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Brendon on Waikiki
Brendon on Waikiki
Canoing out
The Outrigger pool

Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Races

Thursday, March 18, 2004
This place is a magnet for sun lovers, honeymooners, swimmers and surfers! Want to hang ten with Brendon?

Honolulu's Waikiki Beach, on the island of Oahu, is Hawaii's most famous stretch of sand. It is not only a magnet for people who love sun, surf and sand (which by the way is brought across from the island of Molokai!), but for its surfboarding, body surfing and outrigger canoes. Once it was a sanctuary where Hawaiian royalty went to be pampered and today everyone can enjoy the fragrant luxury.

The origin of outriggers is quite hazy — maybe East Africa, India, Polynesia, Indonesia, Micronesia or Melanesia — but wherever they first rode the waves, they have been important to the Hawaiian way of life for a long time.

For ancient Hawaiians the canoe was an extension of their every day life, and was also used for recreation. Whether surfing or racing, the canoe was used to hone skills of paddlers and steersmen as a means of ensuring survival in the ocean.

Much pride was experienced by a victory — not just for the crew but the chief and entire village. Those who fancied a flutter even gambled on races using land and possessions as stakes. That pastime was put to an end by Boston missionaries in 1820.

In 1875, King David Kalakaua came to reign, and as a lover of water sports, he reintroduced canoe paddle and sailing races, surfing and Hawaiian song and dance. His people needed little encouragement, and in 1908 the Outrigger Canoe Club of Hawaii was formed by a group of European businessmen. That was followed by the Hui Nalu Surfing Club, chartered by a group of surfers to promote surfing and swimming.

Competition between the two clubs resulted in the rebirth of canoe racing.

The Oahu Canoe Racing Association's pre-season runs from April to May and is open to everyone. During June and July, regattas take place and from August to October the long distance races are run. Race days go from 8.30am until 4pm, attracting 1500-2000 paddlers and just as many spectators.

There are races ranging for under 12s through to older, more experienced racers, as well as mixed events. Canoes generally take six paddlers.

The Outrigger hotel chain is Hawaii's largest, marketing more than 12,000 rooms and suites in Hawaii, Micronesia, Australia, the South Pacific and the US mainland.

The 530 room Waikiki property was built in 1967 on the site of an old outrigger canoe club and has recently undergone major renovations. It enjoys prime location on Waikiki and offers traditional islander warmth.

Duke's Canoe Club beachfront restaurant serves island cuisine all day — and endless ocean views. It is named for Duke Kahanamoku, who was born in Honolulu in 1890. He was a descendent of royalty and won his first Olympic gold medal in freestyle swimming at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. He was deeply revered and became Hawaii's Ambassador of Goodwill and Aloha. He was the first person to be inducted into the swimming and surfing Halls of Fame.

The Sunset Terrace Restaurant and Lounge specialises in Pacific Asian food all day and Chuck's Steak House is open for dinner only, serving steak and island seafood and has views along the beach to Diamond Head. Seattle's Best Coffee serves early morning espresso, afternoon fruit smoothies or late night tea with sandwiches, pastries and bagels. The Outrigger Main Showroom is renowned for its cabaret featuring Society of Seven.

As you would imagine, there is an endless array of ocean activities, and The Bus is an inexpensive way to get around Oahu for shopping or sightseeing.


The Hawaiian Islands


The Outrigger Waikiki rooms start at around $370 a night.
Beach Boys Inc outrigger paddling lessons start at around $10 per person.
Qantas flies three times a week to Honolulu. Return economy airfares start from $1679 from Sydney, $1779 from Melbourne, $1805 from Brisbane, $2077 from Adelaide, $2453 from Darwin and $2584 from Perth, per person. Prices include charges/taxes and are current at time of writing, but may vary at time of booking. Seasonal surcharges and conditions apply.

More information

Outrigger Waikiki
2335 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu Hawaii
Ph: 808 923 0711, Fax: 808 921 9749

Beach Boys Inc: Ph: 808 926 9889

Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Assoc:

Qantas: 13 13 13

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