Our Mission, Vision & Goals
The Pure Light Racing mission is to motivate, facilitate and integrate physically challenged individuals in the sport of adaptive outrigger canoe paddling. We hope to educate, that people with disabilities can live active, healthy and productive lives by showcasing their abilities through the va’a.
Pure Light Racing will be at the forefront in the advancement of adaptive outrigger canoe paddling as a recreational activity and competitive sport both locally in Hawaii and worldwide.
- Provide access and regular barrier-free paddling opportunities for adaptive paddlers both recreational and competitively.
- Maximize life-long health, fitness and wellness habits, enabling adaptive paddlers to reach their highest physical and athletic potential.
- Encourage the growth of adaptive paddling as a recognized competitive sport and a beneficial recreational activity for adaptive paddlers.
- Showcase the abilities of adaptive paddlers, not their disabilities through integration into mainstream paddling events, local, national and international.
Pure Light Racing owes its origins to master waterman, Aka Hemmings & Dr. Michi Wong. In June 2002, they formed “Project Pure Light” a community outreach program out of Kailua Community Church, which provided recreational outrigger canoe paddling for people with disabilities. A number of paddlers from the program sought greater challenges and wanted to race competitively, the Pure Light Racing team was born.
Under our coach Aka Hemmings, Pure Light Racing attained many milestones & awards.
In 2004, the Pure Light Racing Team ﬁrst competed at the IVF World Sprints in Hilo, Hawaii. Representing Team Hawaii in an exhibition event for adaptive paddlers, they brought home a gold medal in the V-12 competition.
In 2006, Pure Light Racing again represented Team Hawaii at the IVF World Sprints in New Zealand, bringing home a silver medal in the V-12 competition.
In 2007, Pure Light Racing took on the unprecedented goal of competing in their ﬁrst ever long distance race, the 18-mile Queen Lili’uokalani Race in Kailua-Kona, which included open water changes. This remarkable achievement has set a new standard and opened the door for adaptive paddlers around the world.
2008 was a monumental year for Pure Light Racing. First representing Team Hawaii in the inaugural full medal event for adaptive paddlers at the World Sprints in Sacramento, California . Pure Light Racing swept the team events winning gold medals in the V-6 500m, V-6 1000m and V-12 500m events. Individually, they also brought home gold, silver and bronze medals in the V-1 events.
Into the long distance season they ﬁnished their second Queen Lili’uokalani Race, participated in the 32 mile Henry Ayau Race, and was the ﬁrst all adaptive crew to participate in the world famous Molokai Hoe (41 mile open ocean race from the island of Moloka’i to Oahu).
In 2009 & 2010, the team continued more long distance races including two more Molokai Hoe crossings.
Aka Hemmings sadly passed away in March 2012. In honor of our coach’s memory and to continue his great work, we formed the new non-proﬁt organization “Pure Light Racing”.
2012, with the overwhelming help from supporters old and new, we were able to move forward. Pure Light Racing humbly but proudly represented Team Hawaii once again at the World Sprints in Calgary, Canada bringing home gold in all the team events and more individual medals in the V-1 events. We greatly missed our coach but could feel his spirit through everyone he touched.
The future looks bright and we are excited to see the inaugural one man (V1) event at the 2016 Paralympic games in Rio, Brazil. Pure Light Racing plans to remain at the forefront in the development of adaptive paddling both in Hawaii and worldwide.
Who We Serve
Pure Light Racing organizes outrigger canoe paddling sessions for individual adapted paddlers in the Honolulu area, free of charge.
The paddling sessions are open to anyone with a physical disability, regardless of age, ethnicity, income level or religion.
However, a safety protocol is in place, that all participants must have a minimum independent swimming ability.
To join us at our Recreational Adaptive Paddle Day:
Please print, complete and bring this form with you:
Awards & Achievements
2012 IVF World Sprints Team
Pure Light Racing is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All rights reserved.