This oral history interview is a project of the Historical Committee of the Outrigger Canoe Club. The legal right to this material remain with the Outrigger Canoe Club. Anyone wishing to reproduce it or quote at length from it should contact the Historical Committee of the Outrigger Canoe Club. The reader should be aware that an oral history document portrays information as recalled by the interviewee. Because of the spontaneous nature of this kind of document, it may contain statements and impressions that are not factual. A full transcript is available below the video.
An interview by Barbara Del Piano
March 3, 2017
BDP: I’m Barbara Del Piano, and I am a member of the Historical Committee of the Outrigger Canoe Club, and one of our projects is to interview long-time members and members who have made serious contributions to the Club for oral histories. Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Bob Moore.
BM: Thank you.
BDP: Hi, Bob.
BDP: First of all, let’s start out with where were you born.
BM: I was born in a hospital in South Gate, California, but I lived all my young life in Long Beach.
BDP: When did you come to Hawaii?
BM: I came first in 1956 after graduating from high school. I got a job on the Lurline as a merchant seaman and got introduced to Hawaii that way, and then returned two years later to go to the University of Hawaii.
BDP: Oh, so you went to the university here.
BM: I graduated, yes, from the university.
BDP: Oh, and what was your major?
BM: I was a business major, business administration major.
BDP: Business administration, oh. How did you happen to join the Outrigger?
BM: I guess two primary reasons. One was that I wanted to paddle. I had paddled about 10 years before I joined for Hui Nalu. In fact, I had the privilege of paddling for John D. Kaupiko. He was still alive and very much a coach. Then there was a 10-year gap, and I decided I wanted to paddle again. I thought the Outrigger would be a great place to do that, plus my wife and I were about to have a child and we thought that would be … the Outrigger would be a great place to raise our children, and it has been.
BDP: Where did you meet your wife?
BM: We met here in Hawaii. Right after I graduated, I worked for Hawaii Visitors Bureau and there was a lady that worked there with me, and she introduced my wife to me at … while I was still working at Hawaii Visitors Bureau.
BDP: Oh, and you had children, right?
BM: I have two, yes. I have a daughter that was a member. She’s no longer a member. She lives here in Hawaii. I have a son, Ian, who lives in San Diego. He was a member, but he probably will not come back to Hawaii so he’s dropped his membership.
BDP: Bob, you have two children and they’re grown now. Do you have any grandchildren?
BM: Yes. My daughter, Heather, who lives here, has a grandson, Kobey, Kobey Damon. Kobey’s a member. He joined last year. He’s 11, so he joined when he was 10. He’s a paddler and he’s a runner. He’s a good runner. I don’t know whether he’ll played volleyball or not. He’s kind of expressed an interest in playing volleyball, so I think he will prove to be a good participating member as he grows older.
BM: Yeah, it’s great.
BDP: You just have one grandchild?
BM: I have another grandchild. He’s only three. He’s the one that lives in San Diego with my son, Ian. They don’t come over very often so I don’t see them too much, couple times a year. It would be nice to make him a member one day if he’s coming to Hawaii more often.
BDP: Of course you paddled for the Outrigger.
BM: Yes, I did.
BDP: Did you participate in any other sports?
BM: I did a lot of volleyball.
BDP: Uh-huh. Did you play on any team?
BM: Outrigger’s teams, yes.
BDP: Did you make any trips to the mainland?
BM: No. No, didn’t do that. All the tournaments and things that I played in, all tournaments basically were here in Hawaii.
BDP: Did you surf?
BM: Yes, yes. Board surfed early on, then later on became a bodyboarder. Enjoy that more than board surfing.
BDP: Really? Oh, interesting. Did you do any coaching?
BM: No, never coached.
BDP: Then when did you start joining committees?
BM: You know, early on. I don’t remember the exact date, but I know that early on I got very much involved. In fact, I served on every committee and I’ve chaired every committee, over the course of my membership life.
BDP: Oh, my goodness, yes. What were some of the special things that took place on committees that you were serving on?
BM: I don’t remember any special things. I remember when I was a board member. There were a couple of things that at the time were very important. One was the attempt to purchase a fee simple from the Elks Club. I remember the first year that I was president. We made a presentation to the Elks Club and never got a response, which was really frustrating. The second year we tried again. I was president again the second year, two years in a row, and made another attempt to buy the fee from the Elks, and that went unanswered too. That was really a source of frustration for everybody, because we thought we had a good chance. We thought our offer was fair. Obviously, they didn’t.
BDP: They didn’t even respond?
BM: They didn’t even respond, which was really frustrating.
BDP: Oh, my goodness.
BM: The other thing was that, I think it was the first year I was president, we decided to have special athletic members, and that was another disappointment with respect to … the idea was that the new special athletic members would be interested in joining, not just paddling for the sake of paddling but ultimately becoming members. I think that year we took in 53 special athletic members. At the end of the season, only three people were doing it.
BDP: What is exactly a special athletic member?
BM: Well, they brought people in just to paddle, so there would be enough people in every crew. We could field crews in every age group. At the time, there were gaps where we didn’t have enough participants, Outrigger members, to fill those seats, so we brought in these special members.
