Catch a Wave in an Outrigger

By Hawaii.com Team

Waikiki, Oahu. Photo: Neal Kido of Salty Glass Co..

When you’ve been dumped one too many times off your surfboard, try catching a wave the easy way — find one of those gorgeous Waikiki beach boys and let him take you surfing in an outrigger canoe.

Polynesian-style outrigger canoes are fundamentally single-hull canoes with outrigger floats. The Polynesian outrigger canoe has been in use for over 1,000 years. It can be used to travel across open ocean and to maneuver over shallow reefs to the shore. It is propelled by surf, wind or paddlers, and comes in all sizes, from one-man to the traditional racing canoe that seats six, to the huge double-hulled versions used to travel vast distances.

The outriggers found on Waikiki Beach are a more durable version of the racing canoes, and can seat up to eight people. Typically, two beach boys ride along, one in front (the stroker who sets the pace) and the steersman, who rides in back and determines the course.

It isn’t easy to huli (overturn) an outrigger canoe, especially in the hands of experienced paddlers who are certified lifeguards. The ride is usually about 20 to 30 minutes of paddling and wave riding.

There’s always a wave to catch in an outrigger canoe at Waikiki. So if you want to catch some rays, get some exercise and ride a wave, find a beach boy with an outrigger.

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