Navigating Maui's Waters: The World of 6-Man Outrigger Canoe Paddling

Posted by Mapuana Andrade on Friday, July 7th, 2023 at 10:12am

Canoe paddling holds a significant place in the history of Hawaii, dating back centuries to the Polynesian settlers who first navigated the vast Pacific Ocean. These skilled seafarers relied on their outrigger canoes for transportation, fishing, and inter-island voyages. The ancient Hawaiians recognized the importance of teamwork, strength, and endurance required for successful canoe paddling.

Over time, paddling evolved from a necessity to a revered sport. The outrigger canoe, with its stability and maneuverability, became the vessel of choice for races and recreational activities. Today, it stands as a testament to the island's cultural heritage and a celebration of unity, camaraderie, and physical prowess.

On the shores of Maui, a thriving community of paddlers has formed, bringing together locals and visitors alike. Some of the renowned canoe clubs on the island include:

Hawaiian Canoe Club

Founded in 1960, the Hawaiian Canoe Club holds a special place in the paddling community of Maui. The club's mission is to preserve and perpetuate Hawaiian culture through outrigger canoe paddling. With a strong focus on community engagement, Hawaiian Canoe Club offers various programs for all ages, from keiki (children) to kupuna (elders). They organize regattas, cultural events, and educational workshops, emphasizing the importance of preserving and sharing the cultural traditions of Hawaii.

Napili Canoe Club

Nestled on the shores of Napili Bay, the Napili Canoe Club has a history that spans several decades. Founded in 1971, the club has been a gathering place for paddlers of all skill levels. They foster a family-friendly atmosphere and welcome both locals and visitors to experience the thrill of paddling. The club's members participate in various races and regattas throughout the year, showcasing their skill and passion for the sport.

Hana Canoe Club

Hana Canoe Club, located in the picturesque town of Hana, has a unique history and location. Established in 1972, Hana Canoe Club has played a vital role in connecting the community with their cultural roots. They actively engage in preserving Hawaiian traditions through educational programs and events while enjoying the beauty of Hana's natural environment.

Kihei Canoe Club

Situated in the sun-soaked resort town of Kihei, the Kihei Canoe Club has been a prominent presence in Maui's paddling scene since its inception in 1973. With a strong emphasis on inclusivity, the club welcomes paddlers of all ages and skill levels. They offer a range of programs, including competitive racing teams and recreational paddling groups. Kihei Canoe Club hosts regattas and training sessions, creating a vibrant community of paddlers who share a love for the sport and the ocean. 

These clubs, along with others on Maui, have become an integral part of the island's cultural fabric, connecting generations and fostering a sense of pride in the heritage of outrigger canoe paddling. Through their commitment to preserving Hawaiian traditions, hosting events, and providing opportunities for community involvement, these clubs continue to enrich the lives of both locals and visitors, ensuring that the art of canoe paddling thrives for years to come.

Now it's time to discover how you can become a part of this vibrant paddling community. Whether you're looking to join a canoe club, immerse yourself in the exhilarating races as a spectator, or embark on a scenic outrigger canoe tour, there are plenty of ways to engage with the art of 6-man outrigger canoe paddling on the shores of Maui. 

  1. Join a Canoe Club: Experience the camaraderie and excitement firsthand by becoming a member of one of Maui's esteemed canoe clubs. Engage in regular training sessions, participate in races, and connect with fellow paddlers who share your passion.

  1. Spectate the Races: Witness the adrenaline-pumping races during the summer regatta season. Check out the schedule provided by Hawaiian Canoe Club ( to plan your visit!

  1. Outrigger Canoe Tours: Immerse yourself in the beauty of Maui's coastline through outrigger canoe tours. Many hotels and non-competitive canoe clubs offer guided tours, allowing you to explore the island's stunning waters.

Here are a few examples of hotels that have been known to offer outrigger canoe tours on Maui!

  1. The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua: Nestled in the picturesque Kapalua area, The Ritz-Carlton offers guests the opportunity to partake in various ocean activities, including outrigger canoe tours. Immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture while exploring the pristine waters along Maui's coast.

  1. Kaanapali Beach Hotel: Known as "Hawaii's Most Hawaiian Hotel," Kaanapali Beach Hotel provides authentic cultural experiences for its guests. They often offer outrigger canoe tours that allow you to paddle along the scenic shores of Kaanapali Beach while learning about the island's rich history and traditions.

  1. Fairmont Kea Lani: Located in Wailea, the luxurious Fairmont Kea Lani often organizes outrigger canoe tours as part of their water sports activities. Enjoy a guided tour along the South Maui coastline and soak in breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

  1. Grand Wailea: This renowned resort in Wailea features a range of water activities, and outrigger canoe tours may be among the options available. Explore the stunning coastline while gliding through the crystal-clear waters.

Please note that availability and offerings may vary, and it's advisable to visit individual hotel websites or contact them directly to inquire about outrigger canoe tours or other water activities they may offer.

By immersing yourself in the history and camaraderie of Maui's canoe clubs, you'll create lasting memories and embrace the spirit of teamwork, cultural preservation, and the captivating beauty of the ocean. Embrace the magic of outrigger canoe paddling on Maui and become a part of this dynamic and inspiring community.


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