BDP: Oh, and how many did you bring in in any one year?
BM: I think that the year that I did it, 53 was the most. Since then, the number has diminished I think. I think people are concerned about winning at all costs, I guess, is really what it amounts to. I think people see that as do we really need to win at all costs.
BDP: Do you mean that they did not pay any initiation fee?
BM: No, they did not.
BDP: Or dues?
BM: You know, I believe that they paid dues, and I’m not even sure about that, but I’m pretty certain that they paid dues. They certainly did not pay an initiation fee.
BDP: Oh, boy.
BM: They were only members for the paddling season. At the end of the season, they were no longer members.
BDP: Oh, interesting. Does that still exist today?
BM: I know it does. I don’t know what the number is. I think the numbers … I think I heard recently that the number is down to maybe 20 or something like that.
BDP: I see. Before you became president, what positions did you hold on the board?
BM: You know, I don’t really remember the specific positions I held. I know that I was a member of the board for four years before I became president. The fourth and the fifth year when I was on the board, I was president. The sixth year I was Club Captain.
BDP: Oh, you were Club Captain.
BM: After that, obviously my six-year term was over with.
BDP: That is a very big job.
BM: It was a big job. I think at the time it wasn’t as big as it is today. Today it’s grown to the point where we actually have a full-time employee that’s helping with that program, so that was a good move. That was a good move on the Outrigger’s part, to hire somebody to really coordinate the whole thing, because it is a tremendous job, especially when you’re volunteering to do that kind of work and take on that kind of responsibility.
BDP: When you joined the Outrigger, we were still at the old location?
BM: No, it was not. I didn’t join until 1968.
BDP: Oh, ’68.
BM: I had been to the old Club a few times, wasn’t terribly familiar with it. Yes, I didn’t join here until ’68.
BDP: Oh, I see. Now, how long have you and Sue been married?
BM: My wife and I’ve been married for 51 years.
BDP: Fifty-one years, wow.
BDP: Your career, you were with the Visitors Bureau?
BM: Yes. That was my first job out of high school, I mean out of college.
BDP: College, and then what did you do?
BM: I managed Sea Life Park for 12 years.
BM: Managed the Hawaii Maritime Center for six years. Now I work for myself. I have my own business.
BDP: What is your own business?
BM: The business is called Airline Concierge, and I have a partner. He’s a member also, Bill Johnson. We provide services to airlines. We provide hotels and transportation for airline passengers whose flights have either been canceled, delayed, or airlines that have overbooked or people that have missed their connections.
BDP: Oh, that’s interesting.
BM: It’s kind of a niche business. It is, it’s very much a niche business, but very gratifying.
BDP: You’re still working full-time?
BM: Well, my work schedule is that I work for a week and I’m off for a week. If you call that full-time, yes, but I don’t know if that’s full-time.
BDP: Oh, that’s a great schedule.
BM: Yeah, it is a nice schedule.
BDP: Are you involved with the Club at all?
BM: Not anymore. Actually, I had an interesting experience a couple of years ago. You know, every year they send out a little card asking what committee you’d like to serve on. A couple of years ago I got a card, I filled it out and I indicated that I wanted to be on … I believe it was the House Committee. I’m pretty sure it was. I got a letter back from the Outrigger that said I was too old to serve on a committee. That was the end of my committee participation at the Outrigger. I probably will never serve again because of that.
BDP: Oh, my goodness. That’s terrible.
BDP: Yeah. Do you spend any time at the Club now?
BM: Every day.
BDP: Every day?
BM: Every day. Every day I’m here reading and working out, doing some kind of exercise. I exercise every day.
BDP: Don’t you and Sue walk a lot?
BM: I do. We do walk about five days a week, and work out in the weight room about two days, or the other two days a week. I do something every day.
BDP: That’s wonderful. What is your feeling about the Club, about the Outrigger? Do you think it’s fulfilling its mission?
BM: To some degree yes, but I think the mission is changing. I think there are a number of members who sense this change and are concerned about it, concerned in the sense that there’s more emphasis on the social side and less emphasis on athletics. It may be that the athletic membership is not spending enough to support the athletic program. I don’t know that. I mean, I don’t know the answer to that. I think that’s something that the Board of Directors can clarify to the membership, so that the membership understands the need for people to be participating in a lot of different ways, not only paddling but spending money that allows those programs to exist, because they are expensive. I forgot what the budget for athletics is. Probably $700,000 or $800,000. That’s quite a bit of money.
BM: I believe that’s the case.
BDP: Oh, that’s tremendous, but I wonder how the other clubs can afford that.
BM: Well, that’s a good question. I mean, I don’t know any details about any of the other clubs, so I don’t know how they manage. Maybe their dues structure is higher than ours. Maybe the requirements for spending, especially food and beverage spending, are higher than ours. There are a multitude of factors that play into it.
BDP: Well, the Outrigger is the only paddling club that actually has a clubhouse.
BM: That’s right. That’s correct.
BDP: Maybe their expenses are lower?
