unlimited class?

When will a boat be made of all carbon. I mean imagine a Pahoa being able to have six seats and just one iako with a small ama and a rudder. Six expert paddlers will fly on the water and might be able to do molokai?Think about this idea.Bad or good?

Submitted by uncle on Fri, 02/15/2008 - 7:07pm


...when I imagine it though, there's still two iakos, and no rudder - but I like where you're headed.


#1 Fri, 02/15/2008 - 7:15pm

you might need 2 iako but in certian conditions do you really need it. if you have a rudder the 6th person can paddle more.

#2 Fri, 02/15/2008 - 7:18pm

might as well have a 6 man kayak then.

#3 Fri, 02/15/2008 - 8:12pm

molokai in a 50lb boat maybe? with all six paddling, rudder only.
Think about how fast it would be.?

#4 Fri, 02/15/2008 - 8:32pm

I think an unlimited class with a few design requirements....Like 2 iakos, an ama, 6 men and no rudder but anything else goes.

#5 Fri, 02/15/2008 - 8:32pm

well it is the unlimited class...

#6 Fri, 02/15/2008 - 8:48pm

dude a rudder would be awesome. Add foot braces to push off of and shit you'd be hauling ass. How bout a huge kite on the boat. Then youd really be hauling ass

#7 Fri, 02/15/2008 - 11:45pm

Great dreams, but then what happens? Paddling becomes like all other big dollar sports that must rely on huge sponsorships for teams to be competitive. Just like competitive cycling. You think a OC1 is expensive? Buy a professional level road bicycle - you're laying down $5K-$8K or more.

Keeping things somewhat regulated and traditional allows more people to enter the sport, more people to be competive and keeps paddling more about the athletes and less about the equipment.

Of course we're all obsessed with equipment, so what the hell - will someone sponsor me with a new Kamanu? Keizo? Luke? How about it? I'll be your Florida rep :)


#8 Sat, 02/16/2008 - 7:16am

Billy Whitford and I have been kicking this around for several years. Ive created several scale models of an "unlimited" class boat with many of the features mentioned above. It seems, as Raphael mentions, that cost will be the ultimate hindrance. Here in California, many clubs struggle to purchase just one Mirage. How will they be able to afford a $20,000 dollar canoe? Even more so, how will smaller clubs compete if the year they finally purchase an unlimited class boat, the larger clubs come out with a newer faster hull? There has to be some limitiations. It will have to be a class boat, but it can incorporate advantageous in hydrodynamics as well as materials and weight reduction. Some of the features that I am considering is an adjustable seating system that "rides" on the gunnels. This would enable crews to adjust weight distrbutions for different conditions. The seats would be of the OC-1 type, with integrated foot blocks. An internal hydration system, as well as electronics with GPS and the ability to monitor seat output, like in the large rowing shells....and of course an iPod adaptor with speakers at each seat. Personally Im divided on the rudder, but I think a skeg would be an option. I built a boat that had a single iako. It seemed a good idea but in the end it hindered the performance......the stress on a single iako is phenomenal.

#9 Sat, 02/16/2008 - 10:07am

Kamanu would be wise to pick you up, Raphael. You'll be dominating those races any time now, I'd wager. I bet you could really sell some boats down there, and Kaimana would be perfect for those conditions.

#10 Sat, 02/16/2008 - 11:55am

I like your ideas, aquafiend, except for the individual seat electronics. I would quickly be exposed as the sandbagging slacker I am!

#11 Sat, 02/16/2008 - 11:59am

already doing it here in Kona

#12 Sat, 02/16/2008 - 12:00pm

I saw the two "livestrong" canoes in Kona last year. Very sleek and beautiful. I was surprised that Tui Tonga was so close to y'all in the Mirage at the end of the race. Why do you reckon that was? I ask knowing that it could open a can of worms, but for the sake of building the fastest hull possible, I am curious to know if those canoes had comparable crews in them. Im not sure the "Tahitian" style canoe is the model to measure by. I heard of someone who designed and built a 6 man from scratch in Australia that was to be an unlimited type canoe. Rumor has it it was a computer generated hull, but it just didnt perform as expected. Anybody else out there working on this?

