(2024 Edition)



Welcome to Kikaha O Ke Kai Outrigger Canoe Club. We are excited to have you join our paddling ohana. We are a non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining and perpetuating Hawaiian culture through outrigger paddling. Formed in 1996, Kikaha currently calls the Thea Foss Waterway in Tacoma, Washington our paddling home. We also travel to compete in many other cities and venues around the Pacific Northwest including Washington, Oregon and California and Canada. We also travel back home to compete in various races around Hawaii.

This Guidebook was developed to cover the following:

  • Responsibilities and Expectations
  • Rules and Code of Conduct
  • Practices and Races
  • Miscellaneous Club Information.

All Members are expected to review and abide by the information given in this Guidebook as well as accept guidance from Board Members, Coaches and Veteran Paddlers. This will enable everyone to foster a fun and safe environment by understanding our general club procedures & operations. If necessary, Coaches & Board Members may deem necessary to take corrective action for the safety of all members regarding any unsafe actions or actions which are not in the best interest of the Club & all Members. Depending on severity, this could be a simple conversation, removal from a practice/race, or in extreme cases – Club expulsion.

Members are called upon to actively contribute to our success through event participation, learning about values associated with Hawaiian Culture & the sport of outrigger paddling, and by maintaining good sportsmanship.

Please reference this Guidebook throughout the year for any questions you may have.



KIKAHA O KE KAI Board of Directors & Coaches



Section 1 - Membership Responsibilities & Code of Conduct


  • Membership Dues & Waivers
    • Paddlers are welcome to join in three practices, after which you’ll have the choice to sign up and continue your membership. Regardless of membership status – all paddlers are required to sign the Liability Waiver prior to ANY practices.
    • For insurance and liability purposes, paddlers who have not paid membership dues & or completed necessary liability waivers will be asked to do so before being allowed to continue participation.
    • Please see Registration & Membership Committee Representatives for all current paperwork necessary to complete your Membership.


  • Insurance
    • All paddlers must have current personal medical insurance coverage. Once registration is completed, paddlers will also be covered through Paddlesports Risk Management (current as of 2023)
  • Safety
    • Safety is everyone’s priority! All paddlers are responsible for their own safety, in turn ensuring the safety of all members.
    • Paddlers found to be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol will not be allowed to paddle and may be asked to leave the site.
    • All paddlers are asked to check the following, and if necessary – take the proper steps to correct any deficiencies:
      • Damage to the Canoe (cracks, punctures, etc.)
      • Water inside the canoe or ama (water can seep in thru cracks or from hull damage).
      • Rigging – iako (support beam) and ama (outrigger) must be secured properly. If you are unsure about the rigging of ANY canoe – Please Ask a Coach!
      • Each canoe will have a PFD secured under every seat. It is generally preferred that every paddler have their own PFD based on swimming ability (vest or waist-pack, manual or automatic inflation). Paddlers are required to wear a PFD during official KIKAHA Winter Paddling Sessions.
      • Canoes should have two bailers – one near Seat Two, and the other near Seat Four.
      • Dress Appropriately for the weather and water conditions. Breathable fabrics are preferred – cotton is not recommended as it stays wet when wet. Bring a jacket if necessary as there will be opportunities to de-layer when needed.
      • Return canoe in a better state than when you left with it – i.e., remove garbage, bail, cover and secure back at the launch site.


  • Fitness & Swimming Ability
    • Paddlers will communicate their level of swimming ability to Coaches prior to paddling. Non-Swimmers and those that are poor swimmers will be required to wear a PFD.
    • Medical Conditions and/or physical disabilities that affect the safety of that paddler will be addressed by Coaching Staff. Kikaha is an all-inclusive Club and will look to find solutions that allow folks to paddle while maintaining safety protocols.


  • Paddling Equipment
    • PFD’s and Paddles will be available. Many paddlers prefer to purchase their own paddles and PFD based on their needs.
    • Club Equipment is for all members. Borrowed equipment is the responsibility of the Borrower. Lost or broken equipment replacement will also be the responsibility of the Borrower.


  • Paddler Self-Evaluation
    • Safety is our number one priority. To best meet this standard, there are specific Functions, Knowledge and Skills that everyone strives to acquire. Training will always be available for those that are willing to better their paddling abilities. After the first year, paddlers are expected to be proficient in the following:
      • Basic paddling techniques with an understanding of the responsibilities associated with each seat in the canoe
      • Ability to properly rig a canoe (As this is a critical skill with a direct link to the safety of everyone, canoes will NOT be released to be paddled until a Coach or veteran paddler can examine the rigging. Not only is this for the safety of all paddlers, it is also for the safety of the canoe. An improperly-rigged canoe can sustain severe damage resulting in high repair costs)
      • Self-Rescue in the event of capsizing (a “huli”). Techniques vary from OC1 to an OC6. Upon completion of Huli-Rescue Training, paddlers will be able to:
        • Self-Rescue regardless of the craft
        • Be able to describe the process of correcting a huli
        • Be familiar with the responsibilities of each seat in an OC6 during huli-recovery
        • Paddlers will be required to attend scheduled Huli-Recovery Training. Anyone desiring to use a Club OC1 or OC2 will be required to execute cold-water self-rescue to a Coach before they will be allowed to take out Club equipment.
      • After a Paddlers Second Year – with proper instruction, a paddler will be able to:
        • Steer an OC6 in a straight-line for 500 Meters
        • Execute a controlled 90-degree left turn
        • Execute a controlled 90-degree right turn
        • Execute a 180-degree turn on a buoy


  • Launch Site & Equipment Maintenance
    • Official Site-Cleanups occur twice a year – once in the Spring before the season begins, and then again in the Fall as we prepare to store canoes for the Winter. Unofficially – we clean every time we visit the site.
    • Notify any Coach or Board Member of missing or broken equipment on a canoe – especially one that needs repair and could be a safety-risk.
    • Paddlers are responsible to remove debris and any standing water in the canoe – Before and After use!


