Outrigger Paddling on the Central Coast


Greeting Friends & Paddlers!

We are so excited to get back to racing on with other clubs in the Southern California Outrigger Racing Association! We sent 5 canoes & 9 crews down to San Diego to participate in the first Iron race of the season.The Crystal Pier Outrigger Canoe Race is a Southern California Outrigger Racing Association Race, hosted by Hanohano Canoe Club in San Diego, CA. The race draws 1500+ participants annually who battle in a 6-mile short course, novice and kid’s race as well as a 10-mile men, women and coed races in six person outrigger canoes. Below is a recap of the event for your enjoyment. We hope our Novice had a great time and got a first taste of racing with PKO, overall it will be a successful race season judging by our showing in Mission Bay. 

Crystal Pier 2022 Recap

Pale Kai Race Results, Analysis and Opinion by Marianne Z.

#152 - Ho' o Mua
Division: Co-Ed novice Spec
The crew lineup:
1- Eddie
2- Anne
3- Tanya
4- Simon
5- Gina
6- Mike
As can be expected at your first race, the Ho' O Mua crew started a little confused about what heat they were in. Mike, steering, made the right call in picking heat 3 so no penalties were suffered. After clearing up communication within the boat, the 152 glided into a smooth first piece keeping to the outside away from congestion. Their first turn was good, though they lost a little time on wide outside turns around the second and third bouy. Hulis were avoided by a little steering into wake but also cost the crew some time. Nevertheless the boat rallied for a strong and unified finish. A conservative approach over all. Most promisingly this crew met post-race to debrief and analyze their performance as a team. Pale Kai can count on members of this crew to continue to build and learn from their race performance through the season!

#155 - Pai Pohaku
Division: Novice Men Spec
1- Jeremy
2- Nathan
3- Geoff
4- Patrick
5- Mike
6- Jim
Our novice men's crew also got off to a rough start, getting off the beach late and not making it to the start in time to line up with their heat. Not deterred by starting a boat and a half behind, our boys caught up and were able to take a strong second place position. Jim sitting seat 6 made turns his crew described as having “surgical precision”. Pretty impressive for his first race! Medaling seemed sure until a woman’s canoe T-boned the Pai Pohaku, causing a command for a dead stop by SCORA officials. A little bad luck led to a still respectable 4th place finish only one measly second behind 3rd. Seems likely we’ll see this crew continue to work on its timing and defensive maneuvers, hungry for a medal at the next race.

#158 - Ho' o Hua Hawaii
Division: Novice “one and only” Women’s Spec
1- Aggie
3- Ashley
5-Jenny S
Alone among our novice crews, our novice women were on time, calm cool and collected at the start line...until one paddler needed to circle back to the shallows for a quick pit stop! The girls hit some bumper boats at the second turn with some interference from an unknown team (but we can probably safely assume it was DANA). Some high jinks were also had from a HanoHano boat tracking back and forth the whole time cutting off our boat. Of course that painted a target on their back the 158 beat them in the end. Near the finish, Shawna made an incredible turn with Jenny helping from 5 to thread the needle around the last island without hitting sand. Shawna called a bump up 5% to get out of the hole and HanoHano never stood a chance. A fantastic 3rd place finish has these athletes off to a powerful start for the season.

#170 - Akela
Division: Open UL Co-Ed Short Course
2- Bonnie “because her timing is amazing” (quote from Bonnie 2 beers in)
3- Scott Bixler
4- Pat
5- Sari
6- Tom
Despite having all masters or above age paddlers, our short course boat raced open so that our four coaches doing double headers could qualify for medals in both of their races. With four coaches in a boat it should come as no surprise they took home the bling (although that bling did seem to be less shiny this year than in the past due to some dubious changes in the races medal supplier) after a little distraction at the start letting the 152 know to wait a heat, the 170 had strong boat of young bucks ahead of them who were able to maintain their lead for about a short minute. A little drama ensued when the 170 clipped a buoy and Tom massively underestimated Lud and Bonnie’s combined ability to draw from the front and Bonnie also dropped her paddle (facts around this remain vague due to Bonnie having been the primary interviewee for this recap). This race came to an eventful end with a Spec novice mens crew coming directly at the 170 at 7mph with no control and a steersman who likely forgot what side to poke on. Tom pushed off the collision with his foot and sped this rockstar crew right on into a (not unexpected) first place finish! 

