wa‘a kiakahi continues sailing canoe legacy june 7 – 9 at ka‘anapali resort

The 15th annual Wa‘a Kiakahi brings aloha to Maui shores from June 7 to 9, welcoming seven six-member crews from all islands to share with the public the beauty, history and proficiency of traditional Hawaiian sailing canoes.

The three-day event is created by the Hawaiian Sailing Canoe Association (HSCA), and features traditional ceremonies, sailing canoe rides and educational talks about celestial navigation and water skills. New this year: prior to the event, the HSCA will rig the canoes at Sugar Beach (Kealia Beach) in Kihei and sail to Kaho‘olawe for a community day of tree-planting! The volunteer tree-planting takes place on Memorial Day Weekend, May 26, after which the canoes sail from Kaho‘olawe to Ka‘anapali on May 27. A traditional Hawaiian arrival ceremony will welcome the sailors, this will take place fronting the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas at around 12 noon.

HCSA conducts its races in the same mode as the ancient Hawaiians: sailors do not make crew changes, and they travel every channel connecting the Hawaiian Islands. Ka‘anapali Beach Resort Association is the title sponsor of Wa‘a Kiakahi, and welcomes everyone to come and interact with the canoes and sailors on Ka‘anapali Beach during the three-day event.


Friday, June 7
8:30am – 1pm • Rigging of canoes at Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas.
1:30 – 3pm • Shoreline/Triangle race, Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas to Whalers Village, Ka‘anapali.
3pm • Race completion at Whalers Village, Ka‘anapali Beach. Arrival of sailing canoes with a traditional Hawaiian welcome ceremony.

Saturday, June 8
10am – 2pm • FREE sailing canoe rides for all ages (weather and sea conditions permitting), “talk story” opportunities with race team members, and demonstrations, on the beach in front of Whalers Village.

Sunday, June 9
9am • Sailing canoe send-off and traditional Hawaiian farewell ceremony. Canoes sail to Kaunakakai, Moloka‘i.

The participating teams for 2019 are:
• Auwahi Wind, O‘ahu
• Hui Nalu Canoe Club, O‘ahu
• Ka‘anapaliBeach Hotel, Maui
• Ka‘anapali Beach Resort Assoc, Maui
• Maui Jim, Kaua‘i
• Moloka‘i Canoe Club, Moloka‘i
• Olukai, Kaua‘i

The public will get a chance to meet the sailors and to take a free ride in a sailing canoe on Saturday. There is no age requirement to go out, and life jackets will be provided for non-swimmers. “Wa‘a Kiakahi gets more special every year, and we are honored to be a part of it,” says Shelley Kekuna, executive director of Ka‘anapali Beach Resort Association. “Now in our 15th year, we can really look back and see how the public’s understanding and appreciation for sailing canoes has grown.”

Ocean Paddler TV will be there to film the races and the overall event. For more information, please visit Hawaiian Sailing Canoe Association (HSCA).

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