OC 1 - Which Traditon Does It Belong To ?

Was it developed as a:
- a surfski with an outrigger
- a modified Tahitian V 1 modified with a rudder
- a different boat class all together
- surfboard with outrigger
- a shortened OC 6

All the answers are in part right. To which tradition would Hawaiian OC 1 belong ?

For me it does not matter that much - I am trying to understand the 'tradition' issue that flares up regularly on this board.

Submitted by eckhart diestel on Sat, 02/07/2009 - 11:20am

i don't think the evolution was from one concept but maybe a mix of the above...

oc6 was prevalent, people start looking for single canoes to train, with the concept of a smaller oc6, some see V1 model and test it out in hawaii... it evolves to have rudder for local conditions... surfskis are known to be faster hulls so hull design is copied or modified with ama added.

all this probably happened concurrently or consecutively... i'm sure goodwaka will chime in and say that the oc1 is just a surfski with ama, blah blah no cultural blah blah. i think this is simplistic.

i think in an open design environment, the design elements optimized for local conditions were incorporated, but probably within the context of local canoe culture. i think they are both important elements in design- performance and tradition. it can very well be argued that certain important traditional elements of "traditional" canoe culture were lost...but what is it? is it the rudder? materials? construction? race of builder/designer? fill up with water? etc.

and who determines which design element is consistent with tradition? some random person in hawaii, tahiti, nz, etc? IVF? does is matter (for argument's sake)?

how about each region with canoe culture make their own determination, and if it is cross-pollinated even better.

#1 Sat, 02/07/2009 - 4:04pm

dacho, it is quite interesting that a comparable vessel was not found in Hawaii before.

When did surfskis come to Hawaii ?

#2 Sat, 02/07/2009 - 4:07pm

So are you saying there were no one-man outrigger canoes in the pacific prior to last 30 years or so? I'd find that hard to believe, but maybe I'm wrong.

I had a friend in the peace corp who did lemur research in madagascar off the coast of Africa in the early 80's and he used a dug-out one-man outrigger canoe to get to smaller islands. He said the canoes there had been used by the locals for generations. And that was in Africa - not the pacific. It would be hard to believe that the same cultures that invented large canoes with amas didn't also make smaller versions.

#3 Sat, 02/07/2009 - 4:23pm


#4 Sat, 02/07/2009 - 4:30pm

Good photo mulus. I was thinking I had seen some photos in the past of small outrigger caneos. Maybe not "1 man" but smaller for sure. I dont see how a surfski could pre date that.

#5 Sat, 02/07/2009 - 4:52pm

A surfski certainly wouldn't predate that, but then look at a sealskin Inuit kayak and you know where the surfski started. Cultural/practical difference?Perhaps "need for speed" versus "stable platform". Same goal, different conditions.
Food was what it was all about.

#6 Sat, 02/07/2009 - 5:30pm

#7 Sat, 02/07/2009 - 6:48pm

Small sit in OC's have been around for thousands of years. Museum of natural History in NYC has a display of one from 1500-2000+ years ago as I remember. Believe it was from North Africa or the Middle East.

#8 Sat, 02/07/2009 - 5:50pm

Just to confuse things even more:
some native kayaks (baidarkas) were used with
one -blade paddle, just like OC paddle,
not the conventional two-blade paddle.

#9 Sat, 02/07/2009 - 5:51pm

Just to confuse things even more:
some native kayaks (baidarkas) were used with
one -blade paddle, just like OC paddle,
not the conventional two-blade paddle.

#10 Sat, 02/07/2009 - 5:54pm

Just to confuse things even more:
some native kayaks (baidarkas) were used with
one -blade paddle, just like OC paddle,
not the conventional two-blade paddle.

#11 Sat, 02/07/2009 - 5:55pm

Was it developed as a:
- a surfski with an outrigger”

Without getting unnecessarily complication– ie. ‘keeping it simple’
Yes! Looking at the craft it’self, there is the obvious likeness

Was it ”- a modified Tahitian V 1 modified with a rudder”

A Tahitian V1 has a cockpit , so such claim of similarity is stretching the imagination.

