The spectacle created by Ailuk winning canoe WOLA-I WOLA-O as it glided through the finish line toward a beach full of screaming fans could be taken like those Hollywood happy endings, where people can’t keep their eye off a canoe — dashing through the waves with its outrigger suspended in the air while the navigator was halfway in the water while holding the sail — soaring toward the finish line.
But this was real life and it’s what made Ailuk racers Captain Rice Snight, Co-Captain Jeffrey Bunglick and team member Will Alfred famous during the Kwajalein Atoll Memorial Day last weekend.
The team won the $5,000 grand prize, while Lae Fly took second place followed by Double 200 from Jaluit.
The Journal met up with Jeffrey and Will, who were joined by boat Co-Owner Rosemary Alfred at the MediSource Pharmacy in Majuro Tuesday.
“You know what’s interesting?” Bunglick said. “Most of the captains on the other boats are from Ailuk. Some were flown from Ailuk to captain the boats.”
WOLA-I WOLA-O currently holds multiple titles for past competitions in Majuro and Ailinglaplap.
Rice Snight is the younger brother of famed Captain late Aimbi Snight. Both brothers and other Ailuk family members represented Marshall Islands in a canoe exhibition in Taiwan back in 2013.
Read more about this in the February 16, 2018 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.