Honolulu Pearl Canoe Club perpetuates traditional sport at JBPHH

(Via Ho’okele News)

Members of the Honolulu Pearl Canoe Club paddle past Oahu's rugged south shore cliffs. Photo courtesy of the Honolulu Pearl Canoe Club

Don Robbins


Editor, Ho’okele

The Honolulu Pearl Canoe Club (HPCC) paddles at Rainbow Bay Marina and Hickam Beach at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

“The canoe club is a nonprofit group run by volunteer members, perpetuating the Hawaiian sport of outrigger canoe racing on JBPHH. We are a canoe club that competes against other local clubs and has both military and civilian members perpetuating this cultural sport using the Hawaiian six-man outrigger canoes, both fiberglass and koa wood,” said Elke Ahleong, a Department of Defense employee who is also an Air Force spouse and veteran and is a board member for the club.

The club has racing programs for both children and adults. HPCC was originally established in Honolulu Harbor in 1976 and relocated to Pearl Harbor in the 1980s.

Races are also held at many different locations on Oahu, including Waikiki, Nanakuli, Kailua, Waimanalo, Kaneohe Bay and Ke’eihi Lagoon.

Membership is open to both military and civilians, ages 7 to 17 for keiki teams and 18 and up for adult’s teams.

In addition, the club is an active member of the Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association and the Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association. Ahleong explained that the club emphasizes paddling with aloha.

“HPCC perpetuates the traditional art of Hawaiian outrigger canoe paddling,” Ahleong said.

“The mission is to facilitate a cultural life experience for our members with respect to the traditions and cultural heritage of Hawaii to include traditional sports and related activities, the ocean and its relationship to Hawaiian life and water safety,” Ahleong added.

“Paddling is also an excellent full body workout that the entire family can do. Paddling is both aerobic and strength training at the same time.”

Keiki practice takes place on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 4 to 5 p.m.

Women’s practice is on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 5 p.m. to sunset.

Men’s practice is Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 5 p.m. to sunset.

The regatta race season for kids and adults teams stretches from June through August. Sprint races ranges from quarter-mile to half-mile races.

Long-distance season runs from July to October for adults only. Long races range from 18 miles to 41 miles in “iron” or “relay” races.

Prospective members can show up during practice times and mention that they’d like to give it a try, Ahleong said.

“If I were to try and pick what is the best thing about paddling with HPCC, although there are many great things and people to choose from, I think my favorite part would be becoming part of the “HPCC paddling ohana.’ We become like family,” Ahleong said.

“If I were to sum up my experience with the club, I would say, ‘It is a never-ending story.’ With each season and each race and the rotation in and out of club members each year, you will always have a multitude of stories to tell. It’s awesome, and I love it all,” Ahleong added.

For more information, visit http://www.honolulu pearlcanoeclub.org or email honolulupearlcanoeclub@ gmail.com.

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