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contrell : outrigger canoe club, 1911 
William Contrell : The Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Club, 1911.

Extract from
Contrell, William: The Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Club.
The Mid-Pacific Magazine
Conducted by Alexander Hume Ford, Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii,
Volume 2, Number 1, July,1911, pages 2 to 10.

Hathi Trust

While the article has much interesting detail, the remarks on the initial formation of the Outrigger Canoe Club are somewhat romantic - one of the malihini was undoubtedly Alexander Hume Ford, the magazine's publisher.
Note that the desire to promote the revival of surfboard riding appears to be the major impetus, rather than the use of outrigger canoes, which would later become the main focus of the club's activities.

Page 2
The Outrigger Club Beach.
[Photo by Rice and Perkins.]

Page 3
The Club Emblem.

In Hawaii they call a stranger a malihini.

One day a pair of malihinis walked along a little stretch of beach at Waikiki and lamented the fact that the great hotels and palatial villas of the rich had so encroached that practically there was no
public entrance to one of the most famous beaches in the world.

The two malihinis looked out on the sea where there were three boys riding on their surf-boards. They asked if it were possible for them to learn the art of standing on the waves on these chips ...

Page 4

(Photograph, page 4, Grass shack and canoe.)
The Beginning of the Outrigger Canoe Club.

... of wood and were told that it must be learned in childhood.
One of the mali- hinis, a man of forty proved a doubting Thomas and induced the three youngsters to show him the way on a board out to the big breakers.
In six weeks of hard work, eight hours a day, he mastered the art of standing and riding on the Hawaiian surf-board.
Furthermore, he discovered that by being shown the trick of starting and guiding the board, a novice could learn how to master the surf in a few lessons.
He observed, however, that the beach was practically closed to the small boy of Hawaii who could not afford the dally bath house fee.

"Why not organize a surf-board club,"' he said to some of the young men and boys who were expert surf-board riders, "and secure a place on the beach on which to build a clubhouse for those who
wish to learn to ride the surf-board ?"
There was a general howl of ridicule at the idea of anyone, a malihini least of all, securing a bit of property facing Waikiki Beach: but the malihini didn't see things just this way.
He found out that one of the leases for an acre and a haif of ,!?;"rouud would soon expire.
This acre and a half faced the sea between the two great Waikiki hotels and was the property of the Queen Emma Estate.
Here, on these grounds, in years gone by, Kamehameha the Great had landed with their war canoes the warriors who conquered the Island of Oahu.
Here Queen Emma had learned to ride the surf-board.
Here was built for her one of the old native grass houses and daily with her retainer she would go out as a child to the big surf and come in standing on her board.
It was the most historic bit of ground in Honolulu and the trustees of the Estate expressed a willingness to hand over the property to a club that would perpetuate the Hawaiian water sports of which Queen Emma had been so fond.

Thus it was that for a nominal sum this valuable piece of property was handed over to the malihini, on the condition that he organize a club that would make, it easily possible during the twenty years of the lease for every grown person and voungster in Hawaii to learn to become an adept in the art of guiding Hawaiian outrigger canoes and riding on the surf-board.

The Outrigger Canoe Club sprang into existence with a hundred members, and within a few months more young people were riding the surf-board and steering canoe's than had ever done so since the days of the landing of Kamehameha's fleet.
To the astonishment of the people of Hawaii, it was found that not only could men of all ages quickly learn the art of riding the surf-board, but that even young girls and women rapidly picked up the accomplishment.

That first summer of 1908 the club was in full swing and the requirements ...

Page 5

(Photograph, page 5, Grass shack and canoe.)
S. Howard Hithcock's Painting of the Womens's Auxilary.

... of giving the grounds an Hawaiian effect were carried out.
There were two real Hawaiian grass houses on the Island of Oahu that had been built with all the ceremonies attendant on the construction of churc buildings by the Hawaiians.
The posts were of real ohia wood lashed together with grass ropes, the walls were lined with pandamus leaves and the whole thatched with the real pili grass used by Hawaiian chiefs on their buildings.
These houses were secured and moved to the grounds of the Outrigger Club.
Rules were made forbidding the harboring of the grounds of any kind of craft other than real outrigger canoes.
Once a year the native Hawaiian canoeists of the island were invited to make the Outrigger grounds their home for several days.
Old Hawaiian sports of every kind were revived and it was a unique sight even to the people of Honolulu to see crews of native women in sailing and paddling canoe races.
On the grounds from fifty to a hundred Hawaiians lived in native style in the grass houses, the women pounding taro into poi, the men baking pigs in imus, or underground ovens, and everything proceedings as it did in the days when Kamehameha landed on this sport.

