Kapolioka'ehukai (Heart of the Sea) Outrigger Canoe Club - San Diego, CA

About Outrigger Canoe

"The canoe is a vessel for the soul" ~ Rell Sunn

Hoe wa'a (outrigger canoe paddling) is a special sport, with ancient Polynesian roots of 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 temperments; to experience a sunset on the water, with your ohana and teammates, in an OC6 (6 person outrigger canoe), means 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.

Canoes in our ohana...

The canoes in our ohana...

"HAKUOLE" (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 Lanikila CC 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. As their club grew and progressed, Kapolioka'ehukai purchased Hakuole in September 2011. 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 still fighting their battles with cancer.
Hakuole #731: 731 represents Aunty Rell's birth month and date. July 31.

"KIAKAHI" (BRADLEY STRYKER CLASS) – Kiakahi was the second canoe in our club and was formerly named, "Paniolo" (Cowboy), by Dana Outrigger Canoe Club. Paniolo served with Dana CC from 2000 to 2011. Dana named it Paniolo, after one of their older canoes from the early 80's. The Paniolo from the 80's took Dana CC 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 CC'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" (BRADLEY CLASS) – Kainani, which means Beautiful Sea, was originally bought in 2004 by Pale Kai CC in Avila Beach, California. It was considered their sleekest and fastest canoe. They sold Kainani to San Diego Outrigger Canoe Club in 2010. SDOCC, in keeping with their club tradition of having canoes with 3 letter names, renamed Kainani to "Kai". In October of 2012, SDOCC sold "Kai" to Kapolioka'ehukai CC and we renamed her "Kainani" 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" (MIRAGE) - According to Uncle Billy Whitford of Newport Aquatic Center, the canoe was purchased brand new about 5 years ago. It is a Mirage made by Outrigger Connection. The club has their tradition of naming their canoes with, "Hoku" in the name so they named her "Hoku O Zapata". When I got home the night after our club committee meeting where they agreed to purchase the canoe, I was looking through some of my pictures of our first race season as a club. First, I came across a picture of an old advertisement that had an absolutely gorgeous shot of Aunty Rell. The caption read, "The Queen of Makaha". Then, I scrolled to the next couple of pictures and saw a close up picture of some of our club members, Kamalani (Rell's grand daughter), and Kaumana (Rell's grandson). My gaze stuck to Kamalani. Then I scrolled back to the "Queen of Makaha" picture, and then back to Kamalani. It was that moment I knew. Our canoe was going to have Kamalani's name in it. Aunty Rell never had the chance to meet her grandchildren in the flesh. They are here now. They are a part of her, with her legacy to continue to learn about and follow. We, as Aunty Rell's Canoe Club, have that honor and kuleana (sacred responsibility) to carry on her legacy, not just for everyone else, but for Aunty Rell's Ohana as well. So, the name choices were put to our club. "Hoku O Kamalani" (to honor both NAC and Kapolioka'ehukai), or just simply "Kamalani". The majority of our club chose "Hoku O Kamalani". Well, what's beautiful about that is, it is so very fitting because of the translation. "Hoku" - Star or Guiding Star (As in the voyaging canoe, Hokule'a, "O" - Of, "Kamalani" - Child of Heaven. "The Guiding Star for the Child of Heaven" That's exactly what Aunty Rell's spirit, our club, and now this wa'a, is to Kamalani. A guiding star for her.
Hoku O Kamalani #909: 909 represents Kamalani's birth month and date. Sept 9th.

"TEIVA" (PACIFIC ISLANDER CLASS) – Teiva is ohana to Newport Aquatic Center and Hanohano Canoe Club. Teiva is named after a legendary Tahitian Prince. He will now be a member of the Kapolioka'ehukai ohana for the 2014 race season and serve as a practice/training canoe to assist our paddlers in meeting their race goals.

Teiva was built in approximately 1991-92 by Uncle Dennis Campbell. She was originally purchased by Gary Vose and was used and raced by Imua (in the early-mid 90’s) for years before he went to NAC and took his canoe there, where she was donated to the NAC and used by them for training. As a side note, the mold for that 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!

