Tahitian design canoes

Heres some pics of that 197lb tahitian design canoe. I saw it in kona last year, I was so impressed by the design and workmanship I had to get some photos of it. I Also spoke to some of the guys who paddled in it and they were amazed by how fast it gets up to speed.

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Submitted by 808waa on Tue, 06/17/2008 - 8:45pm

Nice. Check the rigging... doesn't get much better then that.

#1 Tue, 06/17/2008 - 8:47pm

Tui Tonga used a couple of these canoes in the Kawaihae Long Distance Race. Of course, they were animals, but still, the boat ran so fast. It was funny watching the crew paddle up to the boat ramp, jump out, and just carry it up and onto their trailer.

#2 Tue, 06/17/2008 - 8:59pm

Thats one of Bill Rosehills canoes, he and another canoe builder, from tahiti also made a few other tahitian designed canoes , I think Waikoloa canoe club purchased a popler (wood) canoe that he built last year. They along with Livestrong are putting more open class canoes in the long distance races, they are actually being classified as non traditional canoes in the big Island races. mailto:konakanu@hotmail.com

#3 Tue, 06/17/2008 - 10:15pm

It amazes me that some people are against canoes like this for "traditions" sake. Do they really think that if 100 years ago a crew was offered a canoe like this, they would have turned it down?

#4 Wed, 06/18/2008 - 3:38am

I think the canoes we race today is designed this way because they were not given a chance to evolve. The hawaiians of old would have wanted the fastest canoes possible. The tahitians never stopped paddling, so their canoes continue to evolve into faster designs. The tahitians are fast because Its not just a sport to them, its a way of life. Alot of them paddle because thats their mode of transportation. I know this for a fact.

#5 Wed, 06/18/2008 - 6:27am

Jibofo, good point. Like our fiberglass canoe's are traditional to canoes like shown above. Insane.


#6 Wed, 06/18/2008 - 7:50am

Are there any trends in Hawaii to changing the requirements? Personally I don't see a problem with tradition, but it would be nice to be able to train and race in those 200lb boats. They look pretty sweet. Not to mention poopoopaddler's point. The current boats are made of fiberglass. How is that a traditional material?

#7 Wed, 06/18/2008 - 8:28am

Good for the Kona boys. Karel ain't doing nothing....Bradley ain't doing nothing, I'm glad someone is.

I posted a while back, asking the Kamanu compoiste boys to consider popping out open class boats. Call them Tahitian, Samoan, Fijian, Maori...whatever, just start a movement towards speed. Now, all the Kona boys need to do is pop out a mold....as the saying goes....if you build it, they will come....

It is going to explode. Give it 2-3 years. Karel and Bradley had better get on the band wagon because I believe paddling in Hawaii will be taking a radical turn.....to me, for the better.

#8 Wed, 06/18/2008 - 9:30am

On the Island of Hawaii, the Moku O Hawaii (racing association) just recently created an unlimited class division with no weight or lenght restrictions. So its starting to move in the right direction, put your lightest and fastest canoe on the line. I remember when Lanikai brought their tahitian designed canoe to the Liliuokalani race a few years ago, nobody said oh here comes an illigal entry, all they were saying on the pier was WOW that canoe is fast!

#9 Wed, 06/18/2008 - 9:31am

Personally, I'm a big fan of class boat racing for regatta. Meaning, everyone has the same boat and we see who's the best crew. For distance, do what you like. There are already different divisions like Hawaiian Class Racer, Koa, etc.. My only worry for regatta is that the big clubs will be in an arms race, always buying the newest, fastest boat and the smaller clubs will be left behind. Keep regatta in Koa's unless everyone can decide on a lighter weight limit and is ready to buy new boats.

#10 Wed, 06/18/2008 - 9:58am

There's a way around the "arms race". Its used to a degree in motorcycle racing, and some other sports. "Claiming races".
The association assigns a value that applies to all canoes. Let's say $20,000 (but it could be more, or could be less). A club can spend whatever it wants on a canoe, but if they win a race, the canoe can be claimed by any losing club for for the assigned price ($20,000 in this case).
If Lanikai spent 75,000 for a 150 lb. star wars canoe and won, any other club could claim that canoe for $20,000.
Firstly it puts a damper on rich clubs spending unlimited funds to win, and secondly it gives smaller clubs a chance to get the trickest canoes for a more reasonable amount.

#11 Wed, 06/18/2008 - 10:24am

Old time Island people (read 'traditional' mentality) had no knowledge of
modern aircraft materials technology - their watercraft materials technology
was based on natural fibres ( read WOOD).

