The Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge, one of the most prestigious international competitions in outrigger canoe racing and one of New York’s more colorful events of the year is coming back to New York Harbor on June 22.
This year race organizer New York Outrigger, along with title sponsor Hawaiian Airlines, will feature a festival village during the competition at Hudson River Park on TriBeCa’s Pier 26, where onlookers can interact with the participating crews, watch them launch their racing canoes and get a clear view of the race start and finish just off the end of the pier.
“We are very excited to grow the event,” said Brent Beck, NYO president. “We’ve always garnered a lot of attention and curiosity from the public during the race, but this year we will also offer fun activities and demonstrations to gain a deeper understanding of the sport.”
The festival will be a unique mix of Polynesian culture and New York style. Hawaiian Airlines will fly in live entertainment from Hawai’i, and NYO will invite various food trucks to provide festival goers and competitors a sampling of New York’s rich food culture. There will be family-friendly activities including lei making workshops and Polynesian dance lessons. Free yoga classes will be offered and prizes will be given throughout the day.
In addition, NYO will offer thier popular free novice sessions during the event to allow park goers the chance to paddle an outrigger canoe on the Hudson River. “Our novice sessions allow New Yorkers to experience the sport of outrigger paddling and provide a unique perspective of the city that many residents rarely see,” said Keith Tsang, Liberty Communications Director. Locals can experience a slice of Polynesian culture and the spirit of ho’olaule’a (celebration) without leaving the city.
“As title sponsor of the Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge, we are proud to expand the outrigger canoe race with free festivities for spectators, offering something for everyone,” said Avi A.Mannis, the airline’s vice president of marketing at Hawaiian Airlines. “This is a great event to allow spectators of all ages to experience a taste of Hawaii and Polynesian culture.”
This will be the first event to be held at the rebuilt Hudson River Park pier this summer. The Hudson River Park Trust continues to transform five miles of Manhattan’s west side, including Pier 26, into a vibrant recreational green space. The event allows families, children and locals a chance to view the Hudson River as not only a waterway for commercial ferries, but as a new opportunity for a variety of recreational water sports including outrigger canoe paddling.
For those who are interested in outrigger canoe paddling, water sports or a variety of free activities, this event is not to be missed.