40-Days and Counting

| May 14, 2013 | 0 Comments


The Directors of the Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge, our partners at Hawaiian Airlines, and the membership of New York Outrigger have been diligently working throughout the winter and spring. This year is particularly special as it will be the first since Superstorm Sandy brought such devastation and destruction to our shores. Many of our members and volunteers were affected. Even now New York Outrigger and the Hudson River Park Trust are working to complete renovations to our boathouse and park in order to come back to full operations by race day. The wrath of Superstorm Sandy has only made us more dedicated to put together our biggest Liberty Challenge yet to show the world that New Yorkers are not so easily beaten down.


An International Mix

We have one of the widest mixes of paddlers from all corners of the world this year. We always welcome those paddlers from all the islands of Hawaii where the sport of outrigger paddling has its roots. Both east and west coasts of the United States and Canada are represented this year showing just how much the sport has spread beyond the Pacific Islands. All of Latin America will be cheering for Panama Outrigger this year with multiple teams racing in all divisions while the Mixed Race will be the big race to watch from across the pond with a quarter of the field hailing from the United Kingdom. We give a cheerful G’day to Team Auss13, the first Liberty team to represent Australia and Talofa to Alo of Samoa, the first American Samoan outrigger crew to race Liberty. There are so many travelling teams this year that we had to close registration early just because we want to make sure we are able to get all available outrigger canoes on the Eastern Seaboard into New York City to allow them to race. It will definitely be a big year of international competition. Learn more about all the registered teams on our website.


A New Race Course

We are changing things up this year with a new race course. We have lined up an excellent water crew of safety boats to make sure that our race, the largest sporting event on New York Harbor, runs safely amidst the constant water traffic congestion on our waterways. Crews will be launching from the original home of the first Liberty Challenge in 1997 at Pier 26 in Hudson River Park. They will head south to the Battery, past the Staten Island Ferry and cross under the iconic Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges in the East River before crossing to Brooklyn and back towards Governors Island. From there, it is a beautiful and dramatic straight shot across New York Harbor to the face of the Statue of Liberty, an experience that will truly be a memorable moment in anyone’s life. They only have moments to appreciate her up close as crews turn north and paddle up the New Jersey side of the Hudson River before crossing back to Manhattan and finishing back at Pier 26. There are many opportunities to watch from along the shoreline so be on the lookout to cheer for your favorite teams.


A New Festival Village

Our move back to the original home at Pier 26 in Hudson River Park is very exciting as we develop our first Polynesian themed festival to compliment the race. It only seems appropriate that the Liberty Challenge inaugurates this brand new pier with New York Outrigger’s history as one of the park’s oldest tenants. Hawaiian Airlines will be flying in dancers and musicians from Hawaii to give the festival a true grounding in the culture of the islands to provide entertainment for people of all ages. We are in the process of finalizing plans for an assortment of food and beverage to give a sampling of why New York is considered one of the culinary capitols of the world. For the kids, we will have a dedicated family tent where we will offer ukelele lessons, lei making, storytelling and other Polynesian themed activities. For the adults, you now have your chance to paddle an outrigger canoe as New York Outrigger will be holding our popular free novice sessions throughout the day. Get an idea of what it’s like to be on the water with the racers.

The festival will also feature many of our sponsors. Kind Health Snacks will be prominently featured as the official nutrition bar of the Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge. They will be providing free yoga sessions throughout the day. No need to bring your yoga mats as they will provide one for you. We are glad to have Zico back as the official coconut water for the race. Many other sponsors are contributing a variety of products to the race that will be given out or raffled throughout the day. Make sure you get those raffle tickets as we are accumulating quite a collection of great prizes.


A Special Offer from Hawaiian Airlines

Our title sponsor Hawaiian Airlines is making a big presence this year. As the only airline that flies direct between New York/JFK and Honolulu, Hawaiian Airlines is proud to be bringing to New York a big taste of Hawaii. Are you a Liberty Challenge fan looking to experience the race? Hawaiian Airlines is currently offering  a 10% off special offer for travel from Brisbane, Sydney, Auckland and Hawaii to New York/JFK to attend the Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge. Already a resident of the East Coast and wishing you were in Hawaii? You may want to get used to Hawaiian lingo while you are at the festival as Hawaiian Airlines will be offering two lucky people the opportunity for a round trip flight from JFK to Honolulu on their brand new Airbus A330-200 and a 4-night stay in Honolulu. They are the only domestic airline to serve not one but TWO complimentary meals in economy class. Just imagine that you could be flying out of JFK in the morning and you’ll be on your hotel balcony in Honolulu watching the sunset with mai tai in hand on the same day.

Please check back often for upcoming information on this website and our social media pages. Be sure to check out our Challenge series of posts showing just what the crews are up against in our unique urban waterways as compared to the vast open ocean many of the world’s outrigger crews are used to. It is that draw of something completely different that brings these exceptional athletes from around the world year after year. We encourage teams to share your training photos and videos about how excited you are to come race this year and we encourage everyone else to let us know how excited you are. Check us out on Facebook, Twitter @nyoliberty #LibertyChallenge and Instagram @LibertyChallenge #LibertyChallenge.

From all of the Directors of the Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge,
Aloha and safe journeys to the race on Saturday, June 22.

Brent Beck, President of New York Outrigger
Carol Choi, Registration Director
Lauren Decker, Sponsorship Director
Julie Rwan, Festival Director
Keith Tsang, Communications Director

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