Beach Walk 477 – Duke Kahanamoku Race

Duke is one of the many beloved Hawaiians who’s spirit lives on with us and is celebrated every August with numerous water sports, all of which he excelled in.

It was a beautiful, windy day, and our seven mile course from Kailua out around Mokolea Rock then back around Flat Island was challenging with 10-15 knot winds and 6-100 foot seas. Several canoes huli’s (flipped over) and to their credit, the women righted them quickly and raced on.

It was the first time I have ever steered a race, and the first time I have ever steered in such daunting conditions! My crew was awesome – their confidence in me really helped me focus on the race and even enjoy myself some out there! We finished 4th out of 7 on the Women over-50 division. And 17th out of 29! I have a lot of learning to do and really look forward to it.

We raced under the Puakea Foundation, which was formed to support and honor Uncle Bobby Puakea, one of the rare remaining Hawaiians who knows how to go into the koa forest, select the right tree for a canoe, and over the course of several years, turn that tree into an 40-foot long traditional Polynesian outrigger canoe.

Duke Foundation
Puakea Foundation
Race Results
Race Photos
Lanikai Canoe Club
Beach Walks Nominated for Podcast Awards
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Hawaiian Word:
Huli: to turn over, as in to huli a canoe or huli huli chicken, that is spin-roasted on a hot fire

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Beach Walk 165 – Uncle Bobby, Kalai wa’a

Please meet my coach and teacher, Uncle Bobby Puakea.

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About Today’s Show

Uncle Bobby is a third generation canoe builder. He recently retired, and is now working full-time with his nonprofit foundation, the Puakea Foundation of Hawaii, to build and restore canoes and teach paddle-making workshops.

It would take days to tell you all the wonderful things about Uncle Bobby. He is a living treasure, and has received many awards from the city and state of Honolulu, Hawaii. He is arranging a 5-month tour of the USA for 2008, towing three hand-carved koa wood canoes (about 12-13 meters in length each!), to teach about and preserve Polynesian culture.

The canoes will be racing in the Liberty Race in New York City, and then attending the World Sprint Races in Sacramento. Strange as that may sound, the sport of outrigger canoeing has made its way all around the world, including many inland areas! The most recent World Sprints were held on a fresh-water lake in New Zealand!

Hawaiian words
Kalai Wa’a: master canoe builder
Koa: a type of wood
Iolana: to soar, as a hawk

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