Aloha, and welcome to the Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge, one of New York’s most offbeat sporting events. The outrigger canoe, descended from a Polynesian seafaring tradition, has evolved from transportation into a racing and endurance activity. The canoes are around five feet long and designed for speed, distance, and surfing (in this venue, tides and currents). Priding themselves on “bravery, teamwork, and respect for Polynesian traditions,” the paddlers liken the experience of circumnavigating the island to putting high performance racing cars in the streets of Manhattan. The course begins at Pier 26 and wraps around Battery Park to the Brooklyn Bridge and back to Governors Island. There are several great vantage points for spectators. Pier 26 is hopping all day with the women’s race first, followed by the men’s, and then the co-ed. There is a Hawaiian festival for land-loving spectators all day, including a family tent and an authentic luau in the evening.
Sat., June 21, 7:30, 11 a.m. & 2:30 p.m., 2014
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 18, 2014