Joined OCC: July 31, 1986
Elected to Winged “O”: October 3, 2015
Kawika Grant is the 50th member to be elected to the Winged “O”. He has been an active member of the Outrigger Canoe Club since July 31, 1986. Shortly after becoming a member he joined the Canoe Racing Committee after the regatta season but in time for long-distance. This came about because of the Macfarlane Regatta, where Kawika had listened to Outrigger being dissed by other clubs because the trophies had not been updated in five years.
Kawika brought this to the committee’s attention and volunteered to do the back research and updating. In those days there were only four Macfarlane perpetual trophies with pedestals to update: the Senior Men and Women, Boys 18, and the Wave (the Masters and Senior Masters Women bowls had no pedestals and nothing to update).
Thus began his long involvement with the Club’s canoe racing program. Once Kawika got the Macfarlane trophies updated, the Canoe Racing Committee decided to expand the number of trophies offered due to an admonition from Mrs. Muriel Flanders: “Is this the best the Club can do?” The committee responded by introducing trophies for Novice B Men and Women using original 1943 cups from the Board Room Trophy Case while Mrs. Flanders established trophies for the newest children paddlers – the Girls and Boys 12s.
It was Kawika who took on the task of building whole trophies (Girls/Boys 12s) or getting pedestals made, including for the Masters and Senior Master Women bowls. The committee also re-introduced another retired Macfarlane cup (the Primo Cup) to be a Men’s Masters trophy to pair with the existing Women’s Masters bowl. When the committee balked at providing a Senior Masters Men trophy to complement the Senior Masters Women bowl Kawika provided it himself, and also purchased the cup for the Girls 18 to be a match for the Boys 18 trophy; the Club paid for the pedestal for this trophy.
Keeping all this up-to-date has followed ever since, including the expansion of trophy pedestals, the complete replacement of the Senior Women’s Trophy, and the addition of the Dad Center race trophies, including the creation of a new Koa Division trophy. Keoni Kino made an exact copy of Dad’s steering paddle behind the bar, and Kawika donated the silver OCC logo attached to the blade. In 2015 Kawika arranged for the long overdue addition of a Dad Masters Division trophy. He also oversaw the creation of the Bob Fischer Trophy for the Outstanding Junior Paddlers and the Waikiki Cup Trophy for the Outstanding Junior Crew.
Kawika has personally polished all of the Club’s Macfarlane trophies before each 4th of July Regatta, moved them from the Lobby Display Case into the Ka Mo`i Boat House for the Pep Rally and then made sure they got down to Waikiki Beach for the Macfarlane Awards Ceremony and back.
Kawika also wanted trophies to recognize the Outrigger men and women Moloka`i champions. “The women already had the beautiful logo trophy they won for the Na Wahine, but it lacked a pedestal to identify the winning crews. I got the Canoe Racing Committee to pay for a pedestal and silver winners’ plates. The men had nothing, so I asked Tay Perry to make a koa plaque that silver plates with the winning crews could be displayed on. Tay donated the wood and his labor and I paid for all the hardware,” Kawika said.
Kawika is also responsible for the Club’s newest Macfarlane Trophy, the Walter J. Macfarlane Military Invitational Race Award. The race was first held during the Club’s Centennial in 2008, and was made a regular event for the Macfarlane Regatta by the Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association in 2010. A retired Navy man, Kawika took it upon himself to write the Commander Navy Region Hawaii at Pearl Harbor requesting that a piece of the USS Arizona be made available to the Club for a perpetual trophy to honor the winners of the military race. His request was eventually approved. On February 11, 2015 the Pearl Harbor historian personally delivered the impressive relic to the Club for the trophy. An appropriate presentation stand was designed by Grant and Tay Perry and built by the Club under the guidance of Domie Gose from a rare and beautiful piece of koa wood donated by Karl Heyer IV. The trophy was awarded for the first time on July 4, 2015.
In addition to his canoe racing trophy duties, Kawika also donated the bronze Daddy Haine Plaque found on the Club Volleyball Courts. The plaque was dedicated on Labor Day weekend 2010 during the annual Daddy Haine Four-Man Volleyball Tournament. The plaque commemorates Haine who was a Winged “O”, past president of the OCC, Olympic volleyball player, and USVBA Hall of Fame member who played on OCC’s courts for many years prior to his death in 1994. Grant says he arranged for the plaque’s casting and assumed its cost not just as a personal gesture to the man and his OCC legacy, but to serve as an inspiration to others to emulate. “I thought the best deserved the very best, and that is what Daddy got in the court that bears his name.”
Canoe Racing Committee
Kawika served on the Canoe Racing Committee in a full or part time capacity from 1986 through 2014. In that capacity he has served as OCC’s representative to OHCRA and HCRA, including annual meetings, and as OHCRA’s representative to Mayor Fasi’s Ala Wai Redevelopment Project, OHCRA’s Rules Committee, as an OHCRA water official (1994-2008), and as OCC representative at lane drawings.
Most have seen the framed photo and flag hanging in the Ka Mo`i Boat House but may not know what it is. It was Kawika who hosted the young Navy Seal who donated the flag after spending his Christmastime leave at the Club from a long deployment in Afghanistan in 2004. After his return to duty, in appreciation for the hospitality he was shown at the Club, the seaman sent the Club a flag flown by American fighting men upholding the cause of freedom in a land far away to wave proudly on the 4th of July 2005 as we celebrated the Macfarlane Regatta. Thanks Kawika for supporting a serviceman away from home, and also for reminding us about the men and women who are fighting for our freedom every time we enter the Boat House.
