A more stable platform

Face forward, on one or both knees

Outrigger canoes help bring in the catch, 1885
  • Outrigger canoes help bring in the catch, 1885

Outrigger canoes were originally developed by the peoples of the islands of Southeast Asia for sea travel. They were also used as transport eastward to Polynesia and New Zealand and westward across the Indian Ocean as far as Madagascar.

Unlike the tippy narrow skulls and kayaks, the outrigger provides a more stable platform for the paddler’s maneuverability and exertion of force while paddling. Outrigger paddling is usually done facing forward, on one or both knees and utilizing a short broad-blade single paddle.

There are some 37 outrigger racing clubs in California. One such club, founded in 1978 in San Diego, is the Kai Elua Outrigger Canoe Club.

Kai Elua ("two oceans") has opened up their Saturday practice session at North Cove Public Beach on Mission Bay through February 27 to those who would like to give outrigger racing a shot. Paddles are available.

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