Tahitian 197 lb /6man canoes are made of wood , note, and if you do the
arithmetic then this weight equates to 32lb for a solo canoe.

Seems the Tahitian concept of OC is a well-balanced perspective - not
varying between extremes, from ancient maximums (400 lb koas) to 20lb solo
sit-ons built like model aeroplanes.

Nothing wrong with a 197 lb carbon fibre canoe - it would just be overkill
compared to the wooden one of same weight in terms of performance, but would
sure be indestructible.

#12 Wed, 06/18/2008 - 10:41am

Lonomakana.....I too want all the same boats at the state regatta. It can be done NOW. Let island associations do what they do, keep the koa boats going. When it comes to States, put everyone in the same boats. It can be done.
1. pick a fiberglass boat (Mirage or Bradley) to use.
2. make sure all the same weight & rig.
3. follow World Sprint race format and divisions.

Small clubs no need the burden of borrowing or buying a koa boat.
Big clubs no need the burden of lending out their treasures.
Cost to ship koa to races, insure & maintain are prohibitive.
All the islands have enough fiberglass boats to be able to put on the line for the races.

Just makes sense to move on instead of following the old format.

#13 Wed, 06/18/2008 - 11:16am

Great discussion, if people keep a positive outlook on forward movement and evolution of canoe racing good things will happen. I too have a great respect for the traditional koa canoe, and see the importance of keeping traditions.

#14 Wed, 06/18/2008 - 11:36am

Thanx for the pics. She's a beauty.
Its hard to tell, but it appears that the hull is "rounder" than many of the Tahitian canoes Ive seen......is that the case and why so? Did you guys start from scratch with this boat or take dimensions from an existing canoe?

#15 Wed, 06/18/2008 - 1:49pm

She sure is beautiful,
I can't say why the hull is "rounder" but I know you can ask the builder yourself. I'm sure he'll be glad to answer any questions about canoe designs, his name is Bill Rosehill and can be reached at konakanu@hotmail.com

#16 Wed, 06/18/2008 - 5:09pm

Was he the guy who built the Livestrong canoe? We were lined up next to it at the start for Queen Lili'uokalani. Looked like a rocket ship just sitting there. They pretty much dropped us in 5-10 strokes.

#17 Wed, 06/18/2008 - 5:23pm


No, the livestrong canoes were built by a tahitian canoe builder, whose name is Phillipe Bernardino he has his own canoe club in tahiti called TEVA. Wouldn't it be nice to do some races in these tahitian designed canoes. I'm not talking about regattas, that should remain traditional canoe designs (preferably KOA) but distance races should open up a new division, whatever you got, bust it out. Theres canoe clubs that I know of, that has tahitian designed canoes, Lanikai, Livestrong, Kona Athletics (bills club) I don't know if Keahiakahoe has one but I know they have a strong connection to Tahiti. I know there's alot of interest out there I see heads turn when one of these canoes go zooming by. More interest, more canoes on the starting line.

#18 Wed, 06/18/2008 - 7:17pm


Yes, my canoes are "rounder", and for a specific purpose.....efficiency and manuverablity, resulting in far less drag and resistence than any other design on the race course. Though this may, at first glance, sound arrogant, it is a fact. My designs have been solely available to my canoe club and a few outside crews. After more than 2 decades of persistence by paddlers who have personally experienced my canoes first hand, I have decided to share my canoes on the open market.
My 197lb. canoe was started from scratch using known and proven design criteria. I copy no one. I am not in the R&D mode. I am building canoes specifically for the current active paddling athlete to get from start to finish in the shortest time ever posted, period. My design has stood up to anything for the last 21 years. I only now have the desire to market it.
I thank those who have informed me of this forum, and thank those who have personally witnessed, experienced, and spoken favorably of my canoes.
Best wishes to all in the sport.

#19 Wed, 06/18/2008 - 11:22pm

That livestrong boat was beautiful. Shoulda seen the same boat but in a 4 man. They look like torpedoes in the water. Not to take from the purpose of this thread because I agree with moving toward lighter canoes, but that ultra fast/light livestrong boat filled with mostly tui tonga paddlers only finished a few seconds ahead of a tui tonga canoe filled with more tui tonga paddlers.

#20 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 2:00am

I dont see too any paddlers on 1 mans arguing to "keep it traditional". Plenty of ultralight double carbon canoes rolling around these waters.

#21 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 2:04am

A truely beautiful canoe. Now, what we're all wondering, what is an approximate price for a canoe like that?

