About Koa Kai Canoe Club

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The Koa Kai Canoe Club started in 1979 as a hui of Honolulu Police officers who wanted to paddle together. Simply put, they saw paddling as a way to extend the camaraderie they had in the workplace to a water sport that they and their families could enjoy. Despite the obstacles of their work schedules, their resolve rang true: some way, somehow they were going to paddle, and they were going to paddle together. There was enough support among this group of HPD officers to form two practice sessions: one in the morning and one in the late evening. Thus, armed with a lot of enthusiasm, commitment, and determination, the Honolulu Police Department Canoe Club was born.

Some of the pioneers who helped to shape the canoe club included Benny Quitevis, Joe Aquino, A.C. Wills, Bob Bolson, Wendell Saito, Allen Napoleon, Blue Nakapaahu, Paul Shaner, Ben Pabliano, Howard Tateishi, Ed Voeller, and Terry Hamamoto. They helped with coaching and logistics. Three young police officers—Charlie Kamai, Freddie Ornellas, and Tommy Ka‘ai‘ai—pulled lanes, towed boats, coached the paddlers, registered the club within the Hui Wa‘a Association, went to association meetings, and organized fundraisers. Although the club did not own a single canoe back then, Freddie Ornellas allowed the club to use his personal canoe and even painted it in the club’s original colors: green and yellow, which were the official colors of the Honolulu Police Department. Later, club members also borrowed canoes from other canoe clubs for practices and races.

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ALOHA! Our club is located in Honolulu at Magic Island in the Ala Moana Beach Park. Check out our location.

We welcome both new and seasoned paddlers ages 9 and up. Browse our web site to learn more about our club.


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