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Na Wahine O Ke Kai canceled

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    Team Bradley's Lori Nakamura, seat 1, Andrea Moller, Mahealani Botelho, Lauren Spalding, Kristen Foster and Noelani Sawyer came across the line first in the Na Wahine O Ke Kai race on Sunday, Sept., 22, 2013. Honolulu Star-Advertiser Photo by Krystle Marcellus

For just the second time in Na Wahine O Ke Kai history, the prestigious Molokai-to-Oahu outrigger canoe paddling race has been canceled.

The decision to cancel the race was made at approximately 4 p.m. today after race director Hannie Anderson and the race committee determined that strong winds and treacherous surf throughout the Kaiwi Channel would have made Sunday’s 41-mile crossing too dangerous for paddlers, escort boat personnel and water officials to endure. The race, which was supposed to be run Sunday for the 37th time, was last canceled in 1980 — Na Wahine O Ke Kai’s second year in existence — due to 30-foot surf and strong winds.

“We were very concerned about having a safe race, and the swells were huge. … We made the decision to cancel the race,” Anderson said. “Paddlers came up to me after we made the decision and thanked us for keeping their safety in mind. It was a hard call to make.

“If we were to have raced and lost somebody, you can never bring a life back. Canceling the race was the best decision while keeping the safety of all those involved in mind.”

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