#22 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 2:42am

Two years ago, we built one for Waikoloa CC for $17,500. Since we depend on oil to bring in just about everything needed to build such a craft, I'm sure the material cost today would be greater though I haven't looked in to it recently.
As you can see, building a canoe like this, strip by strip, is far more laborious than laying one up in a mold. If there is enough demand, I could mold either or both canoes I have of this design and produce them in fiberglass.
I also have an HCRA legal mold that is quicker/more efficient in every aspect than any other like designed OC6. I am currently finishing the first two out of this mold. When this is done, I will have a website up.
Thanks for your interest.

#23 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 6:47am

My 197lb. canoe came about simply b/c I wanted a "toy" to go screaming down the Kona coastline here with a bunch of friends having a "fun" time. There was no intention to make a division in our races for it. Waikoloa CC, owners of a 305lb. OC6, proposed an "unlimited" division that was voted favorably in our Big Island racing association. This division has no weight, length, or design restrictions; but must be 6-man with iakos spread apart by at least one seat.
I have inquiries, as well as personal desire, for 3 and 4-man canoes....very doable.

#24 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 7:45am

Both Livestrong canoes (named after Braddah Nate's son, Noa, who is autistic) are 400 lbs. Phillipe used thicker poplar strips to meet the specs required for the Liliuokalani race. The designs of these canoes are closer to what they are using in Tahiti today, where boat designs are constantly evolving.
There is an ongoing argument for and against these non-traditional canoes. Both sides have good points. But either way, they are fun to paddle.

#25 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 7:47am

very cool discussion...I'm guessing they had to really clean out that canoe after their runin with that "sea-monster"...WTF!

#26 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 8:01am

Use of the term, "non-traditional" is misleading to many. To most, it refers to the "above waterline" appearance or look of the canoe, especially the decking. The decking serves to hold the canoe together should a 200+lb. paddler pull himself in on a change. If not for the decking, the strips could likely be pulled off when making such a change. So indeed, we are looking at a "non-traditional" look not common with our Hawaiian canoe design built from a log. However, the 'above waterline look' has nothing to do with how good or bad, fast or slow, the canoe is. It is what's 'below the waterline' that counts and, 'below the waterline' is a combination of both Hawaiian and Tahitian design features. In conclusion, although it is referred to as a "non-traditional" canoe, it in fact, really isn't.

#27 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 8:13am

one could even argue that a strip built wood canoe is more traditional than a molded fiberglass one. since people often claim there is more "soul" to these wooden boats.

damn that livestrong boat looks wicked. must be the black stealthiness of it. nice wood finish on your canoe though bill. something to be said for a boat that also looks like a work of art.

#28 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 10:29am


It's a treat to see what you are doing.

Agreed! The technicalities of what constitutes a 'traditional' canoe can be
misleading - when it comes to the 'SPIRIT' of traditional canoes then I
think that you are on the right page.

A wooden dugout is as traditional as can be. But because wastage of old
trees does not fit with the spirit of outrigger canoeing, then laminating
fibres (in strips of vegetable fibre or even synthetic fibres) using modern
adhesives, is surely the best thing to do.

#29 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 11:05am

Hey Bill, Thanks for the response.
You said: "Yes, my canoes are “rounder”, and for a specific purpose…..efficiency and manuverablity, resulting in far less drag and resistence" How does more round translate into efficiency and manuverablity? Specifically compared to the Tahitan canoes designed and built by Atak (sp?) I notice that many of the Tahitian boats have a sort of bulge at the waterline. Why is that? Are your boats faster than the Tahitians and if so why? Is it the roundness alone or the rocker and ????????

#30 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 11:30am

I think the price for the canoe is a good deal considering the amount of work involved compared to a molded one.

#31 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 11:32am

jc9 0,

Thank you for your comments.


I agree with you as well.


If I answered you in this open forum, I'd be giving away my design characteristics to competing builders. I hope you can appreciate my need to keep my knowledge of design confidential. I will say I have a variety of design characteristics working together in various locations of the hull. You ask the right questions, tho'. Thank you.


Thank you.

#32 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 6:47pm

Ikaika, that is one sic pic! If i'm not mistaken, that is Lance Armstrong paddling in seat 4 with a nice set-up on his entry. Actually, I think Lance is sitting in five - trying to recall another photo I saw of the crew from da side.

Darn, thee whales just have to get in the way of an other wise perfect shot of the beautiful canoe and surrounding ocean!

Its nice having varieties of canoes and designs to see.

Mahalo nui for sharing the pics from the Tahitian one as well!

