Everyone who paddles saw the pictures, everyone who knew someone that raced saw the videos, and the women who crossed the Kaiwi channel that morning…saw something that’ll be embedded into their minds forever.

That morning we all saw 15-20 ft waves closing out of Hale O Lono harbor. What we were all thinking but not necessarily saying out loud “How are we going to get past this?? And how long is it going to last??” Our crew stayed calm, even after seeing multiple boats flip, turn and get pushed in and out of these waves.

We are the boat on there right in blue jerseys and yellow hats

It was one of the hardest crossings of Molokai to Oahu ever done. All the times showed that the conditions of the 42 mile race were rough, and all around difficult to be in. Even though mid channel the waves weren’t very large at all, it was still difficult to paddle through with a straight north wind the entire time.

I remember thinking 4 hours in “We’re half way.” And then looking to either side of us thinking “I can’t see Molokai or Oahu”. We were tired, hungry and all thinking the same thing: “this is going to take awhile”. Now this wasn’t my first time crossing the “Channel of Bones”. I went across in 2010 with a group of girls from Kailua, HI and Molokai in an unlimited canoe by Kamanu Composites. However it was flat as a lake! We were the only crew out there that day. In 2011 I escorted the second NAC mens team, which included my boyfriend Bruce. It’s so surreal to look around you and see nothing but ocean, and think that you’ve still have 22 miles to paddle. But just like our jerseys said:

“You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” -Christopher Columbus

All in all it was the most fun I’ve ever had with a group of girls I love paddling with. It was awesome to cross the channel with my best friends paddling, and having my best friend Will be our escort coach along the way.

All 10 of us that crossed the channel, crossed together. No one gave up, no one settled for where we were; we kept pushing and we kept working. We went into this race as a team, and came out as a team. With each stroke we took, we brought ourselves closer to Oahu. It was a hard race to paddle, but worth every second-minute-hour. NAC FOR LIFE.

It is definitely something I will never forget, and I know most girls won’t either.

Photo credit:

A special thanks to Heather Brown for sponsoring us with hats for our race! @heatherbrownart