The Challenge


The Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge is one of the most unique outrigger races in the world. It takes traditional ocean-faring canoes designed for speed, distance and surfing and places them inside one of the world’s busiest urban harbors. Crews face a variety of challenges that can only be found in New York City.

Keith Tsang, Core Program Coach for New York Outrigger, has paddled and steered the waters of New York Harbor for over a decade. Below he details many of the challenges crews face when competing in New York’s waterways.

The Challenge: Water Quality

"Since the passage of the Clean Water Act, water quality has improved dramatically and over the past several decades, citizen activism has made it increasingly unacceptable for government and industry to treat our rivers as dumping grounds." - Riverkeeper Will my skin read more...

Tags: The Challenge | water quality

The Challenge: Boat Traffic

"We're used to back home in Hawaii the canoes having priority. Here, it's like a like a flea on a dog. Everybody else is the big boss." - Kekoa Cramer . Team Primo New York Harbor is one of the largest natural read more...

Tags: The Challenge | traffic

The Challenge: Tides and Currents

"We were seeing this morning a women's crew paddling up current and getting swept back. They were just stuck in the middle of the river...fighting as hard as they can." - Luke Evslin . Team Kamanu The Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge read more...

Tags: currents | The Challenge | tides | tips

The Challenge: Seawalls

What aspects of urban outrigger canoe paddling are unique to New York City? One that always seems to throw paddlers and steerspeople off is the affect of the city's seawalls,  which line practically every bit of coastline in New York  read more...

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The Challenge: Staten Island Ferry

Do you know what signals the start of each race of the Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge? That would be the Staten Island Ferry! The Ferry stops for no one so we have a spotter at Whitehall Terminal over a mile read more...

Tags: Staten Island Ferry | The Challenge

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