Established in November 2014, Outrigger Hoe Wana’ao (pronounced hoy wah-nah-ow) sprouted from the friendship of 9 paddlers. Hoe Wana’ao, meaning ‘sunrise paddle’, signifies the pre-dawn paddle sessions, also known as 'dawn patrol', these paddlers took part in to feed their passion for paddling and the ocean.
We are a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation and our long range goal is to establish a well rounded program for children and adults that helps to instill the values of Respect, Loyalty, Responsibility, Trust, Friendship, Fairness, and Teamwork which all come with paddling outrigger. We strive to teach and perpetuate the cultural significance of outrigger canoe paddling and are committed to both our members and the community at large. We believe that paddling together builds a strong sense of purpose and friendship that is hard to find elsewhere. Outrigger Hoe Wana'ao is a member of the Southern California Outrigger Racing Association (SCORA).
Here's our story:
The first glimmer of what was to become Hoe Wana'ao surfaced during a sunrise paddle in early winter of 2013. Enjoying an after paddle breakfast together on the shores of Mission Bay, a group of women passionate about paddling and dedicated to each other, agreed to take on racing challenges far bigger than we had been allowed to dream of. Bundled up in jackets, gathered tightly around a trusty camp stove and steaming pots of coffee, the Na'Pali Challenge, a 40 mile water change race in the warm waters off Kaua'i, climbed to the top of the list as a race that would test our spirit and strength. Relying primarily on one another for support and encouragement, the building of a temporary racing team began, and Hoe Wana'ao became a spark in our paddler hearts.
HURRICANES & ALOHA
After 9 months of training, planning and effort, we had the great fortune to pull together paddlers from all up and down the West Coast - San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver, BC. Hoe Wana'ao built two crews, 24 paddlers in all, to compete in the 2014 Na'Pali Challenge. Lodging was set, paddles were packed and on their way across the Pacific, and half of the racing crews were 'slippahs on the ground' in Hawaii, when two uninvited guests decided to join the party...hurricanes Iselle and Julio. Needless to say, when in a race with Mother Nature, chances of being victorious are slim to none, and eventually, with great sadness and regret, the 2014 Na'Pali Challenge was canceled.
To this day, each of us will agree, that although Iselle and Julio blew us off course, their winds brought us so much more than we could have imagined. In the aftermath of the storms, Hanalei Canoe Club and others from Kaua'i's paddling community opened their hearts and hale (home) to us, shared their canoes, incredible paddling knowledge and showed us the true spirit of Aloha in a way that we could not imagine. Their passion, warmth and friendship gave us a taste for a change we were looking for - even if we didn't quite know it at the time.
"Change will always come, it is just a matter of how it arrives."
The members of Hoe Wana'ao's traveling team went their separate ways after Kaua'i and the hurricanes, but the excitement, camaraderie and feeling of Ohana endured, continued to fuel our excitement, and carried us through good times and bad. Eventually, we paddlers who were gathered around that camp stove on a cold winter morning in 2013, realized that as Hoe Wana'ao we had not only committed to a race, but we had lastingly committed to each other, and we will together share a passion for a blessed way of life on the ocean.
Now, with the creation of Outrigger Hoe Wana'ao, we can permanently share that passion with the youth of San Diego, and open the doors to a true home for those who have shown trust in our characters and faith in our hearts.
Imua KāKou -- moving forward together.