Joined OCC: May 1935
Elected to Winged “O”: 1974
Bill Capp, whose contributions to the Outrigger Canoe Club and to its athletic program are legion, was a member of the Club before a considerable number of the Winged “O” members were born. Born on October 26, 1907 in Los Angeles, California, he was transferred to Hawaii by the Army Air Force in May 1935, and made the Outrigger one of his first stops, becoming a member just an hour and a half after checking into Luke Field.
Among his vivid memories of those early days are bombing Mauna Loa Volcano from his Army plane in 1935 in an attempt to divert the lava flow, surfing the giant Steamer Lane waves with the Duke in 1936, and dodging strafing Japanese Zeroes on December 7, 1941.
Bill’s athletic career commenced at the early age of seven with surfing in Santa Monica and then water polo, basketball, boxing and handball at USC. He was twice two-man Club volleyball champion with former Club President Wilford Godbold and Mixed Doubles champion with Rusty Thomas.
He served as Club Captain from 1955-1956.
Over the years, Bill served on every Club committee with the exception of Historical. It would appear that he would have been a natural for that committee since he represented Club history in the flesh.
In addition to his committee work, Bill served on the Board of Directors for 14 years and was instrumental in pressing for many of the Club improvements which were instituted.
From 1948 to 1952 he directed the very successful Junior Athletic Summer program for the Club’s youngsters.
For 22 years he was the jolly, jovial Santa Claus at the Keiki Christmas Party.
Perhaps his most important and longest lasting contribution to Outrigger and Hawaii water sports was his almost single-handed accomplishment in bringing order out of the chaos of Hawaii outrigger canoe racing. The program was practically dead in the water with no standardized size, weight, length or construction of the canoes. Eligibility for classes was changed almost weekly. The entire activity was going down for the third time when Bill stepped in, established race rules, regulations and standards and positioned canoe racing to become the Hawaii State Sport and the regatta and long distance seasons we now enjoy.
He helped form the Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association and later the Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association.
The Hawaii State House of Representatives honored Bill for his achievements in his canoe racing efforts.
He was elected to Life Membership in the Outrigger Canoe Club at its Annual Meeting on February 23, 1981.
Bill passed away on July 19, 1989.