#33 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 7:57pm

"I hope you can appreciate my need to keep my knowledge of design confidential"

Yes, of course, no worries. I dont mean to pry......well, actually I do:-) But If possible, can you discuss some general theories? The "Tradition" thing has done well to maintain and protect, but its stiffled important discussion.......imho. It would be great to generate some open dialogue to help propel canoe design and ultimately the sport.

#34 Fri, 06/20/2008 - 6:00am

When the Tahitians beat us in Moloka'i in 1976, HCRA came up with the existing waterline specs for two reasons: so the Tahitians could never come back and beat us again in our home waters, and to preserve the traditional Hawaiian canoe. Both aren't working. The specs were derived from measuring existing koa canoes. The problem with that was all the existing koa canoes at the time were either old fishing or surfing canoes. Hawaiians of old used these utility canoes for recreational racing. They weren't designed specifically for racing. So what HCRA has done was to perserve designs of ancient fishing canoes. When I was on the hull specs committee in the 70's with Gale Berengue, I told them they should be called HFCRA, Haw'n Fishing Canoe Racing Assoc. To this day they don't like me. And to this day, I stand behind that comment. And you haven't see Gale or myseIf on that committee since. If Kamehameha were alive today, he would enlist the best racing canoe builder in the land to design and build him the swiftest racing canoe possible. And I guarantee you it wouldn't be a fishing/surfing hull design. Many paddlers today are not aware that the HCRA specs literally make for a slow moving canoe. We must remember, that design served a different purpose hundreds of years ago. And if there still existed fishing villages along rocky coastlines, that design would still be functional today.
Fastforward to today........we use our canoes exclusively for racing. Therefore, in my opinion, we should be in racing hulls, not fishing hulls. My koa canoes have the same design characteristics as my "Tahitian" hulls. If you recall, the "Tahitian" look is simply the "above-the-waterline" look. The hull is every bit Hawaiian.
I have a koa and a glass replica of this koa that both have manus and the appearance of a "traditional" canoe so it is 'legal' to race. However, if I put a deck on it like my strip canoes, it would not be considered a traditional koa/glass and would not be allowed to race against other koas. The hull design is no different than my strip canoes. This tells you that the people who are enforcing rules, etc., don't know how to identify the difference in hulls, other than to look at the above-the-waterline appearance. And I am not the only club with canoes like this.
Some of my design traits are extinct. I use them b/c they serve now, and served then, a specific function in the speed, efficiency, and manueverablity of a hull. B/c I am getting older, I have an obligation to keep these forgotten aspects of our sport alive. I also have rigging techinques known to no one else I must now pass on over time. I have begun to do this. And there is a proper way to treat our canoes which I don't see happening by the majority in our sport. I am making efforts to turn this around. Our kupuna who have passed over are shaking their heads.
Enuff for now..........

#35 Fri, 06/20/2008 - 7:20am

Bill makes a really good point that most paddlers aren't aware of. I raced with the Beach Boys the year the Tahitians kicked our okole with their Tahitian design canoe, and I remember watching the HCRA officials at the Ala Wai boat house taking measurements of Papaloa, Ho'olale and Malolo. If I remember my history lessons, the first canoe specifically built for racing was th A' (or A'a). It use to be hanging in the Bishop Museum. That canoe was long compared to the other koa canoes, but it was hanging off the ceiling so you couldn't really look at the lines of the hull. Bill, mahalo for sharing this tidbit of information with the group.

#36 Fri, 06/20/2008 - 7:43am

"Many paddlers today are not aware that the HCRA specs literally make for a slow moving canoe"

Bill, I think most of us actually are.......I remember when I first had to carry a canoe down the beach. At the time I was building monocoque carbon car bodies. I couldnt understand why they werent using readily available materials and techniques to construct a lighter canoe........that alone would increase speed.

#37 Fri, 06/20/2008 - 9:44am

In the same way that the paddler is the prime factor in combination with his boat’s performance, the canoe builder’s talent is important to the canoe’s production.
If there is any ‘traditional’ aspect of outrigger canoeing that it is worth preserving, then it has got to be the one which allows a master builder to have his canoes raced, rather than preserve the lines of some fishing canoe while promoting a culture that is far from Island tradition.
It must be frustrating to be in an environment where you hear talk about copying these fishing canoes design but reproducing them in excessively expensive aerospace materials to improve performance. This kind of talk has it’s origins in the heads of those that called the first Molokai winning Tahitian canoes “half breeds”.
If ever there is a ‘half breed canoe’ then it is the product of robotic action resulting from information being fed into a computer, which pops a floating thing off a production line staffed by cheap labour who have no affinity to the Ocean.