Was it ”- a different boat class all together”

Tricky question! – if the answer is yes, then the so called affiliation to the Hawaiian canoe family falls away.
If answer is no, then a Hawaiian canoe and a surfski are brothers (or to use Greek gender for boats – sisters)

Was it ” a surfboard with outrigger”

Gender point mentioned above shows that Pacific canoes are male, and yet canoe surfing is done sitting down.
Surfing, like pissing, is done standing up (assuming male gender), so the surfboard analogy is a problem.

Was it ” a shortened OC 6 “

An OC6 has no rudder, has a basic hull that holds and displaces water, needs bailing …blah, blah, blah.

“All the answers are in part right. To which tradition would Hawaiian OC 1 belong ?”

Hawaiian OC tradition is very well explained by Tommy Holmes in his book ‘The Hawaiian Canoe’, and the surfski lookalike does not feature.

Others have tried to explain the development of sit-ons. But so far the question of exactly who invented the footwell with holes opening through the hull, has not been answered -- Unless it has and I have not discovered who.

Any link to tradition such as Dacho suggests, could be answered by pin pointing the sit-on design origin.
Such origin [sit-on origin] has been suggested as the South American reed raft, which is of course quite different to the outrigger canoe tradition of Oceania.

#12 Sat, 02/07/2009 - 6:04pm

goodwaka, thanks for your input.

All of them a true:

  • Paul Gay brought a V1 from Tahiti and crossed the Kaiwi channel in the late 70ies.
    It was later modified, with open cockpit. Later the cockpit was closed and it was shortened. Not a stretch. There is the sit on top pinpoint. I think that it was Walter Guild that was involved in building the first closed canoe.
    Meanwhile we are sitting inside the cockpit in most OC 1 designs.
  • Tommy Conners was one of the first to add an outrigger to a surfski/lengthened K1 ?; I do not know the exact details.
  • Joe Quigg built a surfboard with iakos and outrigger and this was used to paddle the Kaiwi channel in 1980. The story goes that it ruined the back of one of the two paddlers. No wonder if you follow goodwaka who knows that some things have to be done standing up.
  • an entirely new boat - not really, but there was no comparable craft in Hawaii in the 60/70ies - in that sense, you could call it new.
  • a shortened OC 6 ? I am not stuck to the rudder as a distinctive feature, others are. Local conditions make the use for a rudder reasonable; the OC 1 is much lighter and will be pushed around.
    It seems that these boats are somewhat related though.

Footwells/Venturi drains are not specific to OC 1. The term 'surfski lookalike' is not correctly referencing the above development, imo.

This is how I understand it:

" Some paddlers from Hawaii traveled to Tahiti and saw the wonderful va'a. On there return to Hawaii they realized that no such vessel existed locally. Over the next decade they worked to develop a comparable craft, suited to the local conditions.
After much trial and error the arrived at the Hawaiian OC 1.

It is a unique vessel as it combines design features of the Tahitian outrigger canoe, surfski and kayaks, and local surfboards. "

#13 Sat, 02/07/2009 - 6:46pm

Aboriginal Fishing Canoe. So Australia does have a culture of OC paddling but the link to the modern day canoe was broken. I guess Island hopping was left to the Moari neighbors. The indigenous Australian aboriginal was happy to stay. Could not find much history in the way of voyaging canoes. Rambo might have some info. Surely Hawaiian's had one man's for fishing lagoons etc in ancient times?