#13 Sat, 02/16/2008 - 12:10pm

Aquafriend, are you referring to this Aussie canoe The "Southern Spirit" ??

Go to the bottom of this post

Cheers Rambo

#14 Sat, 02/16/2008 - 12:29pm

Hey Rambo....Im not sure but I think it must be. Whats your thoughts on the "Spirit"....especially compared to the Tahitian canoes?

#15 Sat, 02/16/2008 - 1:23pm

Never paddled one .... and at $20 grand a pop ... never likely to.

They are however highly rated by some of Aussies best paddlers and 4 clubs i know of have them. It's still all about the 6 knuckleheads that provide the power though eh.

A good Steerer will make more difference than canoe type. Maybe save the $ difference and spend the money training steerers.

Cheers Rambo

#16 Sat, 02/16/2008 - 2:15pm

To all the physics/design people: what is the theoretical top speed of such vessels? Didn't Shell average six 40something miles the whole Molokai channel? How much m#therf*ckin faster is possible? (sorry, just watched that Chapelle clip from the Black President thread)

#17 Sat, 02/16/2008 - 3:17pm

I think Aquafunds referred to something interesting... a lot of engineers can probably come up with some theoretically fast designs. But theory does not always translate to nature. Waves, backwash, wind, all wreak havoc on even the best computer designs.

So then someone says, we need to do field testing. OK, so who's going to build molds, prototypes, models, and get athletes to spend their time testing a canoe that may or may not work? Now you have to pay for all the man hours invested to develop your new boat. All of a sudden, 20K for a V6 is a steal. Now it becomes worth while to chase after big dollar sponsors so you can have a competitive boat. Or at least a hull that won't be a hinderance to your crew, whatever it's skill level may be.

The beauty of the Tahitian boats is that years and years of development and learning have been invested all ready. At least you have a point of reference to start from. Not that they are the fastest thing going, but they are probably going in the right direction. They aren't worrying about keeping the water line under 45 feet, or making a tub that weighs 400 pounds. A lot of one man builders are doing this all ready. Designs have evolved so much, that now there are just little tweaks left to make a difference. Many boats are pretty close descendants of a previous mold. Some of the fastest one man canoes now a day had tons of hours of build time and testing put into them. Throw in materials and labor, and bang, 3 to 4 grand for a one man is a steal.

As for theoretical top speed... doesn't that have something to do with length of water line compared to width or something? Believe someone who knows a lot more about boats touched on that before. But scary to think a crew could average faster than a 6:40 mile for 42 miles!!

#18 Sat, 02/16/2008 - 3:46pm

when i make one.........i wont let any of you race with me.HAH

#19 Sat, 02/16/2008 - 7:32pm

Jim said: "You’ll be dominating those races any time now, I’d wager."

Thanks for the great compliment Jim, but I'll wager that a few strong paddlers will have something to say about that.


#20 Sun, 02/17/2008 - 6:53am

I'd also like to see the number of paddlers open in the "unlimited" class, I mean who's to say six is the magic number? Be interesting to see if everyone arrived at the same optimal number of paddlers.


#21 Sun, 02/17/2008 - 4:44pm

Has anyone else ever thought about replacing the ama on a six-man with a one-man hull and a seventh paddler? Or am I sadly alone in delusion.

#22 Sun, 02/17/2008 - 7:54pm

i say we scrap technology of building a new canoe design, and we go old school, everyone races in a malia. now that would be a race. with traditional hawaiian blades with no T or bent shafts, no carbon made blades, etc.....

#23 Sun, 02/17/2008 - 8:04pm

Hey scoops,
I think a more interesting thought/question is "what would the ancients do with todays technology and resources?".