BM: Yeah, certainly. Certainly from a paddling standpoint, I couldn’t agree with you more. Their expenses are far less, especially when we have a debt obligation for lease rent that’s, what, $800,000 a year? That’s a big chunk of money, and fortunately when I was president, that figure was $30,000 a year. It made the programs at the Outrigger a lot easier to deal with, to support financially. I would guess today that’s much more difficult. It has to be more difficult when we’re paying the kind of lease rent that we are, and obviously other costs have gone up besides lease rent.
BDP: What do you think the future holds for the Outrigger down the road when the lease expires?
BM: I mean, that’s a huge question, a huge question. If we cannot renew our lease with them at the end of … I think we have maybe 40 years … at the end of the 40 years, if we cannot renew that lease, we’re going to have to find another location. If we’re fortunate enough to buy the fee, that would be a whole different story. You know, we’ve tried for years and years. Not only did I try a couple of times, I know there have been other efforts to try and buy the fee that have failed. Hopefully our relationship with the Elks Club has improved and will continue to improve, to the point where they’ll either agree to sell us the fee or agree to give us a new lease.
BDP: That would be wonderful.
BM: That would be wonderful.
BDP: What did you think about the property we bought in Aina Haina?
BM: In hindsight, no. In foresight and hindsight either way, I think there was a mistake.
BDP: To buy it or to sell it?
BM: Both. Well, to buy it, because if we hadn’t have bought it, then we wouldn’t have needed to sell it. I think that the idea was to land-bank. The idea of buying the property was not to move there, at least that was my understanding. My understanding was that all they wanted to do was buy the land and hold onto it, and hope that it would increase in value faster than the stock market was doing. I think at the time the stock market was probably stuttering, and they thought real estate would be a better investment.
As it turns out for us, it didn’t turn out to be a very good investment. I know that we lost a lot of money. We had a debt service on it, plus we had ongoing maintenance. I don’t know what that figure was. I understand it was probably close to $3 million that we lost, so that was significant. I mean, absolutely significant.
BDP: Wow. Well, do you have any funny stories?
BM: Funny? I wish I had some funny ones. I have some concerns. You know, one of the things that has bothered me lately … actually been bothering me for quite a while … is the lack of privacy. We call ourselves a private club, but we’re anything but a private club. We have people coming down here using our facility that are not members. They’re not guests, they’re not reciprocals, they’re people off the street, and I see it every day down here. I see it in the weight room, I see it in the locker room, I see it on the beach and I see it as the access to the beach, so that bothers me. I know that we’ve talked about it, especially with the former manager, and his excuse was, “We don’t want to inconvenience our membership.” To me, our membership is being inconvenienced by having these people coming around.
BM: We’ve even had street people come in.
BDP: Yeah, when you …
BM: Homeless people, come in and use our shower.
BDP: Yeah, that was brought up at the annual meeting, wasn’t it?
BM: Yeah, it was pretty funny. It was a good story, but I don’t think that’s untypical. I mean, it doesn’t go on every day, don’t get me wrong, but I think it goes on. I think there’s a lot that goes on that is overlooked.
BDP: What would you suggest to change that?
BM: Good question. I mean, if I had a solution, I’d be the first to offer it. I don’t. Limiting access is obviously one, but how you do that with as many access points as we have would be difficult, and I know it will be difficult, but being difficult doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try and resolve it. Hopefully somebody’s working on it, somebody’s paying attention, because it needs attention.
BDP: It needs it. At the last board meeting, what did you think of combining the meeting with the Aloha Party?
BM: I think it was very disrespectful to the committee people who served all year long and didn’t get much recognition at that meeting at all. I would like to see them separate it back like it was before, so that the committee people that have served for a whole year get recognized and thanked for their effort, and I don’t think they did a very good job of doing that at this last annual meeting.
BDP: Well, I think the Board realizes that, and they have been making some plans.
BM: Hopefully that’s the case.
BDP: Well, do you have anything else you’d like to say to us?
BDP: Do you and Sue attend a lot of social functions at the Club?
BM: A few, not a lot. A few, yes. We enjoy it. We obviously have lots of friends here, after … what have we been, 48 years members?
BDP: Forty-eight years members. That’s a long time.
BM: Yeah, it is.
BDP: Well, if we have nothing else to discuss, I guess we’ll bring this to a close.
BM: Thank you.
BDP: I thank you very much, Bob, for participating.
BM: Oh, thank you. It’s my pleasure, my pleasure.
BDP: I’m sure this will be a very interesting addition to our archive.
BM: Very good. Thank you.
Robert Moore’s Service to the Outrigger Canoe Club
Board of Directors
1979 Coordinating Director House
1980 Coordinating Director House
1983 Coordinating Director Athletics & Winged “O”
1994 Coordinating Director Admissions & Membership
1995 Vice President Activities
1996 Assistant Treasurer, Coordinating Director Historical
1997 Assistant Treasurer
Admissions & Membership Committee
Building & Grounds Committee
Long Range Planning Committee
State Canoe Racing Championship
1970 Freshmen Men
Molokai Canoe Racing
1975 18th Overall
Macfarlane Regatta Championship
1967 Novice Men