#38 Fri, 06/20/2008 - 11:24am

A few comments....

  1. Tahitian boats are definately rounder under the waterline. It's their bows and sterns that separate them from the one's in Hawaii....and weight.
  2. Mirage is totally flat. The new Mirage that Karel had Outrigger in, in last years Molokai Hoe is wider than the older Mirages, and I would assume just as flat.
  3. Bradley's are more rounded with more of a pronounced rocker. The Mirage rocker is gradual, from about mid point all the way back to the stearn.
  4. LiveStrong used their canoe in the Maui to Molokai race last year and got SMOKED by Hawaiian Canoe Club in their Mirage. Granted, Hawaiian probably had better paddlers in their canoe, but wouldn't the Livestrong boat....if it is suppose to be that fast....negate that edge?
  5. My ideal design?? Take the Fusion, blow it up for six guys and keep the chines....:). Oh yeah, have it weigh 200 lbs.

and the debate goes on.......I do know that Bill R. boat named the "Opae" is probably one of the fastest flat water boat in Hawaii that holds true to the so called Hawaiian Design. That boat rocks!! Don't know how it handles in the surf.

Jaws Out.

#39 Fri, 06/20/2008 - 12:55pm

Didn't the Livestrong guys go iron from Maui to Molokai?

Bill's boats are gorgeous! I really love the finish. How long does it take to make one of them? How many people? Maybe with all your knowledge you should write a book. It would be a treasured article in the Hawaiian culture.

Ikaika, that picture is absolutely crazy! I'd panic. How close was that whale? Who are those paddlers?

#40 Fri, 06/20/2008 - 1:53pm

RatchetJaws brings up some good points here and with respect to the fourth point - paddling skill versus boat design, we get into another realm of discussion:

(1) the drag coefficient differences between the two hull designs (and surface composition of the material in contact with the water)
(2) the differences in paddling technique that contribute to the magnitude of the drag force (Fd) change - for better or for worst.

In a long distance race, I suspect the accumulated effect of less than efficient technique on the drag forces can easily negate any design advantage (drag Coefficient (Cd)) of the canoe that the less skilled crew is using. The two canoes would have to be disproportionately obvious to observe any performance advantage given the differences in skill levels.

I suspect Keizo could give a better insight in this subject area.

This is a related but not kinda related, just interesting if you're into this Cd stuff:

#41 Fri, 06/20/2008 - 2:27pm

Great link Kala,

Are there any sites for fluid dynamics for semi-submerged hulls. I wish i lived by a river and could hook up a line scale to a one man, and test different one man hulls and see which one produces the least amount of force on the scale. Anyone ever try something like that. Or in one of those small pools where you swim in place.

#42 Fri, 06/20/2008 - 3:20pm

All of you are commended for being on the right track.

No sense writing a book if those in control are closed minded.

My "Opae" handles rough water as well as she does the flat. Crews that I either pass or are behind me in rough water (headwind/chop, side chop, or surf) conditions have come to me after the races commending her performance. She is off my koa, Makoa. These are the two canoes I earlier referred to.

It takes a week to a month, or more, to make a strip canoe depending on the number of people helping.

Hopefully, one day things in this sport will change. Until then we are in an uphill struggle.

#43 Fri, 06/20/2008 - 3:44pm

This is just slightly overkill, but this link talks about submerged as well as semi-submerged water tank testing of fluid dynamics but the text contained also illustrates the complexities involved in this area...a great bedtime reading for keikis and adults alike =)

I'm not sure how many ppl on here paddle in K-1, Olympic style flatwater kayaks, but some of those kayak design evolutions were inspired by R & D outcomes of the work of Composite Engineering - Ted Van Dusen and associates when they incorporated aeronautical engineering concepts to kayak designs for the 1988 Olympics, using water tank testing and computational models. In a sport where hundredth of a second can mean the difference between Gold and bronze, design helps - I believe that was the only Olympics where the U.S. Canoe and Kayak Team actually came in first in two events.

If you have a chance, take a look at the underside of these K-1s. Its quite a marvel how people can balance in them.

#44 Fri, 06/20/2008 - 3:55pm

Wow, cool discussion. Even up here in the northwest, we paddle under archaic OHCRAesque design rules. Goto and I tried to convince our gang to purchase a "va'a" type six-man in the interest of going faster, having more fun, and winning races (unofficially). No luck this time, although everyone knows this is where it's headed. I think it will ultimately be up to the paddlers themselves to change things.

