Josephine Hopkins Garner was elected to Life membership in the Outrigger Canoe Club at the Annual Meeting in February 1984.
Josephine was a pioneer in an age when competitive women’s sports were virtually nonexistent. Prior to 1917 there was scant competition in the area of women’s surfing at the OCC with one exception. In 1910 a surfing contest was held and the winner received a perpetual trophy–the Frank Clark Cup. The contest was held again in 1917 and Josephine was the winner.
She started swimming for Outrigger in 1917 and within a year she had captured several medals, a trophy and the distinction of second place in an AAU meet as the first member of the Outrigger’s girls team. This was her first major competition. She finished second behind the Pacific Coast Champion, winning the silver medals in the 50, 100 and 200 yard freestyle. She was the first woman to swim for the Outrigger in competition outside of the Club.
In 1920 the Club put together its first women’s relay team. While Dad Center was coaching the U.S. swimming team in the 1920 Olympics, Josephine coached the fledgling Outrigger’s women’s swim team. She was a regular competitor in the Castle Swim beginning in 1917.
Josephine was one of the six Outrigger girls who competed in the 1933 canoe race in Kona. This event is considered the event that revived competitive canoe racing in Hawaii.