The popularity of ocean kayaking grew with Outrigger members in the 1980s with the introduction of new lightweight craft for recreation and competition. The Club sponsored its first competitive ocean kayak race in 1986 as part of the Kanaka Ikaika series of races. In 1989, a surfski/kayak division was added to the Tri-Ocean Races in December. The Club also sponsored a January surfski race, the Hoe Wa’a Mau races and the Makai Pier to Kewalo Kayak Race.
Members paddled in Club races, as well as other races in the Kanaka Ikaika season.
As OC-1 canoes grew in popularity and members switched to OC-1s, the Club dropped its sponsorship of ocean kayak/surfski races. Members still compete in these events in Kanaka Ikaika races.
Today, the only surfski race sponsored by OCC is an event during the Club’s annual Surfing Contest.
Outrigger has a number of outstanding ocean kayakers. Tracy Phillips was a three-time member of the U.S. Olympic Kayak team, competing in the K-1, K-2 and K-4 500-meter events in 1988, 1992 and 1996.
OCC members have been the top local finishers in the Molokai to Oahu Kayak Race, including Dale Adams who made the first Molokai crossing in a kayak in 1976. He founded Kanaka Ikaika which sponsors the race in 1977. Outrigger’s Eve Anderson was the first woman to make the solo crossing in 1980.
In 1985 Lesline Conner got the first of her five Molokai victories in the women’s division; the others were in 1986, 1987, 1989 and 1990. In 1994, Kelly Fey won the first of her five straight Molokai kayak crossings
Nalu Kukea was the first Hawaii resident to finish in 1992 and 1996; Kala Judd and Geoff Graf took those honors in 1993; and Marshall Rosa finished in the top four six times in the 1980s. Other strong competitors include Mark Sandvold, Mark Buck, David Buck, Kevin Olds, Tim Guard, Bill Bright, Courtney Seto, Chris Kincaid, Gaylord Wilcox, Rachel Kincaid and Kaya McTigue.