#14 Sat, 02/07/2009 - 10:13pm

Necessity is the mother of invention.
The outrigger canoe continues to be a practical working vessel for the Polynesians in particular, for well over a thousand years.
Out of necessity, the old time Tuamotu peoples made an outrigger canoe out of drift wood lashed together that was far lighter and said to be structurally superior to the dug out outrigger canoe made in Tahiti, Marquesas and elsewhere.
Out of necessity, Tahiti and other pacific people still make varying size working canoes out of 1/4" plywood skins over lumber and many variations in between.
Point is the OC1 Hawaiian canoe is traditional in the sense that is fits a need for Hawaiian waters. These waters are far different to Tahitian waters and fills the need quite well for now. Same can be said for the V1 which is a way of travel for some Tahitians but also a canoe of sport. Design of V1 is dictated by the local conditions which are far less extreme than Hawaii.. Hence...
An "outrigger canoe" is just that.... any hull with an attached balance.
Take away the iato and ama and you have simply "a canoe" in whatever form you chose....ski,kyack.etc...

The question should be.......Does following design Tradition kill design progression?

#15 Sat, 02/07/2009 - 11:10pm

I vote for a different boat class, since prior to '91, none existed. It owes its existance to surfskiers: (1) Tom Conner and Kala Judd who demonstrated in the '91 Kaiwi Challenge Relay Race what they can do. (2) John Martin quit making Rose Skis for Marshall Rosa at the same time and started full time converting surfskis into one-mans for $700.00, with wooden na iako made by Kialoa's Dave Chun. These surfskis converted into "one-man's" were banned from use by male paddlers in the '92 Kaiwi Challenge Race, for they were not considered outrigger canoes. However, women were allowed to use them in the race. Also in '92, the first production one-man ("short boat"), Honu Kai was built and available to the public for purchase.

Back then, only a few clubs were using the "long boat" one man's for training purposes: Outrigger CC, Hui Nalu, and Keahou. Kailua CC led by Pat Erwin and Beanie Heen, was perhaps the first club to utilize "short boat" one-man's in their trainning program. And when the Honu came out, Oahu paddlers had to wait a while before they could get theirs, because many Kauai paddlers got their orders in first.

Also back then, many canoe clubs banned the use of these new one-man's because they were afraid that the canoes would ruin their paddlers stroke. Yes, a lot of paddlers were scolded by their coaches for using a "one-man stroke" instead of a "six-man stroke."

If you look at the videos of the early nineties Bastile Day solo vaa races or the pictures in Tommy Holmes book, you'll notice that the vaa look more like the Horizon "long boat."
My feeling is that the design of the vaa today was largely influenced by the designed of the modern Hawaiian OC-1 "short boat."

#16 Sun, 02/08/2009 - 1:52am

Well said, Koacanoe. I remember reading the rules for an early 90s molo relay , and they prohibited craft which could stay upright in the water w/ out iakos and ama. That's a good point you make about oc1 influencing v1 design. Both craft have diverged quite a bit from traditional outrigger canoes.

#17 Sun, 02/08/2009 - 6:04am

So the va a has either developed higher cockpit sides since the early 90's Bastille day lagoon races. Or else has reverted to using more freeboard, just like the oldest open water canoes in Oceania.
Oceania as known to be the region covering the outrigger cultural assemblage -- I have actually seen a wooden canoe that drifted from the Indian Ocean Islands near India, all the way onto a beach near Jeffries Bay at the bottom of Africa.

The modern va a is not a lot different in design to this same wooden canoe. But is a whole lot different to the surfskis that are, and have been paddled in that part of Africa since sometime in the 1960's.

Can't see how the modern va a has been influenced by the surfski influenced oc1.........competetive modern va a are over 23 foot in length too. Nothing short about them.

#18 Sun, 02/08/2009 - 9:48am

the existence of the word "ko`okahi" indicates that the one-man canoe has been around in Hawaii for a long time, but this would have been a dugout with no rudder.

I would guess the OC1 came from a surfski with an outrigger added but probably influenced (or incited, even) by the Tahitian V1.

Why would you add an outrigger to a surfboard?

#19 Sun, 02/08/2009 - 12:41pm

I'm going to suggest that the fishing outrigger canoe was never an OC-1, but rather an OC-1/2.

Fishing especially with a net is easiest with two.