#24 Sun, 02/17/2008 - 8:41pm

aquafiend, i think the ancients would laugh at us. canoe paddling was more of a cultural thing for them, then just a race. imagine and i know i getting off the subject of this post, but they had to paddle to a different island, not to enter a race, but, the king instructed them, that they need to go and fight a war. so imagine now, paddling from one island to another and there's no after party waiting for you there? (i.e. molokai hoe) but you gotta go and kill your enemies and fight a battle? to answer your question, i'm sure in those instances they would like to have a fiber-glass boat or for the matter of this post a carbon one, less fatigue paddling a huge log, so they can fight? i know i'm totally off subject on this one. but so much emphases in these posts are on trying to make things faster, lighter, etc....what about fairness. making everything symetrical and everyone paddles with the same boat, same weight, everything. no one has something different? let the paddlers do the paddling and let it be said and done at the finish line?

even in the oc1 posts, different composites, designs, change change change? i'm for one am not the best paddler around, and i think i purchased almost every boat built by every builder, and i have not gotten any faster in any of them. maybe a little by seconds or even a minute, but not were i got this specific boat so now i can beat the top guys. my two cents, take what you have and train hard, thats what i see the top people doing. only the ones building boats making changes, but i think it's only for us the general population to see there's something new that looks faster, hence we go out and buy it?????????? think about it, the top ten oc1 men and women, and open crews in womens and men molokai don't really change much over the years. you don't see a small club charging the top ten. i think the moral of my post is, it's not the equipment, it's the paddlers. aloha

#25 Sun, 02/17/2008 - 10:02pm

It is impossible to figure out the boundary between innovation and culture. For fun i think it would be cool to have a six man more like an OC-1 design.. with a rudder and maybe with a kite. But where do you stop? There should be a regulation for OC-6 RACES.. you need two 'iakos.. you need an ama.. you need to sit inside the canoe.. you can't have a rudder.. you need six guys. Something like that. You vary from any of those premises and you no longer have an outrigger canoe.
I think that too much regulation stifles and ruins the sport. And i think that right now.. too much regulation in Hawai'i is ruining paddling. In my opinion, it would be a huge insult to the "ancients" to make it so that everyone was in the same canoe. Then it becomes completely about who has the better crew, and the canoe loses ALL of its importance. The canoe should be the focal point of outrigger canoeing and i think that when you impose regulations that makes it completely impossible to make any kind of radical innovations, then the canoe is not the focal point. You read old newspapers about races, and the focus was more on what canoes were winning then what crews were paddling them. And i know that a lot of that was lost with the advent of composite canoes and molds, because now there are a lot of identical canoes. But there could still be a lot more variety if people had a little more freedom. Look at how much freedom the OC-1 builders have, and look how many designs are out there. That's one of the coolest things about OC-1ing, is how many designs are out there, and how important the design is.
So... i think that paddling should be more about the outrigger canoe (which is what makes outrigger canoeing what it is) and less about the people in the canoe. But.. to a certain extent.

#26 Sun, 02/17/2008 - 11:17pm

Participation is the important thing. Getting people started in paddling is the key. It is the people in the canoe that is important, certainly not the canoe. Keeping people competitive (the paddler, not the canoe) purpetuates the sport. If someone has the latest design and appears faster, then the other clubs and their paddlers feel they can't be as fast so why bother to race the guys with more money. With OC6 canoes, there are a set of design rules. As Karel and Bradley have shown, there can be modifications. I agree with Raphael - some clubs have a hard time scratching money together for a new Mirage. So if there was a high tech OC6, most people/clubs/schools would be at a disadvantage because they couldn't afford it which could hurt the sports growth. Only the most wealthy clubs could afford the new canoes especially if design were to change significantly every year or two. Advancements in design and manufacturing can continue in the OC1 and OC2 canoes - it is competitive enough that the manufacturers will try to keep their prices as reasonable as possible.

#27 Mon, 02/18/2008 - 8:03am

I think it comes down to having equipment that is conducive with your water conditions and the local culture. (Believe it or not, but the early american indians along the california coast actually paddled and surfed thier canoes.) My point is, most canoes paddled in Cali are designed for Hawaiian waters/culture. We have completey different conditions here.
Just a s a super fast Tahitian "lagoon" canoe could not compete with a mirage crossing the Molokai channel in big conditions, neither could the mirage compete with the Tahitian canoe in flat water. They are condition specific. The conditions and culture in Cali are unique. We have a culture of innovation. We have totally different water conditions. We have a huge potential demographic. All this is part of what makes up California paddling. A "California" class boat is in keeping with the spirit of paddling.....IMHO.

