High school paddling season is coming to an end on Maui. In fact, today is the state championship regatta on Big Island. The winning teams from Maui, Oahu, Kauai and Big Island all compete for the state title.
This was my family’s first experience with outrigger canoe paddling. Turns out, it’s quite the sport.
Our high school’s team had 50+ kids participating, boys, girls, mixed, JV (junior varsity) and Varsity teams. They practiced daily after school, either at Kahului Harbor where the cruise ships dock (the water is kinda nasty, definitely not a swimming beach) or in the school’s weight room. Then Saturdays they had paddling regattas. The actual event would start around 8:45AM with an opening ceremony. This would include Hawaiian chanting and always the singing of Hawaii’s anthem Hawai’i Pono’i. The regatta (and ensuing meal) would usually be over by 1PM.
While our kids have participated in a variety of high school sports, this has definitely been the most Hawaiian experience. Students and parents arrived at each regatta at 7AM to prepare and serve breakfast to the team. Sometimes it consisted of muffins and fruit, other times parents went all out with fried rice. After the regatta was completed, we’d serve lunch also – the two times I was involved it was shoyu (soy sauce) chicken and then sweet and sour pork, cooked in a campfire setting. I must say, in a way it reminded me of our German heritage – keep everyone well fed at all times 🙂
Did you know?
Canoes weigh about 400 lbs. This means everyone pitches in whenever a canoe needs to be moved. Canoes can be connected with two beams to create a double canoe (you take off the outrigger for this) – which then weighs 800 lbs.
They are teams of six. The rear member is the steersman. The first three paddlers are the strongest with the best form.
Want to give paddling a try?
Curious to give outrigger paddling a try? Both the Kihei Canoe Club across from the North Kihei ABC store and also the Hawaii Outrigger Canoe Voyaging Society and Maui Canoe Club just North of Sugar Beach Resort have visitor paddling opportunities. Check out their websites for more information. Disclaimer, I don’t think they feed you, but you could head over to the Sugar Beach Bake Shop after your morning paddle for a second breakfast.
Did you know – Hawai’i used to be a monarchy? You can still tour the palace – Iolani Palace – in downtown Honolulu. Compared to European palaces, it is a small affair, but nonetheless, it is the only royal palace in the United States.
The lyrics to Hawai’i Pono’i were written by King David Kalakaua in 1874, the music by Henri Berger, the king’s royal bandmaster at the time. It served as the national anthem and now is the state anthem and is sung in the Hawaiian language. Even now, after annexation, becoming a US territory and then obtaining statehood in 1959, Hawai’i Pono’i is sung at many events throughout the islands. For much more information on the controversial overthrow of the monarchy, check this link.