The Outrigger Canoe Club has had an enduring relationship with the military going back to its founding in 1908. A few weeks after it opened on the beach in Waikiki, the Club officially welcomed the Great White Fleet to Waikiki by sending out a fleet of outrigger canoes to greet the Navy ships and lead them into Honolulu Harbor. During their stay in Hawaii, the Club entertained the troops with aquatic games during the day and musical entertainment and lighted water shows on the beach at night.
The Club held its first 4th of July canoe regatta in 1910 and invited men from three Navy ships stationed in Honolulu Harbor to try their hand at outrigger canoe racing. Although they were new to canoes, one Navy crew finished the race to claim victory.
When World War I started, Outrigger members were among the first to enlist in the military and the Ladies Auxiliary wasted no time sewing a quilt with the names of all who served. Since that time members have served with distinction in all conflicts in all branches of the service.
During World War II access from OCC to the ocean was limited by barbed wire strung on the beach to protect from a water invasion. A small gate was open to the beach during daylight hours but everyone was required to be out of the water before sunset. Many members enlisted in the military and served in both Europe and the Pacific. However, the Outrigger became a home away from home for troops on R&R at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel as they learned to surf, paddle canoes and play volleyball on the Club courts.
On the 100th anniversary of that first 4th of July race, the Club proposed a military invitational race at its Walter J. Macfarlane Regatta and invited other canoe clubs to host a military crew for the half-mile race. The race is now a regular event to start the Walter J. Macfarlane Regatta each year and has become so popular with the military that in 2014 one crew was made up of Admirals from the various Navy branches of the U.S. Pacific Command who wanted in on the fun. In 2015, the OCC offered a new perpetual trophy for the winner of the race made from a relic from the USS Arizona that was given to the Club by the Commander of Navy Region Hawai`i at Pearl Harbor. The trophy lists the names of the winning crews each year. It is on display at Waikiki Beach on race day for all to see and is spotlighted in the Club’s Ka Mo`i Boathouse the rest of the year
The OCC Board of Directors established a special military membership to encourage active duty military to join the Club and participate in its ocean activities while they are stationed in Hawaii.
The Outrigger Canoe Club is proud of its members who have served and continue to serve, as it is of all the men and women who serve unselfishly in the armed services to protect our country and our freedom. We support them and thank them for their service.