“The canoe is a vessel for the soul” ~ Rell Sunn
Hoe wa’a (outrigger canoe paddling) is a special sport, with ancient Polynesian roots in voyaging, fishing and war. Canoes were a vital part of the culture and livelihood in Hawai’i. Today they provide an amazing connection to Hawaiian history, as well as a chance to experience teamwork, dedication, and aloha on the beautiful oceans we paddle on. To dance with dolphins and grey whales as you paddle, to work in harmony with the ocean and its temperaments, to experience a sunset on the water with your ohana in an OC6 (6 person outrigger canoe) is to experience just a taste of what it means to paddle. We at Kapolioka ’ehukai are grateful for our sport, its history, and the honor to paddle.
The canoes in our ohana…
HAKUOLE #731 (MALIA CLASS) – Hakuole was the first canoe in our club. She was born out of the first fiberglass molds from the first Koa canoes brought to the mainland in 1959. Uncle Al Ching of Lanakila OCC helped build her and named her after one of his Hawaiian family names. His son, world champion paddler Danny Ching, also carries the middle name of Hakuole. The direct translation of Hakuole is “No Master”. Hakuole was eventually sold to Kawai’ulu O Tahoe Canoe Club in Lake Tahoe as their first canoe, from whom Kapolioka’ehukai purchased the canoe in September 2011 as our own first canoe. Hakuole now continues to serve our club as also a memorial canoe for our founding members. The inside of the mo’o (gunwales) bear the names of our loved ones that have won, lost, or are still fighting their battles with cancer.
Hakuole #731: 731 represents Aunty Rell’s birth month and date, July 31.
KIAKAHI #50 (BRADLEY STRYKER CLASS) – Kiakahi was the second canoe in our club, purchased from Dana Outrigger Canoe Club in 2012. Named Paniolo (cowboy) by Dana OCC after one of their older canoes from the early 80s, it served with Dana CC from 2000 to 2011. The Paniolo from the 80’s took Dana OCC to top 3 finishes for 3 years in a row in the Moloka’i Hoe. Kapolioka ’ehukai felt the Paniolo name should be kept within Dana OCC’s legacy and properly and ceremoniously renamed him Kiakahi (stand or paddle with purpose). Kiakahi was the first canoe in our fleet to earn a medal (with our novice men’s team at Santa Barbara) and the first canoe to complete our Mainland U.S. Championships, the Catalina Crossing, in 2012.
Kiakahi #50: 50 represents Aunty Rell’s birth year of 1950.
KAINANI #511 (BRADLEY CLASS) – Kainani, which means Beautiful Sea, was originally bought in 2004 by Pale Kai OCC in Avila Beach, California. It was considered their sleekest and fastest canoe. They sold Kainani to San Diego Outrigger Canoe Club in 2010, who renamed her “Kai,” in keeping with their club tradition of having canoes with 3 letter names. Kapolioka’ehukai acquired the canoe in October of 2012 and we restored her original name during her canoe blessing. Kainani is known to be narrow and sleek with a lighter than normal ama. In 2013, she served as part of Kapolioka’ehukai’s novice wahine crew and went undefeated for their iron season.
Kainani #511: 511 represents the month and year our hui was established, May 2011.
HOKU O KAMALANI #909 (MIRAGE) – The name Hoku O Kamalani means “Guiding Star of the Child of Heaven.” Newport Aquatic Center originally purchased her new from Outrigger Connection and named her Hoku O Zapata, after their tradition of including “Hoku” in their canoe names. When Kapolioka’ehukai acquired her in 2014, the decision was made to honor Aunty Rell’s continuing legacy by naming her after her granddaughter, Kamalani, whom she never got to meet. Thus, Hoku (star or guiding star, as in the voyaging canoe, Hokule’a), O (of), Kamalani (child of heaven).
Hoku O Kamalani #909: 909 represents Kamalani’s birth month and date, September 9.
TEIVA #189 (PACIFIC ISLANDER CLASS) – Teiva, named after a legendary Tahitian Prince, came to our club in 2014 via Newport Aquatic Center and Hanohano Canoe Club. Teiva was built in approximately 1991-92 by Uncle Dennis Campbell. The canoe was originally purchased by Gary Vose and was used and raced by Imua outrigger club in the early to mid-90’s before being donated to NAC, who used it for training. Interestingly, the mold for the canoe was sold to Brazil and helped to start outrigger manufacturing down there. Mahalo to Kathie Jacobsen for sharing the history of Teiva with us!