"MANAWALEA" (MALIA CLASS) – Manawalea is being loaned to Kapolioka'ehukai Canoe Club from Uncle Dave Hansen and Kanaka Canoe Club. Manawalea, which means, "Precious gift", was found in a yard by Uncle Dave and completely restored. The original history of her is still unknown. However, because of her hull design, she is no doubt, cousins with our "Hakuole". The ama design for Manawalea is also unique. The ama design is a catamaran style that was engineered by Uncle Bud Hol, the very appreciated SCORA Safety Director.

Respecting our Outrigger Canoes

The sport of Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Paddling has so much history and culture associated with it that many teams lose sight of this and become focused on just the competitive side of the sport.

You must never forget that you are not just one of six people in a canoe on the open ocean. You are one of seven.

It is believed that canoes have a life to them. Each has a distinct and separate personality on the water. The canoe is part of the team and it carries all paddlers safely onto the water and home again.

We expect all paddlers to treat the canoes with respect and never take them for granted or treat them discourteously.

Helpful reminders to respecting your canoe...

  1. Respect every canoe as a family member. From the time a canoe is made and blessed, the canoe becomes an entity unto itself. Care for it as a loved one by maintaining it before setting out to sea and cleaning it after you return.
  2. Never sit on, or step over a canoe (exceptions are sometimes made for dry-land training or demonstration purposes). In Hawai'i, it is believed that to step over another is to cut their life shorter. Therefore, the same applies to your canoe.
  3. If you must, support the hull along the ku'e/keel in a way that will distribute the weight evenly to avoid placing too much stress at any one point.
  4. On land, the canoe always faces the ocean. This relates back to ancient Hawai'i when canoes were frequently used to repel attacks from other islands. "Stacking" is sometimes necessary to accommodate available space ( placing the ama of a subsequent canoe on the iako of a previous canoe ).
  5. Care should also be taken for the area surrounding the canoe. Pick up opala (rubbish) on and around your paean wa'a (canoe landing), halau wa'a (canoe house), or auha (canoe shed). Put things away that need to be stored without being asked. Hoe aku i ka wa'a (do your share – move ahead the canoe)
    1. Everyone helps when the canoe is being carried, covered, cleaned, or cared for. This includes loading and unloading the canoes, covering or storing them, cleaning them and washing them down with fresh water when they are dirty or after practice, and checking all parts of the canoe before and after practice. This applies to every member of the club from the first time novice to the Head Coach. From ancient times, whenever there was a large undertaking, everyone would help by doing whatever they could. The strong would do the work, the old would offer encouragement and advice, and the young would bring the water and food, but everyone would participate. A'ohe hana nui ka alu'ia (No task is too big when done together).
  6. Customarily, a prayer is always said before every launching no matter how long or short the voyage. The prayer needn't be long and perhaps not in Hawaiian, nor does it have to be religious in nature. Doing so helps center the crew mentally and spiritually.
  7. On water, avoid standing, arguing and swearing in the canoe. Standing is rarely a good idea for stability and safety reasons anyway. Arguing and swearing only serves to upset the entire crew's efforts and creates animosity instead of aloha.
  8. Avoid tracking dirt and sand into the canoe when you climb aboard. Ike aku, ike mai, kokua aku, kokua mai. Pela iho la ka nohana ohana (Recognize others, be recognized, help others, be helped. Such is a family relationship).
  9. Learn the particular duties that go along with the seat you sit in. Once you step into canoe, you are part of a team. Therefore, every hoe wa'a (canoe mate) must work together by doing his or her share. The only way to know what is expected of each member is to have clearly defined assignments beforehand. Komo mai kau mapuna hoe (Dip your paddle in. Join in the effort.)
  10. See to it that personal issues are put to rest quickly instead of letting them collect and fester in your mind. Remember, what happens on land, stays on land. What happens at sea, stays at sea. Show respect, enthusiasm and commitment to your hoe wa'a by arriving on time to practice. Steersmen, coaches and other leaders should ALWAYS arrive early. A leader is never on time, he or she is always early.
  11. Take the time to study and learn the proper Hawaiian names and pronunciation of the things you use. On this issue, if you choose to use Hawaiian terminology, take care in its pronunciation and use. Many Hawaiian words have multiple meanings or have different meanings if pronounced incorrectly. Lest you be guilty of olelo ho'ohepa (Idiot talk).