In the spring of 1977, seven golfers from Puka Da Sky Golf Club had a dream to perpetuate and start an outrigger canoe club for their children, families and friends. The Golfers, Gabe Young, Oliver Kalaau, Danny Lendeza, Willie Baptiste, Clay Park, Keke Kakalia, Dudley Naki made this dream a reality when they created Kaimanu Outrigger Canoe Club.
The name Kaimanu was chosen by one of the founders who was adrift on a fishing boat for four days with only water, crackers and the fish they caught. During this ordeal, the fishing boat slammed and tossed about in the hazardous waters off the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. The fishermen were finally rescued four days later, tired, weak but unharmed. The fishermen all knew their survival was based solely on safety, trust and the stability of the fishing boat: KAIMANU.
The founders along with 10 other people pooled their money together and purchased an outrigger canoe from Southern California. The canoe was 42’long and weighed 450 lbs and the very first of a long line of “Kaimanu” outrigger canoes. The membership held fundraisers such as luaus, car washes and food booths at festivals to reimburse the founders and members and to also purchase more canoes. Kaimanu was flourishing into one of the largest outrigger canoe clubs in Northern California. Kaimanu is also one of the oldest outrigger canoe clubs in the Northern California Outrigger Canoe Association (NCOCA) which was formed in 1978 and consisting of only 6 outrigger canoe clubs at that time.
Kaimanu Outrigger Canoe Club’s main objective is to encourage, maintain and perpetuate outrigger canoe racing. Our goals are to teach and train men, women, and children the sport of Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe paddling regardless of race or creed. Paddling outrigger canoes is a team endurance sport, which encourages teamwork, sportsmanship and respect for your fellow teammates.
The San Leandro Marina is the practice site for the club. The Marina has an enclosed lagoon area where the novices and children can practice. Just outside the Marina lagoon is the San Francisco Bay where the more experienced crews practice long distance paddling. This is also the venue for the annual San Leandro Channel Race hosted by Kaimanu and the Spinnaker Yacht Club every August. The San Leandro Marina also has 2 restaurants, Horatio’s and El Torito. Across the street from our practice site is the Monarch Bay Golf Course.