Okanagan crew Joey Hertz

Okanagan crew paddles to silver in Hawaii

Four Kelowna and two Vernon athletes finish second in masters division in outrigger canoe at the Queen Liliuokalani race in Kona

A formidable test of both physical and mental endurance, six men from the Okanagan met the challenge head on earlier this month at the world’s largest long-distance canoe race in Hawaii.

Kelowna’s Joey Hertz, Jim Bates, Mike Ching and Greg Redman, along with and Bob Woodman and Glenn Bond from Vernon, paddled their way to a silver medal in the masters men’s (40+) category at the Queen Liliuokalani race Sept. 6 in Kona.

The Okanagan crew, based out of the Kelowna Paddle Centre, placed 16th overall out of 125 outrigger canoes, finishing the 30 km race with a time of two hours and 22 minutes.

The race was run in gruelling conditions with a Humidex of 48 degrees celsius.

According to team member Jim Bates, the crew’s success was largely due to the existence and support of a thriving paddling program back in Kelowna.

“One of the driving factors behind the performance and future performances is the evolution of the Kelowna Paddle Centre,” Bates said. “It was pretty cool to be recognized as the ‘real deal’. We beat a lot of very good crews.”

Crews from Hawaii, the mainland of the U.S., Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and Canada competed in the annual race.

For more information on the Kelowna Paddle Centre and its programs visit kelownapaddlecentre.ca