The minmal difference in length between an OC-1 and an OC-2 would make a boat for one OR two far more desirable due to its greater utility. Moreover you have room to stow gear. You have room to store your catch or your net or your spear.

Paddling and steering with two is exponentially easier than paddling/steering by one. The reason the Hawaiian OC-1 has evolved is because a racer can put all his upper body movement into moving the boat forward and only needs to do a little bit of adjusting with his feet to steer.

Other than for racing, there was little incentive to build a boat that was exclusively an OC-1. Other than for racing a one man boat, there was little incentive to put a rudder on a boat that was intended to be beached. Other than for racing, there was no incentive to have metal moving parts (rudders/gudgeons/pintals) when sch parts could not be easily found or made with 500 yards of the high water line.

Finally with two in the boat the chances of a paddler who falls out surviving increase dramatically. Remember the buddy system?
"Anyone can steer the ship when the sea is calm" - Syrus Publilius

#20 Sun, 02/08/2009 - 1:14pm

The fundamental difference between the Polynesian canoe and other new, or modern creations, is the need for covers when used far offshore.

Hawaiian canoes in contrast to other Polynesian canoes are developed for surf use , but Hawaiian surfing canoes don't use covers, and are not one-mans either.

The new one mans and 2mans are clearly a new development, with their defining feature being their open water capability without covers.

They have not proved themselves as real surfing canoes in the tradition of Hawaiian canoe surfing, such as at Makaha.

#21 Sun, 02/08/2009 - 2:18pm

Makaha is shore break surfing - very different.

We seem to agree that it is a new creation, inspired by Tahitian Va'a and by Hawaiian outrigger canoes ?

Not inspired by surfski, imo, because surfski does not have outrigger.

CapnRon - you'd have to ask Joe Quigg for which reasons he built a surfboard with outrigger. Maybe the paddlers asked him to shape them ? See the picture:


#22 Sun, 02/08/2009 - 4:33pm

Tahitian va a is designed to exercise single blade paddling and steering skills.

New type oc1 does not do so, but instead sets out to do exactly what the surfski does............catch runners in rough open water.

Also flies the ama to mimick the surski further.

Surely it was not necessary to try and use a Tahitian lagoon canoe in Hawaiian waters to see that it was not suitable.

By the late 1970's, surfski's had been showing the way for a long time already..........OK they were not encumbered with ouriggers and limited by single blade stroke rating. But the design features of the "canoe" were fully developed for Hawaiian conditions.

#23 Sun, 02/08/2009 - 4:44pm

Goodwaka, if you have surfskis around and you add outriggers to them, I would think that the inspiration to do that comes from a boat with an outrigger.

The set up for single blade paddle is canoe related, isn't it.

For the hull it is both: Walter Guild/Karel modified a Va'a, Tommy Connor adn friends used kayak/surfski as basis. I think both can be credited.

Rudder looks more like surfski, again.

I am not sure about the steering argument, because if the boats would run here as well without rudder, why would someone use it ?

I agree with the relationship to surfski, and think that the outrigger and the single blade establish a relationship with the Va'a.

#24 Sun, 02/08/2009 - 5:02pm

If you come from a canoeing background then your mindset will naturally consider Outriiger as the natural progression of a basic canoe made for the ocean.

If you are a lifeguard or a kayak paddler then your mindset maybe that the ama was placed on a kayak so less skillful paddlers can keep them upright!

Could be why Outrigger Paddlers and Ski paddlers are two different beasts. A bit of rivalry between the two. How many times have you paddled past a kayak and they asked tongue in cheek, "What's the float for?" Probably doesn't happen in Hawaii with more respect for the cultural significance.

#25 Sun, 02/08/2009 - 5:12pm

I think that where we are right now is somewhere on a learning curve kicked off by a marketing endeavour.

There was no open water capable 1man craft available in Hawaii other than a surfski, and people siezed the opportunity.

Puting an outrigger onto a surfski just begs the reaction that it is a crutch to make things easy......I say this because I tried it in SA of all places.