#28 Mon, 02/18/2008 - 8:40am

getting off subject of this post, isn't the sport of paddling about the paddlers and not there equipment? someone posted earlier only the big money clubs will be able to afford these new technology boats, hence probably the clubs that are already beating everyone now. i think in a sport we need regulations, and i think paddling has some good ones to keep things in check, but what if things were to change in these regulations? how far will technology take this sport? pretty soon it won't be about paddling. as posted previously, people want rudders and kites?? whats that about. putting a kite on it is like having a sail. so it's more like sailing than paddling. the rudder makes it easier to steer so all six people are paddling? takes part of the tacticle part of steering out. i still think its all about the paddlers. previous post everyone talks about putting together a great hawaii team? nothing was said about innovation or equipment. thats why teams around the world, when they come to hawaii to race, they race in a mirage or bradley, but when we go to tahiti, we race in a tahitian boat, and not in one or ours? hence, it's always and should be about the paddlers.

#29 Mon, 02/18/2008 - 8:56pm

If your going space age, imagine the spider that walks on water like a try pod. but on his feet he has 3 wave blade two’s. and the three two man's use each other for balance. and one try yako's.holding it all together.war of the waters with a canoe dionetics club

#30 Tue, 02/19/2008 - 7:27am

  1. an unlimited class wouldn't replace all races that exist today. If you have the $$ to enter it, then do it, if you don't stick to regatta and long distance.
  2. If we want the sport to evolve and equipment to improve then an unlimited class would be an excellent vehicle for this. Boats and paddles would quickly evolve.
  3. Culture is a personal choice. Some of us choose to preserve it while others look to changing times.

4 I have to poop now.


#31 Tue, 02/19/2008 - 8:11am

Good point poopsie. The whole point of unlimited racing isn't to force everyone to paddle expensive boats. More so it is to let everyone paddle what they can afford or develop, therefor furthering the sport.

Plus, are there really any small clubs that compete to win races right now? Not many I'd say. Just take a look at the results of the Moloka'i or any other distance race from the past few years. Not sure any small clubs even won a race, if it happened at all.

In limited or unlimited categories, the top dogs would still be the top dogs.

#32 Tue, 02/19/2008 - 8:35am

Hey Scoops, you said
"isn’t the sport of paddling about the paddlers and not there equipment?"
But a paddler w/o a canoe is like a surfer w/o a board or a cyclist w/o a bike. You cant have one w/o the other. I think those in favor of an unlimited class are simply trying to give PADDLERS the most innovative equipment to push the sport of PADDLING to its highest possible level. Spec sports that require a governing body to enforce regulations tend to get bogged down by a beauracracy and inflated egos that inhibit the "spirit".......again, IMHO

#33 Tue, 02/19/2008 - 8:42am

Are we really worried that opening up canoe design is going to make all the boats too expensive to afford? That it's going to ruin the sport? For just about every other product manufactured in the western world, increasing the ability for production, and probability for innovation has, in the worst cases, maintained current pricing, and in the best cases, lowered the consumers' costs across the board.
In Tahiti there are dozens and dozens of one- and six-man (and three-man!) canoe builders, with minimal constraints put on their building and designing, and their boats aren't any more expensive than ours - but they are lighter, condition specific, more evolved... faster? Maybe.
I've heard people talk some $hit about the Tahitian paddlers before, but I've never heard anyone say that they're ruining/losing their culture, or abandoning their roots by staying on the cutting edge of canoe design.
Look at the specs that we are forced to adhere to. They were arbitrarily set up in modern times. And look where it's got us: there's currently TWO acceptable models out there. To me hasn't preserved "real" canoe design a bit.
What is it about a 45 foot long, fiberglass molded, CAD designed outrigger canoe that is "traditional" anyway? The look of it? Why don't we just cut out plastic Malia templates and glue them onto a Boston Whaler and call THAT a traditional Hawaiian outrigger? It has the same things in common with a koa canoe that a Mirage does at that point. If you want traditional, or "real", then get REAL. Paddle a koa boat. Don't get in your Bradley Lightning, and think that you are being more traditional than Team Livestrong.
It's possible to have open design specs, and not forget about the paddlers. Fifteen years ago on the Ala Wai, it wasn't all about the paddlers, or all about the boat. It was about the six of us AND the boat, each doing the best job we could to make us faster. Paddling a different boat didn't change that. And that's the way it should be. When we took our koa to States, no one complained about boat design, or said "they only won or lost because of the boat" and those boats were ALL different.
The only people who I can see with any reason to keep canoe design closed are Karel Sr. and Sonny Bradley. Are they the one's lobbying the HCRA to let the rest of the world leave Hawaii behind? I doubt it. Although, having more canoe designers/builders on the scene might initially take away some of their business, their obvious penchant for innovation should prevail in the end, and I see them both staying at the forefront.
In the rest of the Pacific, where the HCRA doesn't exert it's archaic influence, there's a myriad of boat designs. Builders aren't handcuffed to the regulations we are, and because of that there are many multiples more than in Hawaii. Outriggers of all sizes and designs are prolific and affordable. Everyone paddles. The culture has not been lost. It's still the paddlers that are fast, and not just the boats.



