Hui O Mana Ka Pu‘uwai Outrigger Canoe Club History
Pu‘uwai Canoe Club was founded in 1990 by Jeff Ano and Joe Rapozo to meet the need for an active canoe club on the East side of Kaua’i. The club’s full name, Hui O Mana Ka Pu‘uwai, meaning “power from the heart,” was chosen to describe the paddlers whose strength comes from their hearts.
We paddle at the Wailua River (our canoes are located there) and in the ocean along the coast from Lihu’e to Kapa’a. Wailua, named “two waters” for the two streams flowing from Wai‘ale’ale that converge to make the river. It is the longest navigable river in the state. Many culturally significant sites, including heiau (places of worship), pohaku ho’ohanau (birthstones) and pu’uhonua (places of refuge), encompass the Wailua region.
We were officially accepted into the Garden Island Canoe Racing Association in 1991, and that was our first full season.
We began our club with two borrowed Malia canoes, the “Waimea” and the “Kamehameha” which were returned to Kaleo Ho’okano when Kilohana Canoe Club founded their club at the Waimea River on the Westside. We continued paddling with two racers, the “Onipa‘a” borrowed from the Smith family, and the “Kaumuali‘i” borrowed from Mark Gomez.
By 1992 we had fixed up another borrowed Malia, the “Anahola” owned by Vernon White. For the 1992 season we bought two new racers from Walter Guild on O‘ahu, naming them the “Ho‘olehua” and the “Ho‘omaluhia”.
In 1993 we bought two old Malias from Kamehameha Canoe Club on O‘ahu, the “Polu Wa‘a” and the “Kahakai” which we renamed the “Laimana” and the “Malolo” respectively. As a note of interest, these two canoes were used in the Rob Riner film, “North”, which was partially filmed on the north shore of Kaua‘i at Papa‘a Bay. The director wanted the canoes to look like Koa wood, so their artists faux-painted them. Some people thought we had bought two new Koa canoes.
In February 1997 we purchased the “Kaumuali‘i”, which we had been borrowing. In March 1997 we bought a new Patterson-mold canoe from Force Marine in Hilo which we named the “‘Eleu”. In 1999 we sold the “Kaumuali‘i” to Kaiola Canoe Club.
In March 2000 President Jimmy Youn sold the “Laimana” and the “Malolo” to the Anahola Paddlers’ Association, and bought a new Bradley Racer canoe from Sonny Kaukini Bradley on Oahu, which we named the “Koa‘e Kea”.
In 2002 president Brian Curll developed a close working relationship with the Kapaa Chapter of the Boys and Girls Club teaching their kids to paddle. President Brian Curll and Boys and Girls Club purchased a Mirage Canoe, which is kept at the river and may be used Boys and Girls club members, when not in use by our regular schedule practices.
In 2003 we re-borrowed the Onipa‘a from the Smith Family but unfortunately the Onipa’a was sunk and not recovered our other Hawaiian racer was damaged beyond our ability to repair it.
In the summer of 2004 President Brian Curll using the Force Five Mold made available to him by Ken Pua, built a new Force Five to replace the Onipa‘a. This new force five was deeded over to the Smith family in replacement for the canoe we lost. They have renamed it the Onipa‘a and generously continued to let us use it for our programs.
In 2004 we also acquired a light blue Mirage from the World Sprints games held in Hilo known as the Coconuts.
In 2006 we purchased a Bradley Lightning and named it Kukui O Keo Keo O Wailua.
In 2007 we purchased an additional Force Five predominately for training practices.