan Dickson said.
This event is the only regatta of the season where crews are allowed to use their fiberglass canoes as opposed to the Koa wood canoes.
“The reason why is because we have had situations in the past where Koa canoes got damaged severely,” Dickson said. “Because of the expense involved, [OHCRA] decided to give clubs an option to race in their fiberglass.”
For clubs, there is a benefit for racing both kinds of canoes.