The Club grew in influence and importance and soon became an institution.
It now became necessary to interest the gentler sex.
A grass bath house was built and a part of the grounds set apart exclusively for a women's auxiliary, which soon numbered a hundred members.
The hau trees were jacked up on cocoanut posts and trellises and formed into splendid outing places for picnics and parties.
In the great wide lagoon adjoining the Otltrigger grounds was built a big thatched dancing pavilion or lanai.
In everything the Hawaiian effect was maintained.

Through the courtesy of Frank Clark, of around-the-world cruise fame, magnificent silver trophies for the best boy and girl surf-board riders and canoe ...

Page 6

(Photograph, page 6, Unclear.)
Illuminated Surfboard Riding at Night.

... surfists were offered as an encouragement to those who would become adept in these sports.

It must be remembered that the waters of Hawaii remain at about 76 to 78 degrees of warmth the year around.
It is in summer, however, when the school children have their vacation, that the waters of the bay are crowded with canoes and surf-boards and the grounds with merrymakers.
On the grounds the boys make their own surf-boards and the paddles with which they guide the canoes before the great rollers.
Here too they fashion the outriggers and lash them to the canoes.
Once more the old Hawaiian sports are being revived and bid fair to excel in every way anything accomplished in the days of old.

The revival of the old Hawaiian water sports by the Outrigger Club has resulted also in a revival of some of the Hawaiian vernacular.

The outrigger of a canoe, to the younger members of the Club especially, is now divided into ama and the iaku, the ama being the parallel piece of hau tree log, while the two sticks that hold it out from the canoe are called iakus.
The canoe itself is a waa and the paddle a hoe.
Native names are invariably given to the canoes and the sentiment is all in favor of the royal colors, yellow for the manu or gunwale and either black for the body of the canoe or merely the polishing of the outside of the koa log from which it is fashioned.
The big waves I before which the canoes ride are now called nuinalu, or big waves, while the little waves are called piula, or weak.
Gradually, words long forgotten by the whites or haoles born in the Islands, are being revived for use by the Outrigger enthusiasts.

The revival of the surf-board has also had its useful side.
Many lives have been saved in the surf through the use of the board.
One member of the Outrigger Club has saved as many as eight human lives, all with the use of the surf-board.
The surf-board can be propelled through the water very much faster than anyone can swim.
It cuts through the incoming waves and quickly reaches anyone in trouble in the big surf.
The drowning man is placed on the board and the board shoved toward the shore.

There is also the esthetic side to the Outrigger Canoe Club.
There are occasions when scores of canoes are beautifully decorated with lanterns and a night water carnival prepared for the delectation of the members ashore.
Not only that, but some of the youngsters have learned the secret of touching off red fire on the tips of their boards just as they catch the wave and their illuminated figures are seen in outline on the foaming crest.
The social entertainments at the Outrigger Club are among the events of the Honolulu season, the Club lanai being the most spacious dancing floor in the Territory and nearly every prominent citizen being a supporting member of the Club.

Perhaps one Hawaiian sport that the Club has done least to revive has been that of native fishing. Still there are members of the Club who do sometimes go far out to sea in their canoes and ...

Page 7

(Photograph, page 7.)
Canoe Races in Front of the Outrigger Club.

... spear the multi-colored fish that swarm in Hawaiian waters.
The usual method is to take a glass bottomed box and a twenty-foot spear.
The edge of the box is held in the teeth by the swimmer and the spear in the right hand.
As the fish is seen twenty or thirty feet below, the spearman aims his spear and pierces the fish.
That is how it is done in the daytime.

At night parties sometimes wade out on the reef with torches and short spears.
The fish, attracted by the light, dart by between the feet and down comes the spear.
In fact there are all kinds of possibilities, once the Club undertakes to develop the sport of native fishing.
Recently a glass bottomed boat has been added to the fleet of Hawaiian canoes owned by the Club and when the bottom is not broken by a bit of jagged coral in shallow waters, it is often used by the curious who like to float out over the reefs and see the wonderful growth of coral and the many colored fish darting by.
It is intended to build just back of the beach on the Outrigger Club grounds an aquarium in the sand with coral sides and bottom.
A pipeline will lead out to the ocean water and the many colored fish of the adjacent reefs will be kept in the aquarium, that the Club members may learn something of the different species that may be had near by for the spearing.

