New York Outrigger (NYO), a nonprofit with a mission of educating New Yorkers about our local waterways, started an adaptive paddling program in 2015 to increase access to the water to paddlers with disabilities.
The goal of the program is to recruit adaptive paddlers through outreach efforts, train novices through an introductory course, and integrate adaptive paddlers in NYO’s recreational and race programming for outrigger canoes. Through training support from NAC/Makapo and sponsorship support from PTX Partners, two members of the NYO adaptive paddling program participated in the world-renowned Queen Lili’uokalani Canoe Race in Kona, HI in September 2017. NYO’s adaptive paddlers trained alongside seasoned racers in New York Harbor’s choppy currents to build endurance for the Kona race. NYO adaptive paddlers, Paula Mesa and Alex Barrera, joined four members from NAC/Makapo in a co-ed canoe to race the historic 18-mile course along the Kona shore and finished with a time of 3:06:20.