#155 - Pai Pohaku
Division: Women’s Spec Open "The Miracle Boat!"
1- Stephanie
2- Kara
3- Melissa
4- Marianne
5- Lauri Rainwater-Quinn
6- Barker
With tears in their eyes and matching leis this close-knit crew celebrated a victory before they ever got on the water. Though a young crew, after having suffered a mountain biking accident last week, recent back surgery, divorce, birthing a baby, and falling off a 400 foot cliff since our last race season, some of these paddlers had no guarantee they would ever race again, let alone today. Unfortunately that gratitude to be on the water had to carry the day for these ladies. Strength, water knowledge and athleticism is in no shortage in this boat and the open women were strong out of the gate, starting on pace with unlimited and co-Ed boats. Unfortunately both turns went poorly getting caught in traffic jams and nearly decapitating a Lanakila steers-woman with a iaku at one turn, narrowly avoiding a DQ. This crew is certainly unsatisfied with their 4th place finish but has the tools to medal at their next race if they can get consistent practice time in a boat.

#170 - Akela
Division: Women’s Masters Unlimited "F.A.P"
3- Flo
This crew racing in the Maka Koa had some highlights with Carrie and Cece coming back to racing after several years off from Pale Kai and Flo and Brenda completing their first Iron Race. Tanya sitting in seat 6 got her crew off to what seemed a great position up front and had a solid start. Uphill conditions became challenging for the 170 because current was drawing wa'a to the left for the entire first piece. Making up for a little of the uphill struggle Tanya managed great inside turns. Sarah fired up some extra motivation when the PKO golden masters in the 220 nearly caught the 170 on the down hill bumps, but with some more deep paddle time in the water and determination coming from the engine room in particular, the women masters were able to keep golden girls at bay and came to a spectacular mid-pack finish right next to the cheering PKO O'hana!

#220 - O'hana O Ke Kai
Division: Women’s Golden Masters Unlimited
6- Nancy
This A-team has a wide swath of experience levels on the water. We have some fresh talent in the front of the boat with Jill coming to the stroker’s seat for her first race since 2015 and Tracy keeping impeccable timing in seat 2, competing in her first SCORA iron race. Kim got a break from steering this race to join double-header-Bonnie and Olympian Nettie in the engine room. With Nancy, who has steered over 50 races, rounding out this crew...indeed, this is a killer lineup. At the start our Goldens heard Barkers open boat nipping at their heels and made haste off the startline. This crew had a killer uphill and a killer downhill closing the gap with a Dana boat that had been taunting them from the start. With a strong finish and third place showing our Golden Girls show Pale Kai knows how to surf big water.

#220 - Ohana O Ke Kai
Division: Men’s Open Unlimited
1- Derek
2- Savarese
3- Eric
4- Maverick
5- Don
6 - Austin
We had an exciting Pale Kai debut in this boat with Maverick competing in his first outrigger race on the mainland. Perhaps (unsurprisingly based on this writer’s personal experience) Maverick’s main post-race critique was that Eric was essentially inaudible calling from 3, consistent with his prior whisper-work in that seat. The 220 is also a perfect demonstration that it’s not just novices who struggle at the start, the open men universally described theirs as a “shit show”, a tangled mess with their ama on the next boat’s shoulder and another boat’s ama on their shoulder. Beginning neck and neck with 4 boats, the 220 passed 3 on the downhill plus another two in the flats. By noon wind picked up and our men’s team was able to catch more swell than our women’s crews- but one crew of old guys remained elusive. All joking aside, this was an amazing crew who put in fantastic effort to finish top half in an exceptionally competitive division.

#170 - Akela
Division: Mens Senior Masters Unlimited
1- Bob
2- Pat
3- Scott
4- Larry
5- Paul
6 -Tom
We often forget in relying on Paul for our leadership and Bob for his McGuiver-like genius that this is their first Iron season! Despite water like the inside of a Maytag,  Tom got his boat set up well at the start and inside for the first turn. The next two turns were even better. Post-race Tom had some gripes that he “couldn’t hear” his crew at some point, but that may be par for the course in the senior master’s division. One thing this crew had no trouble understanding was Tom’s whispered directive as they ran into the Dana golden masters: “those are the target”. Sure enough, the Maka Koa swooped in 200 yards ahead of that target redefining victory for the Mens senior masters crew!