#45 Fri, 06/20/2008 - 3:57pm

Bingo, Jim!!

#46 Fri, 06/20/2008 - 4:10pm

I think that the good point that is coming out of this thread is that so far no one has spoken out against these "new" canoes. If we as paddlers all want them, hopefully we will be able to change the rules in the near future.
mcpi's idea on testing hull drag should be simple to do. I wonder if we are talking differences of several percent or more, or just fractions of a percent.

#47 Fri, 06/20/2008 - 5:25pm

Jibofo, thats what i would like know what are the real, differences, and how significant are they.

Keep up the good positive attitude everyone!!! Good things will come.

#48 Fri, 06/20/2008 - 5:46pm

F%$k the rules! Just do it. Did the Lankai boys care about the rules when they raced their Tahitian boat in Kona a few years ago?? No they didn't. So what happened, the year after they did it, someone else had a Tahitian designed boat and joined them. Now, more people are talking about joining them in Kona this year. Paddlers just need to be able to get these boats. Right now no one call a boat builder and order a boat. Anyone know if I can call the Livestrong guys and order a boat?? I started a thread a while back telling the Kamanu composite boys to venture into this arena.

Now is the time...if you build it, they will come....

Jaws Out.....

#49 Sat, 06/21/2008 - 9:35pm

There is always the possibility that a break-down of ruling opens the way
for performance advantage in the form of a design offshoot -- many boat
shaped things float (eg. lightweight turds) without being canoes, and as
long as an ama is attached then there is a way to have 'outrigger ' status.

Sit-ons are not dugout canoes but two iakos and single bladed paddles made
them elligable as outriggers, so the next thing could be a 6man outriggers
craft on similar lines. Possibly a kneel-on thing with two iakos plus ama
and paddled with single blades.

Computer generated data will no doubt help to produce a wider shape with
flatter bottom contours than traditional vaa - maybe even having chines where PVC foam sheets
crease when folded to a 'canoe' shape, with volume in the tail to get lift
in the bumps.

Recognizing Tahitian vaa as traditional canoes would help to prevent such
things happening.


#50 Sun, 06/22/2008 - 11:34am

....."prevent such
things happening"

Im not so sure thats a good idea. Granted I have no desire to paddle with a turd under me.....no offense poo, .....I am not so sure that the "Tahitian" type canoe is the pinnacle of outrigger design. I'd like to see it opened up to all concepts/designs. The er, um, shitty ones will be eliminated.

#51 Sun, 06/22/2008 - 1:06pm

,,,,,,"Tahitian type vaa - not sure that 'Tahitian' type canoe is the pinnacle
of outrigger design. I (Aquafiend) would like to see it opened up to all
concepts/designs - the shitty ones will be eliminated."

If "shitty" means slow, then as far as solo craft go, outrigger-less ones
are generally quicker. Could just be the same with a 6 man craft, if some
new type boat is created to prove the point.

But as far as outriggers go, a Tahitian vaa meets the requirements for a
craft needing an ama in order to float right side up, as well as suit single
blade ergonomics, Design freedom is not restricted to any regional
tradition, and weight is not unreasonably imposing . Sure! removing all
weight restrictions will make acceleration more rapid, and the structural
limits can be stretched to achieve so called optimum performance while
boosting the costs to disproportional height..... Is a classic car racing class
worthless because there is an Indycar class? Or is there any point in
putting a Nascar body on an Indycar, other than to make an entirely new

Waka, vaa, vaka are after all dugout canoes with outriggers.

#52 Sun, 06/22/2008 - 6:34pm


The reason Lanikai brougt their Tahitian canoe to Kona a few years ago was because they had witnessed Bill Rosehill's original Tahitian canoe entered in Liliu'okalani since 1998. Bill entered his canoe back then when it was a LEGAL canoe under the "Open" classification in the MOKU race rules. Kai 'Opua never gave him recognition for it all those years because he never had an "elite" crew to race it to finish near the top. He simply raced with the local Firemen. Only when Lanikai brought theirs and blew everyone away, was Kai 'Opua forced to "save face" and recognize them for, if they didn't, they'd be hard pressed to answer West Hawaii Today newspaper why they disqualified the first place overall winner. I, myself, raced in Bill's Tahitian canoe a few years back and got no recognition of even participating in the Lili'o race yet Tui Tonga was recognized. Is that because I didn't have an 'elite' crew like Tui Tonga? What does that say for Kai 'Opua?
Recognition and credit goes to Bill for having the foresight to take this sport to another level 11 years ago. Even when MOKU changed the rules on him several years back, Bill said F%$k the rules, just do it. I know Bill, he's here to have a good time racing fast canoes until his lifetime in this life terminates.
I don't know if you can order a canoe from Livestrong but, their canoes are also strip plank canoes that have been body worked and then painted to look as sleek as they are. It's clear that Bill's wood work is of a finer quality not requiring additional cost to make them look good. Bill also said earlier he could mold his canoes to make them in fiberglass at a cheaper cost to us. Many here on the Big Island are aware of his long history for fast canoes whether koa, glass, or Tahitian. He has brought his Tahitian canoes to our regattas for people to try. I did, and we were all impressed.

