Kukui'ula Outrigger
Our Canoes

Our Canoes

The outrigger canoe – in Hawaiian it is called a waʻa (vah-ah) – is a type of canoe featuring one or more lateral support floats known as outriggers which are fastened to one or both sides of the main hull.  Smaller canoes often employ a single outrigger on the port side, while larger canoes may employ a single-outrigger, double-outrigger, or double-hull configuration (see also catamaran). The sailing canoes are an important part of the Polynesian heritage and are raced and sailed in Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa and by the Māori of New Zealand.

Using an outrigger or double-hull configuration greatly increases the stability of the canoe, but introduces hydrodynamic inefficiency relative to making a single-hull canoe wider. Compared to other types of canoes, outrigger canoes can be quite fast, yet are also capable of being paddled and sailed in rougher water. This paddling technique, however, differs greatly from kayaking or rowing.

The Names of Our Canoes

(name, brand of canoe, the racing number, and meaning of the name in English):

Laulima (Mirage) 88A
Literally means many hands. Means working together, cooperation.

No’io o ka ie’ie (Bradley Striker) 88B
To the best of our knowledge, No’io is a white bird formerly used for navigating to land, o ka ie’ie means of the high…relating to being in the sky.

Oliliko o Makahuena (Bradley Lightening) 88C
Refers to the sparkling or shimmering we often see on the water as we return at sunset from Makahuena

Nai’a Uli Uli (Mirage) 88D
Blue Dolphin

Keoneloa (Bradley Lightening) 88E
Long sand–refers to the bay on which the Grand Hyatt is situated

Rai (Mirage) 88F
The Tahitian word for sky.

Kamakani O Maha’ulepu (Bradley Lightening) 88J
Refers to the wind found at Maha’ulepu.

Ka Lae o Ka’iwa (Bradley Lightening) 88K
Refers to the point at the entrance to Lawai Kai bay.

Liko (Matahina) 88L
Named for a young man named Liko who made it safe for his people to go into the waters near Kukui’ula Harbor and Spouting Horn by luring the menacing mo’o (dragon) into the tubes of spouting horn where it got stuck–and can still be heard moaning to this day. Liko also refers to the shimmering of the sun on the water, and the bud–or newly formed blossom of a flower.

Lele i Ke Kai (Matahina) 88M
Means to fly or leap across the sea.

Anatomy of an Outrigger Canoe

Parts of the Canoe

Hawaiian names for the parts of an outrigger canoe with English translations:

  • ama (float/outrigger)
  • hoe (a paddle; to paddle)
  • ‘iako (spars, boom)
  • manu kupe (curved end pieces covering the fore and aft parts of the hull; to steer a canoe)
  • mo’o (gunwale)
  • muku (ends of ‘iako that extend beyond the hull)
  • wae (spreaders)
  • wa’a (canoe, also va’awaka)