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Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Paddling at WYC


8 Oct OHCRA Maui fundraising Race

As the premier yacht club in the Pacific, the Waikiki Yacht Club embraces Hawaii's cultural maritime spirit through six person outrigger canoe racing, a continuation of the traditional coastal fishing wa’a of Hawaii. Outrigger canoe racing is enjoyed in numerous communities across the globe – from Hawaii to the West Coast, Polynesia through Australia, Hong Kong to Japan, Brazil through the East Coast, and Europe.

Here are some of the benefits our members enjoy while paddling at WYC:
• Challenging practices for all ages
• The ability to compete in ironman, regatta, and long-distance races on O’ahu, Hawaii, and elsewhere
• A chance to meet fellow mariners and enjoy the official state sport of Hawaii
• Opportunities to participate in sailing activities, to include classes, youth sailing, Hawaiian canoe sailing and races
• Participation in Hawaiian maritime culture
• Excellent facilities at WYC: hot showers, restaurant, bar, pool
• Space to store OC1 and stand up paddle (SUP) boards
• WYC family and social events
Please contact the Front Office at (808) 955-4405 and let them know you’re interested in paddling with WYC. Look forward to seeing you on the water!



Paddling Coach: Tai Okamura

Contact Coach Tai (text preferred): 808-782-7725

Race Seasons

Pre-season Regatta

Training for the Na ‘Ohana O Na Hui Wa‘a Regatta Season starts in March and goes through the end of May. Hui Wa‘a distance races are between 9 and 12 miles in length and average about an hour and a half to complete. These races are all "iron", that is, there are no water changes required. As a member of Hui Wa‘a, WYC is required to race ten (10) crews during the pre-season races.

Regatta (Sprints)

Regatta races start at the end of May and goes through July with Hui Wa’a championships and Hawaii State championships in August. These sprint races are between ¼ and 1 ½ miles in length.  There are many heats based on your experience.  The groups range from first timers to paddlers with many years of experience as well as age groups all the way to 70+!

Long Distance

Long distance races range in length from the 18 mile Queen Lili‘uokalani Races to the 41.6 mile Ka‘iwi Channel crossings. All the races except the Queen Lili‘uokalani Races involve water changes, in which up to 3 paddlers at a time are rotated in and out of the canoe. Water changes add a level of complexity to distance racing, making it important that each crew is able to perform fast and efficient changes for the duration of the race.

The Ka‘iwi Channel races from Moloka‘i to O‘ahu, Na Wahine O Ke Kai for women and Moloka‘i Hoe for men, involve paddling in open ocean conditions, for which the Hawaiian outrigger canoe was designed. These races allow our canoes and crews to perform at their limits. Canoes are rigged with spray covers (“canvas”) and must have escort boats to carry extra crew members, coaches and helpers.



Paddling starts to get a little more personal November thru February.  One and two man outrigger canoes (OC1, OC2) is where you will start to hone in your skills and take your paddling to the next level.  Pa’a (Paddling Athelets Association) races are generally down wind (Hawaii Kai to Kaimana, Makai pier to Kaimana, relays, and Moloka’I to O’ahu) and some of these races take you past China Walls and Makapu’u lighthouse!

Practice Schedule

*Race days are Saturdays

Keiki/Juniors Tuesday through Thursday 4pm 'til 5:30pm

Adult Practice Monday through Friday 5:30pm 'til 7:30pm

Programs are open to all paddlers regardless of experience



Q: Does it cost to be a participant of the Waikiki Yacht Club Paddling Program?

A: Yes, you must become a member of the Waikiki Yacht Club to participate in the paddling program.

Q: Can I try out the paddling program?

A: Yes. You can be a guest of one of the current members and see how you like our club.

For information on WYC membership, please call the Club Office at 808-955-4405.


Practice Sessions and Equipment FAQs

Q: Do I need any special clothing to paddle? If so, what kind and how much does it cost?

A: We typically wear team jerseys to race. Jerseys are custom ordered each year. They usually run about $30 per person. Neoprene paddling shorts are also recommended for your comfort and safety. These shorts can be purchased through local retailers such as Island Paddler and Excel and run just under $50… and are well worth the expense.

Q: How much does an outrigger paddle cost?

A: Regular Paddle/s: $150 - $350. This varies, of course, on the number and kind of paddle you buy. The goal for each paddler should be to own their own paddle.

Q: What should I bring to practice?

A: A lot depends on your individual preferences, however, there are some basics you should think about:

  • PADDLE: Of course, you need your paddle. This assumes that your commitment to the sport is such that you have purchased your own "blade."
  • DRINK: Many paddlers like to bring a small bottle of water or sports drink to carry with them in the boat.
  • HEADBAND: Bring a headband, hairband, or hat of some sort to keep your hair out of your face. It also gives you that 80s look and plays mind games with the opposing teams.
  • A DRY T-SHIRT: It's up to you, but having a dry towel and a T-shirt or sweatshirt to put on after practice will be more comfortable for you. As a member of WYC, you are able to use our locker room facilities for an after paddle shower.
  • SUNSCREEN: You really do need to protect yourself from the sun—especially on race day at the beach and any daytime practices. Don't worry about it during weekday evening practices.
  • NEOPRENE: You'll see a lot of paddlers wearing neoprene (wet suit material) shorts. Neoprene is popular with paddlers because it cushions the hard seats of the canoe and minimizes chafing.

Q: Does the Paddling Program do fundraisers?

A: Yes, we have one major fundraiser each year, our Pa’ina, which is held at the club the end of July. Paddlers are responsible for planning and executing this large well-known event which is attended by over 600 guests annually.


Paddling Forms



HCRA Waiver


'Olelo-O-Ka-Wa'a Definitions

Workout Tracking Sheet (Excel file)

Paddling Incident Accident Report Form

Team Safety Rules