  • OC1/OC2 Usage
    • OC1/OC2 Canoes require a higher-level of paddling proficiency. Included in this proficiency is the ability to cold-water self-rescue in the event of a huli. Only Members in good standing, who have been evaluated and cleared for self-rescue - by an Authorized Kikaha Coach – will be allowed to use Club OC1’s and OC2’s. These canoes can only be used on the Foss Waterway location.
      • Cradles will be used to prevent rudders from hitting or scraping the ground
      • Check ama and canoe drain valves before use.
      • Ama/iako screws should only be finger-tightened. Over-tightening can cause damage.
      • It is mandatory to wear or bring a PFD during OC1/OC2 use. It is highly recommended to wear the PFD versus stowage on canoe.
      • Ankle leash is mandatory. Huli-Recovery will be executed with leash attached.
      • Immediately inform a Coach/Board Member if an OC1/OC2 is damaged, needs repair or is missing equipment.


  • Loading & Unloading Canoes
    • All Members are expected to help Load & Unload Canoes before and after Races. Load/Unload Times will be determined and communicated prior to each race. Members who are unable to help load/unload should inform a Coach prior to race day.

This includes:

  • Loading from the launch site to trailer before race day
  • Unloading (before races) and Loading (after races) at race site
  • Unloading the trailer back at the launch site after races


  • Service
    • Club Members are highly encouraged to participate in the administration tasks of our Club. This can be in an official capacity as a Board Member or Committee Member, or unofficially as part of the Support Staff for races and other various events.
    • Club Meetings are held throughout the year, with a General Club Meeting before the start of the Season, and typically an End-Of-Season Meeting. These Meetings are opportunities to review the past-season, to celebrate and evaluate, then plan for the next year.
    • Club Members are expected to support our Club-Sponsored Races – Manu Baker Sprints, the PNW Challenge and the Chicken Long Race.


  • Practices & Attendance
    • Members are expected to arrive and participate on time for all practices, races, meetings and other Club events. Members are expected to inform a Coach if they are going to be late or unable to attend a Club function. Text Messaging is the preferred method for communicating with Coaches.
    • Practice frequency, dates and time can fluctuate depending on Team needs, the weather, race schedules, etc. Check text messages and/or consult with Coaches for current practice information. During the race season, practices are generally held three times a week.
    • Participation at all practices is strongly encouraged and is required for paddlers wishing to race.
    • Practice Seats are granted to members in good-standing (registered) and are first-come, first-served unless other arrangements have been made with a Coach.
    • Paddler-Mentors are available to assist new paddlers. See the Membership Chair for more information.
    • To secure a seat at practice, paddlers are encouraged to text a Coach by noon on a weekday practice day, and the night before Saturday practice.


  • Intra-Club Communication
    • It is the Members responsibility to ensure that their email is correct to ensure proper delivery of club information, updates, meeting notifications, races, events, etc.
    • Club Facebook Group is Private, and Members may request to join. In addition to emails, the Facebook Group is a great place for photos, announcements, etc.


  • Respect
    • It is expected that all Members are respectful:
      • Respect yourself and your fellow paddlers.
      • Respect the canoe.
      • Respect the Hawaiian culture you represent as an outrigger paddler.
      • Respect the Coaches giving their time to teach and guide you.
      • Respect your Steersperson as they oversee your OC6.
      • Take all commands while paddling in an OC6 from your Steersperson.
      • Refrain from peer-to-peer coaching. This can cause confusion and frustration for your Steersperson.
      • Bring all comments/questions to a Coach at a proper time and place.
      • Respect other Teams and Racers. Show good sportsmanship!
      • Respect the canoe. Do not step over the ama/iako, and refrain from swearing in/around the canoe.


Section II - Setting Race Crews


The club has a policy that any club member who wants to race and attends required practices, is in good physical condition, has a good sense of teamwork, and is proficient in the proper paddling technique will have a chance to race.

  • Coaches will have the last word as to the makeup of any racing crew.  Keep in mind that sometimes the strongest and best OC-1 paddlers do not make the fastest OC-6 crew.  Working together, blending and pulling as a team are often the most important pieces in forming a strong OC-6 crew. Coaches use all available paddler criteria to decide who will race and with which crew.
  • If a paddler has an issue with coaches’ selection, the paddler should address the issue with that Coach at a proper time & place. It is also recommended that this conversation executes as soon as possible.


Section III - Dues and Racing Schedules


2024 Membership Dues:  A current schedule of dues is available at –



2024 Race Season Schedule : 

Please visit our Events page. For complete racing schedule, go to