One of the main attractions of Hawaii is its beautiful, crystal clear warm waters. Many days can be spent lounging about, from one isolated beach to another. But if you are more interested in actively experiencing the blue ocean waters of Hawaiis west-side, then nothing can get you closer to the action than outrigger canoe paddling.
Throughout the world, outrigger canoe racing has become an extremely popular outdoor sport, not only due to its connection with the water, but also because entire families can participate in regattas with age groups ranging from keiki (children as young as 6 with an adult steersperson) and age 12 through age 70+. The sprint regatta season in Hawaii starts around April/June of each year and lasts through the State Championships held in early August. After that, the August and September months are reserved for long distance paddling, which culminates in the 42 mile world championship races of Na Wahine O Ke Kai (womens) and the Molokai Hoe (mens). Both of these races consist of crews paddling from the shores of Molokai to Waikiki, Oahu across the often times treacherous Kaiwi Channel. It is truly a physical and mental test of the best paddlers in the world.
But if competition isnt your game, then many canoe clubs around the island offer recreational paddling. This is a more laid-back approach to paddling where you can jump in, learn about the culture and techniques of paddling, and meet and connect with friends - all while enjoying a quick refreshing paddle. Follow that up with local grinds and our famous Kona coffee and enjoy the start of a new and wonderful Hawaiian day!
If you would like more information about outrigger canoe paddling or perhaps you would like to come out and try a recreational paddle, visit Kai Opua Canoe Club. Photo credit: Sadie Seymour.