Having a single blade paddling environment/tradition just made it more acceptable.

Fact is, it is an easy way to get out on the Ocean and have some fun, get fit, then maybe try surfski....... just like we hear in other threads.

But developing rudderless paddling and steering skills another game altogether.........Hiro C is a better one to explain the facts. My understanding is channeled towards designing and building canoes.

On top of this I spent too many years in designing rudders for outriggers before discovering the beauty of blade steering skills.

#26 Sun, 02/08/2009 - 5:31pm

I see your point.

An outrigger always has the function to make it easy.

If it is a crutch in Hawaii, then it is a crutch in Tahiti as well.

#27 Sun, 02/08/2009 - 5:54pm

I had a friend in the peace corp who did lemur research in madagascar off the coast of Africa in the early 80’s and he used a dug-out one-man outrigger canoe to get to smaller islands. He said the canoes there had been used by the locals for generations. And that was in Africa - not the pacific.

People from Madagascar are not really africans. Their ancestors came to Madagascar by canoe from Taïwan... Polynesians ancestors also came by canoe from Taïwan... No wonder they have dug out outrigger canoes there as well.

#28 Sun, 02/08/2009 - 7:48pm

Thank you all for the history / lessons ,,,,

Learn something new everyday .. mahalo.


#29 Sun, 02/08/2009 - 9:27pm

That's like those petroglyphs that are all over even up hear on the west coast of Canada. and they all look very simalar.

#30 Sun, 02/08/2009 - 9:36pm

"An outrigger always has the function to make it easy

if it is a crutch in Hawaii, then it is a crutch in Tahiti as well"

Sure! it offers that quality of seaworthiness that a surfski lacks.

#31 Sun, 02/08/2009 - 10:50pm

goodwaka - do V 1 have a tradition ?

#32 Sun, 02/08/2009 - 11:43pm

you better run fast eckhart...

#33 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 7:08am

Hiro - thanks for the warning - haha - :) But please - I am not asking about the tradition of Polynesian paddling or the great paddlers that you have - I ask about V1 only.

V1 do not seem much different from OC 1 to me: It probably started as a log, was found to be not stable enough, an outrigger was added.

Also: Materials used, intended recreational use, form/shape, closed deck, cockpit to a degree, outrigger, single paddle use - all the same.
As high as you sit on a V 1 - you could call that 'sit on top'.

Rudder - different - but is that a virtue ? That seems to be a practical issue.

V1 was there first, OC 1 followed. One is the top of the craft, the other one a log with crutches ?

#34 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 8:05am

eckhart: you're not serious....... fair enough, no need for history lessons.

Hey! I have a sit-on too.
In fact i've just gotten off the thing.......sit on it just about every morning when i get up.
Not a lightweight carbon f model, but a heavy porcelain model bolted to the floor.

"V1 was there first, oc1 followed, one is the top of the craft, the other is a log with crutches"

V1 was first yeah (without the crutch you no can no paddle the log on the Ocean), then came the sski.

The sski without crutches wins the molokai solo everytime and rides bump well with it's rudder steerings....... You like riding bumps on the Ocean? why you need the crutch?

You like paddling the hollowed out log on the Ocean, you need the crutch.

#35 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 9:33am

Nice work, Goodwaka.

#36 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 10:01am

goodwaka - I am somewhat serious; I am trying to follow your reasoning, while I am not sure that I fully understand your position.

Make sure you get enough time in on your sit on top. :)

You do not seem to see a connection between OC 1 and V 1. I look at both and see two similar vessel optimized for local conditions.

#37 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 10:02am

History lesson on the evolution of the outrigger –
Somewhere between Africa and Papua NG a waterman (with waterbabe partner no doubt) makes a bundle raft from bamboo….. he finds that it rolls over , but can be stabilized with an arm providing buoyancy out to one or both sides.

Outrigger is born.

He can stand up and pole the raft in shallow water but kneels to paddle in deeper water…….figures that a wooden blade gives more power than his hand -* paddle is born.

