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<b>Downtown Express</b><br><i>California’s Dana Outrigger team approaches the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.</i><br><br><i>Photo by Dana Edmunds</i>
Vol. 16, no. 6
Dec. 2013 / Jan. 2014


Paddling Gotham 

Story by Samson Reiny and Julia Steele
Photos by Dana Edmunds

The island of Manhattan
is surrounded by rivers that are notorious for their swift currents, cold waters and heavy shipping traffic. Undeterred, outrigger canoe paddlers from around the globe have embraced the challenge of cutting through New York’s steel-gray waters to compete in the Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge. Every summer for the last seventeen years teams have descended on Manhattan to tackle fifteen miles of some of the world’s most famous and frenzied metropolitan waterways. Among the pre-race precautions? “Do not attempt to outrun a barge.” Keith Tsang, head coach of New York Outrigger, likes to call the sport “urban outrigger canoeing.”