Outrigger canoe racer Trey Cox suits up for his first race in almost ten years and takes on the Hawaiian Supercross.
Trey Cox is one talented individual. A world-class paddler in the sport of Outrigger Canoe Racing, when Trey heard that a Hawaiian Supercross was being held for the first time since 1986, he jumped at the chance to trade in his paddle for a set of motocross riding gear. With Trey coming from such an interesting background, participating in a sport with so much historical significance and tradition as Outrigger Canoe Racing is for the people of Hawaii; naturally, we wanted to share Trey’s story as a paddler in addition to his experience racing the Hawaiian Supercross.
Trey Cox the Outrigger Canoe Racer
You may wonder how someone gets started racing Outrigger Canoes. For Trey Cox, it began not long after he moved to Kailua-Kona, Hawaii (the big island) in 2007 to be near his mom, dad, and sister—whom all live in Kona on the west coast of the Island. Not long after arriving, Trey was approached by the coach of the Tui Tonga Canoe Club to paddle for the best team in the state. He quickly became deeply involved with Tui Tonga as a club and family (Ohana).
Eventually, with the same guys he initially started paddling with from the Tui Tonga club, the Livestrong/Mellow Johnny’s/Red Bull Wa’a (pronounced va’a) Team was formed, and the crew signed a three-year contract for the 2016 through 2018 seasons. Trey traveled with the team to races globally that included places like Manly near Sydney, Australia and Hawaiki Nui on the island of Tahiti. He also participated in national events in places like Hood River, Oregon; Hudson River, New York; the Catalina Island to Newport U.S. Championships, as well as events on the different islands in Hawaii.
“The most prestigious race we won was the Molokai Hoe in 2017,” explains Trey. “The race had been dominated by Tahitians since 2005, and it was the first time any team out of Hawaii had won since 2005.”
More recently, Trey has been blessed with two boys with his wife, the oldest, Earl Linwood Cox IV turns four in August, and Eli Shoji Cox who turns one in August. Only time will tell if either of them will follow in their father’s footsteps and take-up Outrigger Canoe Racing. Now that we know a little about Trey, we asked him to share his experience racing the Hawaiian Supercross.
Trey Cox the Supercross Racer
With the event planned for the weekend after the conclusion of the AMA Supercross Series, a few of the big names of Supercross such as Justin Brayton, Ryan Sipes, Tyler Bowers, and Mike Alessi made the trip over to Honolulu on the island of Oahu where the race was held inside Aloha Stadium.
Trey signed up for the amateur class where five riders from each of the Hawaiian Islands were chosen to compete. He felt good the first two practices, only 0.6 seconds off of the fastest lap time. Despite a crash, on the first lap of timed practice, Trey qualified 5th overall going into the three main event motos.
In moto one, Trey came from a mid-pack start to finish second—just a couple seconds behind the race winner. A crash just after the start of moto two resulted in Trey once again battling his way through the field. After working his way up to fifth, a last-lap crash dropped him a few positions to 10th place.
After his second race crash, Trey had to scramble to make the final moto. “My bike was MANGLED,” explained Trey. “But my fellow Big Island crew were able to come together and make the bike ready for the last moto.” After a mid-pack start, Trey moved his way through the pack to fourth position with the second and third place riders within striking distance, only to throw it away as he describes “with a C-class rookie-move loop out in the rhythm section.”
Although his unfortunate final-moto crash resulted in a 17th place in the final moto (and 11th overall for the event), it certainly didn’t dampen Trey’s spirit. “Being my first race back in almost ten years, I thought my age would bring patience and wisdom,” said Trey. “Not the case, I left it all out on the track! But I’ll be back next year!”
All photos courtesy of Kaikea Nakachi.