#53 Sun, 06/22/2008 - 9:25pm

I appreciate your knowledge of the history and your support.

To illustrate what we're up against with fast canoes, altho' I paid entry in Liliu'o in the early years with a legal Open class canoe, Kai 'Opua (KO) never put me on the results sheet. So I figured, no sense pay entry fee if I'll never see my placement. I race anyway....the h@** with KO. The MOKU Board (which I am one) never had the balls to tell KO they had no right to not recognize me.
I believe this happens b/c of envy. KO doesn't have one of these fast canoes so they don't want the possiblity of being beat by one. And, if those in control can't get any brownie points (recognition for making these canoes happen) to boost their egos, they are against it. B/c the HCRA specs are the brainchild of those long ago, they hold on to it as their 'claim to fame' to the detriment of the sport.

We will need a new Association with a Board w/o egos looking out for the interests of the paddlers.

The class has been in the HCRA rules for 30+ years. Has anyone raced one of these canoes on Oahu yet?

#54 Mon, 06/23/2008 - 5:15pm

This is a cute discussion!!

Where cute is defined as ugly but interesting.

We are evolving away from socialism. I am simple and I know it.

I paddle therefore I am.

We need to move on from the classic rules based oc6.

I am thinking; 40 lb oc6 with wing keel on the ama and sufski paddles instead of outrigger paddles!!

bring it on!!!!!

#55 Tue, 06/24/2008 - 3:33am

Thanks, mac--right on!!
After lurking at the fringes of this forum this thread finally got me to join.
Every newcomer who asks which canoe he should get gets raked over and told "its the paddler not the canoe" . If this is so then what dif if we all paddle Malias or Mirages or Bradleys or whatever as long as there is some rule which keeps some evenness in the preformance of the canoes and then we go paddle. A quick look at history of rating rules in sailboats shows what an arms race it can become. If your club struggles to come up with the money to purchase a new Lighting think what it would cost to purchase a new "one off " canoe to keep up with the big boys. At the upper levels it could be like the Americas Cup with the big boys all searching for that one little design advantage to give them the win. Think expensive! I don't think that is where this sport should go. Lets paddle and train and then win because we-not our canoe-are the fastest.
that's my rant for the day!

#56 Tue, 06/24/2008 - 5:50am

Price can be an issue but there are ways around that.
The real issue is fun. We paddle because we enjoy it. Going faster is more fun. Paddling a canoe that drops in on a swell easier is more fun. Getting a 200 pound canoe into the water is less hassle than getting a 400 pound canoe into the water and therefore less of a detriment to having fun.
Deliberately trying to limit new designs and ideas is not the way to go.

#57 Tue, 06/24/2008 - 6:00am

To make sense of this discussion it may be good to mention a simple fact -
for thousands of years Pacific Islanders have built outriggers canoes (
traditionally named waka, vaka and vaa). This is what OC is about.

This same type of canoe can be built weighing 200lbs - costing more than
wood/epoxy, if built in carbon/resin and less if built in glass/resin.

So there seems to be no reason why Tahitian type canoes are in any way a
problem if the min weight limit is 200lbs - except that some people want to
paddle a craft that does not necessarily suit this class.

These people could go and build another type of craft to prove that they
actually are faster than OC's, just like people build surfskis and then show
that they are faster than vaa . But if they are faster by nature, why would
they want to compete with the slower class anyway?

