Canoe surfing has been popular with members of the Outrigger Canoe Club since its founding in 1908. When the OCC Beach Service was started in the 1930s, tourists also began to experience the joy of riding Waikiki’s rolling waves in large wooden canoes steered by Waikiki’s famous beach boys.
In 1964 when the Club moved to its Diamond Head site, canoe surfing took on a new life as members enjoyed the thrilling rides at Old Man’s, Castles, Sand Bar, Rice Bowl, and Tonggs surf breaks in front of the Club. As fiberglass canoes became available, they became the craft of choice because of their easier maneuverability.
The Club maintains a fleet of surfing canoes for member’s enjoyment. All steersman must be tested and approved for the size of wave they will be surfing. Members gather on the beach and Hau Terrace to witness the thrills and the spills of these daring canoe surfers when the south swell is breaking.
Except for the canoes named after Club members, the Outrigger’s surfing canoes are named for the various surf breaks in front of the Club.
World surfing champion Fred Hemmings Jr. is one of the Club’s most daring canoe surfing steersmen. Others who may be seen in surfing canoes when the surf’s up include Jimmy Austin, Todd Bradley, Bruce Black, Jakob Vaughan, Billy Lawson, Karl Heyer IV, John Finney, Marc Haine, Alan Pflueger, Mark Sandvold, and others.
Each year during the Club’s annual Surfing Contest, canoe surfing is the blue ribbon event at the end of the day. Members line the Hau Terrace and Beach to cheer on their favorite crews.