All in all, Pale Kai should be proud of this opening season race performance. We’ve reminded our southern warm-water-marina-paddling competition that this small scrappy club from the North may not have the best looking spec boats but we’re not to be discounted. While our pirate persona may be part of our image, this race was a good reminder that as a club we participate in an endurance sport and no one is invincible. 

Imua, with an eye for nurturing of our bodies, our friendships, and our boats so that we may enjoy many more years on the water. Thanks for reading! ~ MZ


BBQ Recap by Geof & Anne

The BBque went off without a hitch...the PKO Novice team stepped up and delivered on their responsibilities to have good hot well balanced food from all five food groups :) ready for the team when they were finished with their races. 

It would not have happened if the vets didn't have everything ready for them so a big call out to the vets for making our job easy.   When you needed a turner/flipper it was quickly found.  When you needed another hand to open the sausage bag, someone had a knife and said hand it here I'll open it for you.  When you had garbage in your hand someone took it from you and dropped it in the well placed garage bags.  The key to all of this was planning - breakfast had bagels, fruit, drinks, etc.  Salty and healthy snacks were available all day.  And for lunch, we had lots of options with 3 types of sausage, 3 types of burgers, 3 types of cheese, and even 2 types of buns.  We had bacon and avocado available for the burgers.  We had salads and chips w/ salsa.  We had desert options with cookies, fruit, and chocolate.  

We cooked in shifts with one team focused on the novice and women's teams and the second team focused on the vet men's team so the food would be hot and ready to go. We had great help from all on the clean up and put away.  It was nice that everyone helped and everyone was so thankful with lots of compliments.  PKO has this down with all the supplies you might need, coolers for the cold stuff, multiple working manageable BBQues, and even trays to put the finished products. 

Thank you to all who helped set up & break down this important part of every race!  


May 21 Rig Run - Santa Barbara
Jun 4 Kahanamoku Klassic - Marina Del Rey
Jun 11 Ventura Outrigger Challenge - Ventura Harbor
Jun 18 Kahakai Outrigger Challenge - Long Beach
Jun 25 Iron Champs - Mission Bay

*All PKO members, you can view and update your availability for practices, races and events on TeamSnap!  Not a current member of PKO? Consider joining us in 2023! 




So our first race of the season is behind us.  I've waited 2 years and 2 months for our day to be together again, with our larger more distant relatives as we face each other on the water.  For what my view is worth, I so proud of our small cold water Northern SCORA family. I am enthralled at our showing, our commitment, our passion, our welfare towards one another, and our joy of experiencing the challenge of racing. 

I want to thank all of you who traveled down the state, and I want to especially thank my fellow board members, our coaches, their commitment to PKO, their knowledge on and off the water, their leadership and their passion, and all who worked tirelessly to pull off our first race of the season.  I'll end by saying to our Novices, watching your transition out of that category is simply a blast, and for those of you who could not make it, we missed you and hope to see you in at our next race.
- Paul Worthington
President, Pale Kai 

The Remarkable story of the first Women to paddle the Kaiwi channel 
Article by Matthew Dekneef

Considered the pinnacle of long-distance Hawaiian outrigger canoe racing, the Kaiwi Channel is a grueling 41-mile stretch of open ocean separating the Hawaiian Islands of Molokai and Oahu. In Hawaiian, ka iwi suitably means “the bone”—it takes every muscle and fiber of the human body to complete, a reminder that, when one’s physicality is stripped away and tested, our ka iwi is truly all we are.

“We’re in this vast place where land is there, land is there and in between is our little canoe,” says Lum, painting a picture of that suspenseful moment with Onipaa. “Then, just like that, we were in the ocean, doing the change—we were doing things we’d never done before in our lives. It was exhilarating! Every change after that, once we got past the uncertainty of it, we were past it. We were paddling.”
Read Full Article
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