Moloka’i FAQ

Molokai FAQ

  • How many crews race in Na Wahine O Ke Kai?

In the past few years there have been 60 to 70 crews that compete in Na Wahine O Ke Kai. This includes 16-year-olds crossing the Kaiwi Channel for their very first time to master’s crews in their 60s who have been racing for decades. There are usually several mainland and international crews that participate. Those include crews from California, Canada, the East Coast, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia – to name a few.

The Kaiwi Channel allows our paddlers the opportunity to compete in this prestigious race, considered the ultimate long-distance paddling race for women in the world.  The location in the Hawaiian islands honors the foundation of outrigger canoe paddling and provides a beautiful and challenging event with a cultural connection.

  • What are the conditions like?

The Kaiwi Channel lies between Molokai and Oahu. The channel is different every time you cross it. The tide will change during the race, and either pull you back or push you forward. The wind may blow hard or soft, hopefully helping you along. The waves are usually coming from the north, pushing you south. The size of the waves vary, but generally there is swell and wind chop to surf.  All the different elements make crossing the Kaiwi challenging and fun.

  • Is it easy to know where to go and what line to take?

Your escort boat driver can help your steersperson to find the “rhumb line” or shortest distance. However, many crews may decide to bear north or south depending on the wind, currents, or tide to try to gain an advantage. If your steersperson has not done the race before, have them talk to experienced local paddlers about the expected conditions.

  • How much does it cost to do this race?

The 2023 registration fee is $1,200 per crew and if you are shipping a canoe from Oahu to Molokai the shipping fee is $500. You will also have the cost of your escort boat, transportation to Molokai and hotel and food cost.

  • How can I find a canoe to rent?
  • How can I find an escort boat?

You can contact a canoe club on Oahu or Maui or try using the paddler classifieds.


  • Experience: Ask if your escort boat driver has experience doing this race or similar races, especially with dropping off and picking up paddlers in the water. Will there be a helper on board to assist the driver? Does the boat have a bridle?
  • Size: Is the boat large enough to safely hold the captain, any helpers, crew members and coaches?

Please read the race rules to verify they comply. Safety should be the number one priority.

Your provisions can be either loaded onto the escort boat before it travels to Molokai (usually either the day before or early morning of the race) or loaded at the harbor at Hale o Lono on race morning.

Note: Mobile phone service is limited at Hale o Lono. Plan in advance for how you will find your escort boat.

  • When should my crew arrive on Molokai? Where should we stay?

Many paddlers arrive on Molokai a day or two before the race to rig their canoes, and prepare and have some time to rest and relax.  

We suggest using the contact information on the Molokai Resources page to start your search for accommodation.

There are many vacation rentals available, from condos in NW Molokai (Kalua Koi and Ke Nani Kai) to large houses that are suitable for a whole crew to stay together. Check Air BnB and VRBO for availability.   

  • When will my canoe arrive at Hale o Lono?

Canoes are delivered to the beach at Hale o Lono by Thursday, three days before the race. It’s your crew’s responsibility to rig the canoe (or get help). Most canoes are rigged on either Friday or Saturday morning before the heat and sun get uncomfortable. It is often hot and dusty at Hale o Lono, so be sure to bring water and sun protection. There are porta-potties at the site, but no running water.  

  • How do we get down to the race start (Hale o Lono) on the morning of the race?

Check the Molokai Resources link to see if there is a bus available to transport paddlers to Hale O Lono on Sunday morning.

Some rental car companies may be willing to pick up the rental car from Hale o Lono, so you could drive down on the race morning and leave the car there.

  • Will I be able to buy food and water on Molokai?

Yes – there are medium-sized grocery stores in town and a small shop at the condos in Kalua Koi. Please remember that our goal is to reduce Single Use Plastic so come prepared with reusable water bottles to refill with tap water (it’s cleaner than most bottled water). Some put their race day water on the escort boat before it leaves for Molokai (make sure the escort boat captain is okay with this and straps it in tightly).

  • How can I get around on Molokai?

Most crews rent cars or vans to transport paddlers around to buy food and to rig their canoes. The road to Hale o Lono is not paved and can be rough, so make sure the rental company knows where you are going. There are also limited taxi services available.

We suggest using the transportation contact information on the Moloka‘i Resources page.

  • Is there anything else to do on Molokai?

You can enjoy snorkeling, swimming, beachcombing, hiking, and other local tourist attractions.

  • What happens at the race finish?

You will be welcomed to the finish on Duke Kahanamoku Beach fronting the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Many paddlers have family and friends to greet you. Then you get to unrig and put your canoe onto the trailer. Make sure to know who to look for or who will be towing your canoe back to its hale (canoe house). Many crews have supporters that meet them with cold beverages and food, and people hang out and mingle in the area for a few hours.  There are open outdoor showers on the beach side of the parking lot.

Your escort boat will park nearby in the marina, the rest of your crew and paddlers will disembark there and bring all of your belongings to the race end. You may need to go find the escort boat and help them.

Awards are held at the beach under a big tent. The awards schedule will be posted.

  • Where can I buy Na Wahine O Ke Kai merchandise?

Merchandise is on sale at registration on the Monday before the race, and on Molokai from Friday to Saturday at registration. There will also be limited availability of merchandise at the finish. Visit the website and Facebook page for the latest schedule and locations.