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Hundreds of outrigger paddlers bring excitement back to Victoria harbour

Kan-U-Hakit sprints the first major crew-boat race held since pandemic halted such gatherings

Paddlers from all over Vancouver Island and beyond gathered for competition for the first time this year in an event hosted Sunday by the Fairway Gorge Paddling Club.

The Kan-U-Hakit sprint event featured 400 racers from Victoria, Comox, Langley, Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Vancouver and Powell River. Outrigger canoe teams raced 1,500-metre sprints between the Bay Street bridge and the Selkirk Trestle in 72 separate heats over the course of the day.

Kan-U-Hakit was the last race that happened before health restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic shut such events down in March of 2020, said Fairway Gorge Paddling Club general manager Erik Ages.

The March 6 races marked the first crew boat event this year where paddlers from elsewhere on the Island and mainland have all raced together. Ages said the plan is to have a full season of races through to September.

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