Paddling for the Pali - Persevere and Preserve!


Amidst challenging weather conditions, last August, a mighty group of enthusiastic contestants participated with the noble intention to raise funds and awareness to preserve the majestic Na Pali Coast of Kauai. The Event: The Seventh Annual Na Pali Race, presented by Hanalei Surf School

“Paddling for the Pali” is a 17 mile race that starts at Ha’ena Beach Park and ends in Polihale State Park. The racers competed in six different modalities paddling for the fastest time in their category. For the past seven years, Kauai’s native pro surfer Evan Valiere has been organizing the Na Pali Race as a fun event as well as a fundraiser to support the Nā Pali Coast ʻOhana; a grassroots non-profit foundation dedicated to the preservation of the natural and cultural resources of the Nāpali Coast State Park in Kauaʻi.

The Ohana’s main focus is on Nu’alolo Kai, one of the best preserved ancient Polynesian settlements and once a sacred Hawaiian village. Its ruins make up an extensive complex of archaelogical elements, house sites, ceremonial platforms, agricultural features and walled enclosures dating back to 1200 AD. Unfortunately Nu’alolo was overgrown with years of vegetation and the cultural sites were being degraded until 1995 when the Na Pali Coast Ohana was established by a group of Hawaiians who tracked their ancestors back to the Na Pali Coast.

During the event, Evan and his team of organizers overcame many unpredictable hurdles due to Hurricane Howard’s remnants and stormy conditions, including the closure of the Hanalei Bridge because of a landslide on the North Shore. But despite the obstacles that they faced, the race organizers pulled it together and did a fantastic job.

“The swell was 4 to 6 feet, it was a very technical race.” Said Ele Jones who competed in the OC2 division with teammate Sara Waterman. “It was pretty big out there. You really had to know what you were doing. We had to drop into some ‘screamers’ and ended up flipping over 6 times!”

Thanks to the expert safety crew, even with strong winds, currents and grueling ocean conditions, everybody was safe. Paka Chandler was quite the athlete and gave everyone a scare when he went missing for a few hours. His paddle broke and he got sucked out to sea and had to paddle back with his hands. Finally he reached shore by the Navy Base and was able to hitchhike a ride back to Polihale before dark. Also, in the sailing canoe division Kawila “Scooter” Sagum broke a mast and had to get towed in to Kalalau Beach.

For more information about how to contribute to the Na Pali Coast Ohana please go to And for a fun six minute overview - check out this video by Thor Seraphin.

Photos by: Na Pali Race/ Thor Seraphin, Kauai Sound & Cinema

Results from the 2016 race:

Solo SUP / Paddle board 1st Andrew Logreco 2:07 2nd Terrene Black 2:20 3rd Kevin Coffman 2:21 Three Person Team Mixed SUP 1st Kainoa Nakazawa, Kainoa Nakazawa, Darrin Cummings 2:53 2nd Paul Pacuilla, Derek Moore, Mona Yardberry 3:10 3rd Holly Amodio, Sue Cooper, Sandy Rodriguez 3:21 OC-2 Mixed Team 1st Brad Rambo, Tom Gallagher 2:05 2nd Sarah Waterman, Ele Jones 2:08 3rd Cheree Rapozo, Junior Hoopii 2:19 Fun Run Solo 1st Robert Beatty !:32 Solo OC-1 / Surfski 1st Manny Kulukulualani 1:38 2nd Christian Marston 1:42 3rd Maui Kjeldsen 1:44 Holopuni Sailing Canoe 1st Team Holopuni Nick Beck 2:04 2nd Lo'ihi Holopuni 2:05 3rd Manura Holopuni 2:06

By Andrea Gaytan