NIOA's Law Enforcement Sales Specialist, Ken Gittins and his team have set a record in the 50+ division of The Moloka'i Hoe, crossing the finishing line in an impressive 5 hours and 35 minutes. Not bad for Ken and his 'Masters' considering the winning professional crew time was 4 hours and 50 minutes. What is 'The Moloka'i Hoe' you ask?
On October 12, 1952, three Koa outrigger canoes launched through the surf at Kawakiu Bay on Moloka'i's west side. Powered by six paddlers, each of the canoes were bound for O'ahu, across 38+ miles of open ocean in the Ka'iwi Channel. 8 hours and 55 minutes later, the Moloka'i canoe, Kukui O Lanikaula landed on the beach at Waikiki in front of the Moana Hotel. This event started the world's most prestigious outrigger canoe race, the Moloka'i Hoe.
The Moloka'i Hoe has become one of the longest running annual team sporting events in Hawai'i, second only to football. The Moloka'i Hoe perpetuates one of Hawai'i's and Polynesia's most important and historic cultural traditions, while honouring outrigger canoe paddlers around the world. The Moloka'i Hoe tests the limits of physical / mental strength, individual endurance, courage, determination and teamwork while battling nature's most extreme elements. Each year over 1000+ paddlers from around the world compete in the Moloka'i Hoe, the men's world championship in outrigger canoe racing. This year marked the Moloka'i Hoe's 65th crossing of the treacherous Ka'iwi Channel."
Ken was invited to contest this event with the Mooloolaba Outrigger Canoe Club Senior Masters(50+), who are the current Australian Champions and have been held as the bench mark for over a decade. Over 100 teams (1,000+ paddlers) from Hawaii, Japan, Italy, USA, Hong Kong, Canada, Tahiti, Australia and NZ competed this year. Whilst a relatively obscure sport in Australia, it is the national sport for many of the Polynesian islands (including Hawaii) and receives significant funding. Many of the open age paddlers are full time professionals sponsored by organisations such as Shell, Redbull and product companies etc. For teams of amateur paddlers from Australia to go over, be competitive and win is a significant achievement.
NIOA is proud of our many exceptionally talented employees. Well done Ken!