This raft is slow and cannot carry much cargo, so he can no go very far on it when paddled…… begins to discover how wind can be used for propulsion, but that is another story.

Next he makes a brilliant discovery - *….. a hollowed out log can float and carry stuff, can move through water faster than a raft, and with an outrigger it can go offshore. He begins to explore beyond the horizon, and discovers Australia (by accident perhaps) a long time before capt Cook.

Tradition of canoe paddling lives on from these early times to spread East and West into Pacific and Indian Oceans and is given a name……..Waga, Waka, Va a, vaka, (all meaning the same thing – a hollowed out vessel).

#38 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 10:38am

Hi everyone. In case you don't know, I'm waaay smarter and better than all of you.
Hawaiian outriggers are dumb. I don't see any reason for their existence. Because I think think this, and because it matters what I think, you should all agree. I think I will spend all my time here on the internet trying to convince you to think the same. Sometimes a Hawaiian OC1 reminds me of a surfski. Other time it reminds me of a toilet. I am clever though, and am able to subtly insult the craft and anyone who paddles it.

Oh, by the way, I also sell some stuff. Please buy some.


#39 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 11:00am

Oh yeah, if you need a history lesson, then come see me for that too. Idiots.


#40 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 11:02am

Watch out you don't burst a vein dumbwaka/wakaboner

#41 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 11:13am

Regarding V-1, when I first saw the modern one's, I first thought they were Sea Lion OC-1's. from Canada without the rudder. Then I learned that some are made in New Zealand, so I thought, yeah for cold water paddling? But where is the spray skirt? And could I do a roll with it (only one side)? Also, when you huli, how you drain the water? Anyway, ineresting how now you sit inside today's V-1.

My guess is that back in the days when the French Olympic Kayak team would winter train in Tahiti, their K-1's, K-2's and K-4's became the inspiration for the design of the modern V-1? Also, perhaps the state of the art Olympic training methods that the European coaches brought over are probably the secret as to why the Tahitians do so well in the Molokai?

#42 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 11:29am

Styling changes happen..... but the basic V1 remains the same as the earliest thing -- a hull with a forward deck and an after deck, and a seat inside the hull.
Bastille day racers from early 1990's just had such a small hull section that the seat was placed on the gunnels to get enough height.

Hawaiian canoe is the same thing,,,,,,,,,, hull with decks forwd/back and seat inside.

If Tahitians spend more time on the water than any other paddling community, and in a very competetive environment, surely these are in the ingredients for their ability?

#43 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 11:45am

this is getting meaty..
jared diamond wrote an excellent book titled "guns, germs, and steel".. highly recommended. he has a whole section about the development of the outrigger canoe and its role in expansion and settlement along asia and the south pacific..

here's a google book link... pretty interesting.

guns, germs, steel

#44 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 12:23pm

Jesus paddled an OC-1.

#45 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 12:39pm

So we got our secrets from French olympics kayak team ... Can you tell me how many titles they won ? It seems that hungarians and polish should dominate OC1 and V1 races !

#46 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 12:53pm

Dumbwaka - I used the imperative form in my sentence.

Imperative is used for

  • an order,
  • a recommendation,
  • an invitation
  • or and advice

A rule is not one of the options. Take your pick. :)

#47 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 4:13pm

OK-How's this? My name is James Clapp and goodwaka is a bit of an asshole! But he has A LOT of passion for this sport, that's obvious. Welcome to the assholes who love paddling club, Goodwaka!

#48 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 2:43pm

Who's insulting goodwaka? He's the one always acting the fool. He's may have passion, but its only for his own opinions and interests.
And when did you become the rule maker?
Some people here (Jim) may be assholes, but at least they're entertaining.

#49 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 3:04pm

Now if only we could bring something to do with Hypr and chines into this thread.

Maybe a chined V1 built by Hypr?

#50 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 3:17pm

Lets not give Jim too little credit.

He is twice as much a tool as he is an asshole.

