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Wa‘a Kiakahi continues sailing canoe legacy in the islands

By Staff | May 30, 2019

The public will get a chance to meet the sailors and to take a free ride in a sailing canoe on Saturday, June 8. There is no age requirement to go out, and life jackets will be provided for non-swimmers.

KAANAPALI – The 15th annual Wa’a Kiakahi will bring aloha to Maui shores from June 7-9, 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 created by the Hawaiian Sailing Canoe Association (HSCA) features traditional ceremonies, sailing canoe rides and educational talks about celestial navigation and water skills.

The canoes sail from Kahoolawe to Kaanapali on May 27. A traditional Hawaiian arrival ceremony will welcome the sailors.

HSCA conducts its races in the same mode as ancient Hawaiians; sailors do not make crew changes, and they travel every channel connecting the Hawaiian Islands.

Kaanapali Beach Resort Association is again the title sponsor of Wa’a Kiakahi and welcomes everyone to come and interact with the canoes and sailors on Kaanapali Beach during the three-day event.

On Friday, June 7, rigging of canoes at Kaanapali Beach starts at 8:30 a.m., followed by a shoreline race at 11:30 a.m. At Whalers Village at 3 p.m., the sailing canoes will arrive with a traditional Hawaiian welcome ceremony.

On Saturday, June 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., there will be free sailing canoe rides for all ages (weather and sea conditions permitting), “talk story” opportunities with race team members and demonstrations, all happening in front of Whalers Village.

On Sunday, June 9, at 9 a.m., there will be a sailing canoe send-off and traditional Hawaiian farewell ceremony before the canoes sail to Kaunakakai, Molokai.

The participating teams for 2019 are Auwahi Wind, Oahu; Hui Nalu Canoe Club, Oahu; Kaanapali Beach Hotel, Maui; Kaanapali Beach Resort Association, Maui; Maui Jim, Kauai; Molokai Canoe Club, Molokai; and Olukai, Kauai.

“Wa’a Kiakahi gets more special every year, and we are honored to be a part of it,” said Shelley Kekuna, executive director of the Kaanapali 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.”

For more information, visit https://hsca.info/.