There are probably as many canoes in the Club grounds at Waikiki as there are outside of the groupds on the entire Island of Oahu.
There are three canoes,however, not on the Club grounds, but down at Pearl Harbor that the Club envies and which have been promised.
Two of these canoes are sixty feet in length and it takes fourteen paddlers at least to man either one of them.
These are the two largest of the old native canoes left on the Islands, and it is the intention of the Club to keep them as State canoes for distinguished visitors who come to Hawaii.
The Club will also make a collection of Polynesian canoes from all around the Pacific; in fact, a start has been made in this direction.

The Outrigger Club has quickly become an institution that is recognized, particularly at carnival time in February.
In the great Floral Parade on Washington's Birthday there were two noted entries from the Outrigger Canoe Club, one a canoe racing down the face of a curling wave with two surf-boards at the base of the wave.
The canoe and boards were manned by the younger members of the Club.
The other float which was placed in the Floral Parade is a model of an old Hawaiian grass house with the tapa-beaters at work inside and the poi pounders at work without.
This year the malihini judges awarded the first prize to the Outrigger Canoe Club grass house in the Parade, which indicates that the stranger, at least, comes to the Islands to see something of old Hawaii.

Visitors from abroad are welcome at the Outrigger Club, and upon being properly presented and paying monthly dues of one dollar, are welcomed as transient members with all the privileges ...

Page 8

The Grounds of the Outrigger Club.
[Photo by Rice and Perkins.]

Page 9
(Photograph, page 9a, Grass shack.)
Native Day at the Outrigger Club.

... of the Club: in fact, there are probably as many malihini as there are kamaaina members.

No better idea of the scope and activity of the Outrigger Club today can be presented than the resolutions adopted by the present House Committee of the Club and endorsed unanimously by the Board of Directors.
The following is the plan of sports and entertainment at the Club for the present year, and which will probably be followed for the future.


( 1 ) An entertainnlent to be given in February consisting of native Hawaiian canoe sports, by the men and women of the Kalihi Aquatic Club, they bringing their canoes and poi pounders, baking taro Hawaiian style on the beach and ...

(Photograph, page 9b, Carrying canoe.)
After the Ride in the Surf.

Page 10

... pounding same into poi and luauing a pig; the men and women of the club to engage in canoe sailing and racing, and surf-boarding.
This entertainment to be made an annual event to be known as "Malihini Day" at the Club, with a dance to the visitors in the evening.

(2) In the early spring a carnival to be given on the grounds of the Club for the purpose of raising funds for the definite, fixed purposes herewith suggested.
That a committee first secure a thousand signed subscriptions to the tickets at $1 each before same are printed; that as the funds come in the board of directors instruct the treasurer to use these funds pro rata on the improvements for which the entertainment is given and on general expenses of the entertainment; and that this fund be used for no other purposes.
The funds are to be expended on a permanent concrete wall, thatching and rethatching the lanai and grass houses, filling in, house moving, work on a hew bathhouse for the women, a pergola entrance to the grounds, rock jetties and sand bagging to preserve the beach, a clubroom adjoining the large lanai, surfboards and paddles, and other necessary incidentals in the way of improving the grounds prior to the date set for the entertainment.
The estimated expenses are as follows:
Housemoving              .
Boards and paddles
Women's bathhouse 
Rocks and bags for beach
Incidental improvements
Cost of entertainment


   ...  $375.00
 ...    100.00
...      25.00
...      25.00
...      25.00
...   150.00
...     50.00
...   100.00
...     50.00
...   100.00
...   200.00

(3) A joint ball with the other aquatic clubs on Regatta Day evening in the large lanai on the Club grounds.

(4) An Halloween masquerade.

( 5 ) A Christmas dance.

The House and Entertainment Committees also recommend that two or three "get-together" chowders be given, at cost, in the lanai, to which the ladies of the Auxiliary be invited by the men's club.

( 1) An annual "Malihini Day" in February, consisting of Hawaiian sports and pastimes on the grounds of the Club and in the surf by native Hawaiians engaged for the occasion.

(2) On Kamehameha Day surf-boarding and canoe races, with prizes or decorations to those who invent and carry out new surfing games or contests.

(3) On July 4th, cup races, surfing, swimming and canoeing for the perpetual cups already in possession of the Club.

(4) Canoe race in September for the juniors.

(5) Late in the fall a night carnival of surfing and canoeing- with decorated canoes and fireworks from surf-boards.

(Photograph, page 10, Illuminated Surfboard Riding at Night, cropped.)

The Mid-Pacific Magazine.
Volume 2 Number 1.
Conducted by Alexander Hume Ford, 
Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii, 

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home catalogue history references appendix

Geoff Cater (2011) : Name : William Contrell, Outrigger Canoe Club, 1911.