#51 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 3:52pm

uh oh, eckhart, i think this one is spinning to OCP hall of fame territory...

no one makes rules, but if you got the balls to call someone out, at least do it in the open. who knows, people may agree with you.

#52 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 3:34pm

LOL .LOL. dumbwaka/wakaboner

RE/ Hi everyone. In case you don’t know, I’m waaay smarter

#53 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 3:44pm

not to pile on, but yeah, that was pretty funny

#54 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 3:51pm

numerouno: I'll have to defer to your judgement-that link on your profile proves your expertise on that subject, my friend. Wink, wink;smiley happy face

#55 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 3:52pm

Jim, I figured a tool just like yourself would check it out. I'm vindicated once again.

#56 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 3:59pm

It's your link numeroweirdo-you are one sick puppy, as well as a total chicken shit motherfucker! Peace, James

#57 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 4:04pm

Jim, dont bring a knife to gunfight. Whaa whaa crybaby. pa`a ka waha, hana ka lima.

#58 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 4:09pm

Who's cryin? P.S. don't click on that link people-it'll ruin your dinner (especially if you were gonna have chicken curry).

#59 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 4:12pm

OC 1 - Which Traditon Does It Belong To

Tradition? or Traditon

#60 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 4:48pm

I can tell you guys a little story...
In a small island called Niue, in the middle of the South Pacific, they have used the outrigger as a fishing platform for as long as anyone can remember. In the evening after a day at sea fishing, they would often race each other home. This developed into quite a competitive thing after a while, and the fishermen began to shape their fishing outrigger canoes to be longer and slimmer, so as to be faster through the water.
Today, they still have these races, and have over time become a popular event to which the entire island follows with interest. The canoes are quite long and narrow, not dissimilar to a tahitian style va'a, but the canoe is dug out of a complete piece of wood/tree trunk and is open down the length of the canoe.
The interesting and cool thing is that the canoes still continue to be very much used for fishing.
As far as I know, no one in Niue ever got the idea to race one man fishing outrigger canoes from either Tahiti or Hawaii. It was, as I understand, a true process of evolution.

So make of that what you will, especially those of you who like to claim one style of canoeing is more 'traditional' or somehow more 'legitimate' than the other. The answer, I think, is probably 'neither'. However, I for one am sick of the whole argument.

#61 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 7:17pm

like these?

#62 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 7:59pm

WTF, where's the aloha?

#63 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 8:16pm

Isn't Niue the guano island?

#64 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 8:19pm

uno, does tubgirl paddle?

#65 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 8:25pm

only in the alawai with no canoe.

#66 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 8:34pm

If the Hungarians and Poles, or even the Germans, Italians, and Russians were to go to Tahiti to train. They all would end up like the French. Just how can you train in the true paradise? Unless you are from the islands, there are too many distractions for Europeans. Hey, this was after the '88 Olympics and before the riots. A time when innovative training techniques were becoming known. At least they left their Gut paddles and got paddlers interested in K-1's. Yes, that's right, for back then, the boat of choice was the surfski. Elite Tahitian paddlers favored them over vaa or oc-1. They use to express amazement and scratch their head in wonder why Hawaii paddlers preferred them over surfski when they came to do the old Bankoh Kayak Challenge in the early or mid nineties. Now what happened to that Tahitian Bender surfski?

#67 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 9:55pm

Yes, I suppose.

Those are made from fibreglass... but doesn't really change my point at all does it? In fact it probably reinforces it...

#68 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 9:56pm


Hungarians, Poles, (insert Eastern Bloc country here) probably would dominate outrigger paddling, if they even knew what it was...

#69 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 10:00pm

Shhh don't tell them !

Surfski has been slowly dying as a sport. Many skis are sold, around 200 a year ! and nobody comes to races... it has become a cross training tool and/or a recrational craft.
But we have some plans for surfski... it's growing so big now all around the world, we can just sit on the beach and watch what is happening.

#70 Mon, 02/09/2009 - 10:14pm

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