New York Outrigger is suspending the Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge for 2017, as our current location is slated for construction in the coming year. Mahalo to all the athletes who participated in the Liberty Challenge and to Hawaiian Airlines for their amazing support of outrigger canoe paddling.
After two decades of hosting the Liberty Challenge, New York Outrigger (“NYO”) is suspending the event for 2017 while directors identify a new venue in New York City. The event, which began in 1997, has grown to become the largest Pacific Islands festival on the East Coast and one of the most prestigious outrigger races in the world. The current event location at Hudson River Park’s Pier 26, which accommodated 100 outrigger teams and thousands of New Yorkers this year, is slated for construction in 2017. With the loss of Pier 26, NYO will work with city agencies over the next year to identify a new venue that allows the Liberty Challenge to continue growing.
NYO would like to thank Hawaiian Airlines for its amazing support over the past five years. As title sponsor for the Liberty Challenge, Hawaiian was instrumental in Liberty’s growth from a regional race into an internationally recognized event. The Liberty Challenge was the first in Hawaiian’s world series of outrigger racing events, and NYO is honored to have been part of an outstanding community of race organizers. The success of the past several years would not have been possible without Hawaiian’s generous support.
NYO would also like to thank Hudson River Park Trust, whose support allowed the Liberty Challenge to return to Manhattan starting in 2013. Hosting our 20th event this year in the same location where Liberty began in 1997 was truly special and deeply meaningful given the incredible revitalization of Manhattan’s shoreline that Hudson River Park has brought about.
Additionally, NYO would like to thank the thousands of paddlers from across the globe who traveled to New York City to participate in the Liberty Challenge. As the world’s most international outrigger event, Liberty is proud to have consistently hosted paddlers from North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Pacific Islands. The Liberty Challenge is not a fundraiser, but an opportunity for NYO to bring the world’s paddlers together for a weekend of competition and community. Mahalo to all the Liberty supporters who have contributed to the event’s growth and success.
As New York City’s first and only outrigger group, NYO is dedicated to educating New Yorkers about outrigger canoe paddling and providing access to our local waterways. Over the past twenty years the Liberty Challenge has celebrated the revitalization of New York’s waterways and the growth of our volunteer community group. NYO is proud of the volunteer members who work tirelessly to host a better Liberty Challenge each year. We are honored for the small part Liberty has played in the development of outrigger paddling and are excited to continue contributing to both the Big Apple and the international paddling community.
Mahalo for an amazing 20 years!