#34 Tue, 02/19/2008 - 9:46am

How long is the Kamanu shop ?

#35 Tue, 02/19/2008 - 9:54am

sorry guy mabey I should retract that last one ,my big mouth getting me in trouble again

#36 Wed, 02/20/2008 - 6:08am

Is "myriad" a noun or an adjective, 'cause I heard it used both ways. Just wondering...

#37 Wed, 02/20/2008 - 5:17pm

I'm relatively new to OC'ing, not new to boats. While I'm psyched to have discovered how cool this sport is and likely to stick with it longaspossible, I'm shocked at the incorrigible limitations of its leadership. One-design classes are essential to competition, so is unlimited. There should never be one without the other.

The blatant irony and hypocrisy is unbelievable, to point of being a strong turn off about this sport. And they want to see it an Olympic event???

Those who impose these limitations are no better than the kooks who invaded the islands and imposed their own provincial ignorance on indigenous (well, relatively indigenous) folks.

The very soul of boats is in design, development, and improvement. The awesome part of it all is for every improvement you make in one direction, you worsen performance in another. There is an endless cycle of creativity to be expressed; it's just plain awesome. But to limit it arbitrarily and call that "custom"?

My not-so-humble opinion is that all they are doing is disparaging the very people they say they are honoring.

Can you imagine an ancient OC builder transported to a beach with a bunch of Mirage's & Bradley's about? At first they'd be stoked to see the sleek lines and strange material. But my guess is after that wore off they'd wonder why we're not taking advantage of these materials and so many centuries of naval architecture development. They may have had less to work with back then but they were damn clever people.

Haven't paddled a Koa yet but man that must be so damn cool. There's room for everything on the water, except restriction.

#38 Wed, 02/20/2008 - 6:01pm

"What would the ancients do?" That is the question I ask a lot......and then I realize "we" would be doing the same things we are doing now. As a Native American i ponder the thought on how I can justify cutting down a 300 to 500 year old tree so that I can make my canoe. I can't justify it and I can't afford it. Our ancestors, the "ancients" did the same thing as we do now. We take ancient designs that were developed over the course of two to three thousand years and we apply modern materials that help in terms of speed, maintenance, availability and sustainability. Mainly speed, availability and maintenance...sustainability unfortunately is an afterthought...but should be a higher priority. You can see it in terms of the koa canoe and it being hard to get one. The ability of the canoe is to promote health, teamwork, trade and culture. The rest is just sea foam.

I am all for dugouts and koa canoes, because we have to remember that specific tree's destiny was to become a canoe for the people. That it was alive once and is now our canoe. So we take care of it better, we give it a name, we teach all of the little cultural taboos that go along with it, and we tell ancient stories about it and our people and our reliance upon them. It is a humbling experience...and that is what we sometimes forget when we have a canoe that isn't a dugout or koa canoe. We start placing emphasis on how to go faster. Other than all that I am still about going faster .....i am forced by people much younger than i am on what everything means...when they ask.

#39 Wed, 02/20/2008 - 6:19pm

Funny,we have all this talk of the cost of new canoes and it's restriction on clubs. But no one mentioned the fact that all clubs large, small, rich, or poor, are required by the HCRA to paddle the most expensive canoes possible every year at State Championships. Yet somehow everyone makes due...

Don't get me wrong, there is always a time and place for racing in a koa. The koa division at races can still be kept alive along side an unlimited class.

#40 Wed, 02/20/2008 - 11:07pm

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