I have a friend, a lifeguard for the City and County of Honolulu, who tells me that something like 95 percent of visitors to Hawaii come here with the intention of participating in some sort of beach- or ocean-related activity.
Now, obviously not everyone is going to have the skills and/or confidence to do something like scuba diving or parasailing or even learning how to surf. But what many visitors — particularly those to the world’s most famous beach, Waikiki — can do, with the help of an authentic, experienced Waikiki beach boy, is canoe surfing.
Here’s how one of the top beach concessions describes this thrilling activity:
The outrigger canoe ride of today was derived from the original sport that was beloved by the elite of old Hawaii – outrigger canoe surfing. Outrigger canoe surfing is a sport that is unique to Hawaii, and, more specifically, to Waikiki. In old Hawaii, Waikiki was the playground of the elite, and outrigger canoe surfing was a privilege reserved solely for the aliʻi, or Hawaiian royalty. To this day, Waikiki Beach is still the only place in the world where you can experience the thrill of racing down a wave on an outrigger canoe.
The outrigger canoe is one of the safest ocean vessels today. It is the only vessel that does not require life jackets by the US Coast Guard, making it the perfect activity for the whole family. Anyone can participate in this “royal” activity and experience the thrill of surfing from the safety of our outrigger canoe.
I happen to have a particular fondness for this sport, because it is what The Coach and I did on our first date.
Having paddled outrigger canoes since he was a kid, he is a skilled steersman who is a master of catching and riding Waikiki’s waves. So that first time we went out together in a canoe and did a little surfing, I had a blast. Nearly 30 years later, it’s still one of the things we love to do together.
This is the twenty-second post in my series, 31 Days of Life in my Hawaii. Click here to get the links to the other posts in the series.