Outrigger Challenge set to rock Mission Bay
by JOHNNY McDONALD
Apr 28, 2011 | 2682 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Competitors put their backs into it during a previous Wells Fargo Outrigger Challenge and Luau at Crown Point. 	Courtesy photo
Competitors put their backs into it during a previous Wells Fargo Outrigger Challenge and Luau at Crown Point. Courtesy photo
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When we think of outrigger canoes, the immediate reaction is seeing burley Polynesian rowers navigating through high surf in places like Somoa, Tahiti or Hawaii.  Well, San Diego has its own version, but on quieter waters off Mission Bay’s Crown Point.

This year’s event is set for Saturday, April 30.

For the 10th year, more than 80 teams will be tested over a 200-meter course in the Wells Fargo Outrigger Challenge and Luau. Registration opens at 8 a.m., race instruction is slated for 8:30 a.m. and the outrigger competition begins at 9 a.m.  The luau starts at noon.   

“Outrigger teams are coed and consist of five people — at least two of whom must be women,” said organizer Mark Neville, who is also associate executive director of the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl. “Outrigger canoes and steer persons are provided by the Hanohano Outrigger Canoe Club.  

“No experience is necessary ... just know how to swim and have a great day on the bay. It’s flat water ... the way we like it.  Each team is guaranteed at least two races. Winners receive plaques and all participants are given T-shirts.”  

Neville said the activity is a way to generate tourism for San Diego with the major platform being the Holiday Bowl football game. Proceeds go to that activity.

There is no admission charge for the Outrigger Challenge. 

“It takes about a minute to complete a race,” said Neville, who has been with the event since its beginning. The pre-entry fee is $200 per team or $225 on race day. Each team member receives a T-shirt, beverages and a ticket to the luau.  Luau-only tickets are $20. Raffle tickets also will be sold. The grand prize this year is round-trip transportation for two to Hawaii, courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines. 

For the uninitiated, an outrigger is a thin, long, solid hull used to stabilize an inherently unstable main hull. The outrigger is positioned rigidly and parallel to the main hull so the main hull is less likely to capsize.     

Most teams may have to settle for just the fun of it all, because team captain Ryan Goforth and “Paddle This!” will be bidding for a fourth-straight victory. Last year, his crew narrowly defeated “Papa Dragon,” the “Navil Killers” and the “Flaming C-Nuts” in the three-team final.

Sponsors include Wells Fargo, Bridgepoint Education, KPRI 102.1 FM, Cox Communications, San Diego Business Journal, Navy Dispatch, Think Blue and San Diego City Beat. 

For more information, visit www. holidaybowl.com/events/outrigger-challenge-&-luau.html.

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