Battle of the outrigger canoes |

Battle of the outrigger canoes

Paul LaudenschlagerSpecial to the Sun

Ryan Salm/Sierra SunA team from The Charles Gracie Brazilian Jui-Juitsu Academy of Truckee/Tahoe learns proper paddle technique before winning the inaugural Aloha Festival at Donner Lake on Sunday. The festival was hosted by the Kawaiulu O Tahoe Outrigger Canoe Club, formerly known as Truckee Outrigger.

Hawaiian spirit was alive and well at the first Aloha Festival held at Donner Lakes West End Beach on Sunday.Slated as an annual event, the festival was hosted by the Kawaiulu O Tahoe Outrigger Canoe Club formerly Truckee Outrigger.In addition to the live music by the Mark Sexton Band, the festival featured tasty Hawaiian food by Big Wave Burrito, face painting by Cathy Cutler and bungee jumping for the children by Tahoe Apex Adventures. The main highlight, however, was the community team outrigger canoe races. Local teams from various businesses and organizations competed against each other in 250-yard sprint races in six-man Hawaiian outrigger canoes. As the teams competed in a tournament-format ladder, many of the races were tightly contested, with boats crossing the finish line separated only by a few feet.The Charles Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy won the final championship race by narrowly edging Tahoe Apex Adventures, while Lou Raso Home Systems Electrical finished third.Participating teams included groups from the Pacific Crest Restaurant and Bar of America, Pianeta Ristorante, Truckee-Donner Recreation & Park District Outrigger Class (sponsored by Blair Construction), Shag Hair Salon, The Charles Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy of Truckee/Tahoe (sponsored by Legacy Builders), Corda Construction, the law offices of Lou A. Basile, Tahoe City Dental Group, Lou Raso Home Systems Electrical (sponsored by the John Keating Family), Daphne Hougard Photography, Truckee Book and Bean and Tahoe Apex Adventures.Besides the competing teams, other sponsors who helped make the event a success were the Truckee Book and Bean, West Marine and the Truckee-Donner Recreation & Park District.

Look for more outrigger canoe racing Labor Day Weekend Saturday and Sunday at the Tahoe Vista Beach Park, where more than a dozen clubs from the Northern California Outrigger Canoe Association along with visiting clubs from as far away as Hawaii will compete in long-distance races on Lake Tahoe. For more information about the event or to learn about outrigger paddling with the Kawaiulu O Tahoe Outrigger Canoe club, call Paul at 582-9593 or Sharon at 550-0610.