Paddling with Lōkahi
How to join
We welcome you to join us. If you’re interested in paddling with Lōkahi, or in trying outrigger canoe paddling before you make a commitment, come down to the site at any scheduled practice time and talk to a coach. The only pre-requisites are that you can swim or otherwise handle yourself in the ocean, like do a survival float, and that you fill out a current HCRA insurance waiver. Make sure you sign the form. If you are under 18, then you must have a parent or guardian sign the form as well. While there is no upper age limit, you must be at least 9 years old to paddle with us.
If you have never paddled outrigger and want to try the sport you can go out with us for a $10 donation per practice session.
If you are a member of another HCRA member club, then you will have to transfer to Lōkahi to paddle with us, either competitively or recreationally. If you are a visiting paddler from out of state, you may be able to paddle with us during your visit without joining the club. You can to ask about this possibility.
Lōkahi was founded as, and remains committed to being, a competitive canoe racing club. To understand our sport at its deepest levels, and the powerful hold it exerts, you have to experience long distance open ocean racing. If you decide to join Lōkahi as a competitive paddler, you’ll need to complete an application form with “COMPETITIVE” checked and pay the annual dues. You’ll also need to provide proof of ID, such as a copy of your driver’s license or birth certificate, and we’ll take your picture for an HCRA membership card. Turn in the completed app, your dues payment and current HCRA waiver form to the recording secretary or other Lōkahi officer. Current dues for adults, 18 and over, are $160. Paddlers under 18 pay $100. You’ll receive a Lōkahi t-shirt when your dues are paid in full.
We encourage you to join with the goal of racing. If you decide you’d rather paddle just for fun and fitness, or if your schedule precludes taking the time required to paddle competitively, then you can join Lōkahi as a recreational paddler. Turn in a completed application with “RECREATIONAL” checked, your dues payment and a current HCRA waiver form. Dues are $80 for 6 months from the month in which you join and you’ll be eligible to participate in Lōkahi events short of HCRA-sanctioned competition. You will not be required to participate in club fund raisers, but we welcome your voluntary participation.
We’ll provide coaching and guidance for you as a recreational paddler, and expect you to work hard to learn and improve. When we’re working with competitive crews you may not get the same degree of attention, but we won’t neglect you. You will also be able to keep paddling with us during the off-season from November through February.
• Check the current schedules, always subject to change.
• To join Lōkahi to race, fill in, print out and sign the Lōkahi application form and check COMPETITIVE.
• To join Lōkahi for recreation, fill in, print out and sign the Lōkahi application form and check RECREATIONAL.
• Fill out and sign the current HCRA insurance waiver.
What’s happening now
The competitive season begins April 2 with the first Hui Wa‘a long distance race. Following the Hui Wa‘a distance and regatta races is HCRA’s long distance season, culminating in the final races of the season, the Ka‘iwi Channel races, Na Wahine O Ke Kai for women and Moloka‘i Hoe for men.
Rec paddling practice is held Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings. We put boats in the water by 5:45pm and should be paddling by 6pm. Ask for Coach Larry and we’ll get you started.
If you’re new to the sport, you don’t have to buy a paddle right away. We have practice paddles you can use. If you decide outrigger paddling is a sport you want to pursue, we’ll give you advice on how to choose a paddle.
What to wear
Wear something you can get wet, such as board or paddling shorts, t-shirt or tank top, and rubber slippers to wear outside the canoe. For daytime practice and preseason distance races you should use sunscreen, and consider wearing a hat and long-sleeved shirt. For all practices we suggest you bring your own water or sports drink.
There is a cold-water shower at the site so you can rinse off after practice. We recommend that you do this after exposure to the Ala Wai or any of our coastal waters. Some of our comfort-minded members bring their own hot water and most paddlers carry extra towels in their vehicles.
Where we are
Lōkahi’s site is at the Diamond Head end of the Ala Wai canal, next to the Waikiki Library and adjacent to the Ala Wai Golf Course.
The Ala Wai Golf Course Road branches off Kapahulu Avenue. If you are traveling makai on Kapahulu, plan on turning right at the Waikiki Library (across the street from the Chevron station); coming from Waikiki, you’ll make a left turn. Be careful of the fast-moving, heavy traffic on Kapahulu. Some impatient drivers race through the intersection even when the light is red.
You should be able to park along the road where our canoes are kept. Please do not park in the Ala Wai Golf Course driving range parking lot and do not use the Library parking areas.
The outrigger canoe has been central to the development of Hawaiian culture. So important was the canoe that the building of a new canoe was a significant event involving most of the members of a village: priests, craftsmen, laborers, helpers. From choosing the right tree to launching the new canoe, each step in the process had to be done correctly with the proper ritual and respect to preserve the life of the tree in the canoe and create a canoe that would, in turn, sustain the lives of those who used it.
In Hawaiian tradition each canoe is a living entity, with its own spiritual power or mana. We entrust our lives to our canoes and we treat them with respect.
The open-ocean conditions surrounding our islands led to the development of an outrigger canoe different from those of other Pacific islanders. The Hawaiian outrigger is relatively unadorned, with fore and aft hull covers (kupe) and a splashguard (pale kai) to cope with ocean waves and chop.
Although outriggers now are raced throughout Polynesia, outrigger canoe racing, ancient and modern, seems to have originated in Hawai‘i. There are records of ancient Hawaiians racing for fun and for wagers, sometimes including life.
Today’s HCRA-approved racing canoes are standardized in length and weight to allow both an observance of tradition and a level playing field. To race in HCRA-sanctioned events, including events sanctioned by our association, Na ‘Ohana O Na Hui Wa‘a, canoes must weigh a minimum of 400 pounds without ‘iako, ama, or seat covers, and can be no longer than 45 feet. While most associations in the Islands, including ours, allow clubs to race fiberglass canoes, at the annual Hawai‘i state championship regatta all crews must race in koa canoes.
The diagram shows the Hawaiian names of most parts of the canoe. We use both Hawaiian and English terms, but you should be familiar with the Hawaiian nomenclature.