Aloha! Last week we gathered with TYR Sport in Long Beach to enjoy a sunset paddle for our Outrigger Canoe Team Building Race event. Participants were treated to a brief lesson on the history of outrigger canoeing in California and a hands-on lesson in paddling. Then it was into the canoes for the tournament!
Our experienced na ho‘okele (steerers) captained each canoe and urged the teams to huki (paddle fast)! Their expertise was welcome since outrigger canoes are much more difficult to navigate than regular boats. Outrigger canoes require synchronicity and communication between teammates. Hence, outrigger racing is perfect for team building! If crews are able to work together they can get their vessels cutting quickly through the waves. Their speed when manned by a cohesive team invokes the memory that these canoes were once used as powerful war vehicles.
Here in California, outrigger racing has been a popular sport since 1959. That’s when we held the inaugural race from Orange County to Avalon, Catalina and back. FireFly’s race is much shorter, spanning a football field’s length of sheltered channel. Crews gathered on the sand to cheer on the other teams and await their turn to compete. Soon the instructors shouted “HO‘OMAKAUKAU!” meaning “get ready!” Team members piled into the canoes and set off for the starting line. The chase boat followed along, directing the participants and transporting yours truly to get the best action shots of our athletes. Crews chanted to keep rhythm like dancers or drill sergeants “One, two, one, two!” I think singing Moana songs would have been equally effective. We held many heiheis (races) until we ultimately crowned the victor.
The winners showed off their medals as the sun sank below the horizon. The event was equal parts exhilarating and tranquil. The thrill of physical competition was complimented by the peaceful protected bay and gorgeous weather. Our participants worked up a hearty appetite and certainly deserved the dinner that they headed off to as they traded stories of the day.
Outrigger Canoe Team Building with FireFly Team Events
If your team is up for an adventure, contact us to schedule your own Outrigger Canoe Race and learn the ho‘owala‘au wa‘a (canoe lingo).