#58 Tue, 06/24/2008 - 10:10am

This sport is not your average everyday mode of competition. there is too much tradition, and too much history embodied by outrigger paddling to consider it just a "sport". Hopefully every time you get into your canoe, whether to race or practice, or just for a run with your friends, you give some nod of acknowledgment to this.
All competitive sports need rules. We need regulations to legitimize the wins, the records, and the athletic performances by the incredible people that we all get to paddle with. But this is not sailing. This is not swimming, or bike racing, or javelin throwing, or hot-dog eating. There is no history to preserve, and no traditions to honor in those sports. The rules are there with nothing in mind but sport and fairness in competition. That is the way it should be - for those sports.
We have a much more difficult task. We have to race each other, fairly, but at the same time, always hold reverence for the ingenious design of our craft.
Do I know what the best way to do this is? I'm sorry that I don't. But the idea of freezing canoe design, which at the time, had already been modified and modernized, is completely idiotic. The HCRA race canoe specs are not only completely arbitrary, but they are not even based (as previously pointed out by BillRosehill) on a racing design.
I was told recently by one of BillRosehill's colleagues, about a search for a fast racing canoe to fit the HCRA specs in the early 80's. Master canoe builders from the S. Pacific were all asked to build a racer that would be fast, and fit the measurements only recently established by the HCRA as the "definition" of a Hawaiian outrigger. They took one look at the numbers and said it couldn't be done. There is nothing they could do with these specs that would be able to compete design-wise, with the boats that they were already building at the time, in freer paddling circles.
In one-man paddling, it IS the paddler, and not the boat. Well, maybe if you're racing an Arrow against a Fusion, it's the boat... but, today's top designs: Pueo, Scorpius, Zephyr, Wainui... each boat different, each boat suited for specific conditions, each boat made for a different paddler. They highlight the athlete, and at their heart they are outrigger canoes.
In six-man, what do we currently have? TWO acceptable designs - neither one more traditional than any one-man, but BOTH of them handcuffed by the HCRA. And BOTH of them light-years behind what the rest of Polynesia is racing in.


#59 Tue, 06/24/2008 - 11:24am

Sound statement. But as someone who has raced bikes for 35 years, I would argue that bike racing has a long cultural history with very strong traditions. Now, hot dog eating, I'm not so sure about.

#60 Tue, 06/24/2008 - 12:19pm

I agree with you, Jibofo. Bicycle racing does have a long cultural history with strong traditions. The arguments over what to accept as appropriate vehicle design is similar in both sports. See what happened to Graeme Obree when he tried to change the rules in that sport! Seems that the racing sports rooted in a long cultural history can have some of the craziest (made up) rules... (case in point with Graeme).

#61 Tue, 06/24/2008 - 12:54pm

...as long as we can agree that the rules are crazy...

#62 Tue, 06/24/2008 - 1:50pm

Sorry jibofo, while I agree biking has history it pales compared to polynesians packing up their canoes and taking of into the unknown to look for a new place to settle. Can't remember when the last tribe anywhere on this planet put all their fate, with a lot of faith, on their bicycles to "pedal" towards an unknown future.

I ride a bike for cross training :)

#63 Tue, 06/24/2008 - 2:41pm

Well said as usual, Sir.

#64 Tue, 06/24/2008 - 2:46pm

Tahitian 6's are apparently not subject to crazy rules, but there is
possibly an issue when it comes to solo's.

Perhaps someone -- Hiro C , maybe - can say what the Tahitian stance is on
sit-ons with amas.

I may be wrong, but it seems that all vaa are of the same specification in
terms of hull classification - this being that all are like dugouts, and not
just boat shaped floating bodies.

Based on the inherited concept, the canoe form can hold water as well as
displace it.

#65 Tue, 06/24/2008 - 3:00pm

Tahitian designed, timber canoe from Australia.


#66 Tue, 06/24/2008 - 3:40pm

Wow, I never thought of it that way, Goodwaka. That is a very pertinent point!

#67 Tue, 06/24/2008 - 3:48pm

The name 'waka' actually means a long narrow trough like receptacle, which
is the primeval boat.

I have not been able to afford going to Tahiti, and find out exactly how
they see things now, so would appreciate a word on this matter from a
Tahitian member. But the difference between a Tahitian vaa and a sit-on is
evident since they class a V1 as a dugout.

#68 Tue, 06/24/2008 - 4:58pm

Yes bikes only go back a couple of hundred years compared to thousands for canoes. But in that relatively short period cycling (bike racing) has formed a very rich and tradition bound culture.
And don't forget, if it wasn't for bikes, women would probably still be wearing long hoop skirts (pantaloons were scandalous when women started wearing them to ride) and even more important, the development of paved roads was brought about by pressure from the League of American Wheelman (cyclists), not by the development of cars.
As for "pedaling off towards an unknown future", that pretty much describes our usual Sunday 85-135 mile death ride.

#69 Tue, 06/24/2008 - 5:07pm


#70 Tue, 06/24/2008 - 5:15pm

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