Cline Mann took over the job of providing names for the Canoe Racing Committee for new canoes from Auntie Eva Pomroy upon her death in 1989, and entrusted that list and duty to Kawika shortly before his death in 1996. The names were all the Hawaiian names related to the land and waters surrounding the Club’s old site and its new site. Since then Kawika has been involved in providing names from Cline’s List to the committee and researching other suggestions for possible names from the committee. Added to the list in recent years are the names of the sea birds that can be seen at or near the Outrigger.
Kawika has also been involved in arranging canoe blessings for all of the Club’s new canoes for 20+ years.
Kawika served on the OCC Marathon Aid Station organizing committee chaired by Cline Mann for more than 20 years. “I loved hearing many passing runners shout out as they ran by: ‘Thank you, Outrigger!’ because we really did have the best station of them all,” he said.
Along with being on this committee, Cline asked Kawika to join his canoe trainer maintenance team, which mainly consisted of Cline and Kawika. They spent many hours refurbishing and preparing the trainer for paddling season, and cleaning it every week during the season.
Kawika began paddling as a Novice B in 1987, moved up to Novice A the following year, and was a Senior Master and Golden Master for nearly 20 years.
Kawika was a strong supporter of the Club’s Senior and Golden Masters long distance paddling programs When the Queen Lili`uokalani Race finally inaugurated a Senior Masters division, Kawika and his crew paid their own way to Kona and borrowed a canoe from Kai ‘Ōpua Canoe Club, winning the inaugural Senior Master Kona race!
Not only that – the same crew, now Golden Masters, won the inaugural Golden Masters Division at Kona the following year, this time with Club support.
“Persistence and the refusal to take NO for an answer has since paid off with a very robust older Master program at OCC for both men and women, and I’m very proud to have been a part of that pioneer group in opening Club eyes and making that happen,” Grant said. He raced on the Club’s Senior Masters teams in the Moloka`i Hoe in 1992 and 1993.
Recovering the Ka Mo`i
“Another thing for the record I am very proud to count myself a part of was the recovery and refurbishment of the koa canoe Ka Mō’ī. When the Club moved to its new site it brought Ka Mō’ī along but it languished in the canoe alley because its mission in life had been left behind: giving rides to members and guests in the Waikīkī surf.
“When Jim Peterson was president he made arrangements with a development company in Po’ipū to lease Ka Mō’ī to their resort for a period of five years. The canoe was shipped to Kaua’i and forgotten. Only after ‘Iniki were questions asked about the fate of Ka Mō’ī. There were no answers. The resort had been destroyed. Tay Perry and Allan Dowsett did some sleuthing and discovered Ka Mō’ī had been traded by the resort before ‘Iniki to the Hanalei Bay Plantation where it had been installed in the bar, a good thing because it was a protected location during the storm.
“On the downside, there was no legal paper trail to prove OCC ownership – no lease document in Club records, no official transfer from the original leasee to the new custodian of the canoe. The only thing suggesting Ka Mō’ī was OCC property was a brief entry in the Board minutes noting the lease arrangement. Hanalei Bay Plantation could easily have rejected that entry as proof of ownership, but management did what can only be described as a miraculous act of aloha and sheer luck.
“The resort had been sold to a Japanese consortium which would be taking over in less than a week. Management accepted the validity of the Board minute quote and told Tay, Allan and me to take the canoe immediately or loose it forever. Hanalei Civic Canoe Club helped us take Ka Mō’ī down and hauled it for us to Nāwiliwili and a Young Brothers barge leaving for Honolulu the next day.
“One of the Club’s greatest treasures had been saved. The canoe looked nice on the outside but the interior was in terrible shape. During its stay in Po’ipū it had been used as a salad bar, and the entire bottom of the canoe had to be replaced due to wood rot. The upper hull also required reworking to replace plywood alterations with koa wood. The entire restoration project took more than 18 months of working on weekends. The majority of the work was assumed by volunteers of which I’m proud to say I was one throughout the entire project.
“The sight of Ka Mō’ī in the bar today gives me an intense sense of satisfaction in having participated in something great and pono. OCC would be considerably poorer today on many levels had this canoe been allowed to slip through its fingers.”
Kawika was elected to the Board of Directors for a two-year term in 1997-1999 where he served as Coordinating Director of the Historical Committee and Athletics. He declined to run for a second term on the Board. Kawika has also lent his expertise to the Building & Grounds, Fitness Center, Kayak, Paddleboard and Beach and Water Safety Committees.
Currently Kawika is a member of the Historical Committee where he serves appropriately on the Trophy Subcommittee. During his time as chair of the subcommittee he went through all of the Club’s trophy collection and recommended what trophies to keep, what could be recycled, and which ones could be made available to the members who won them. He drafted the Historical Committee’s Trophy Policy which has been approved by the Board. He was co-chair on the subcommittee to update the photos in the Ka Mo`i Boat House with salutes to our Olympic athletes, Molokai champions, National Championship Volleyball teams, and Winged “O”s, a project which is currently awaiting approval of the Building & Grounds Committee.
Several years ago, Kawika retrieved from the Club’s archives a color slide of a Norman Rockwell painting that was made from photographs that Rockwell took at the Club during a round-the-world trip commissioned by Pan American World Airways to develop a new advertising campaign. The drawing appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in 1956 and is titled “The Thing To Do With Life Is Live It” and features a Club canoe filled with tourists and steered by Beachboy Sam Steamboat Mokuahi. Kawika had the slide duplicated on canvas and framed for display in the Club.
It’s typical of Kawika to work behind the scenes at the Club, doing things most of us take for granted, but wouldn’t happen without his loyalty and dedication to the Club and its athletic programs.
More about Kawika:
1986-2014 Canoe Racing Committee
1987 Paddled Novice B Men
1988 Paddled Novice A Men
1989 Paddled Senior Masters Men
1989-1991 Building & Grounds Committee
1990 Fitness Center Committee
1991-1994 Kayaking Committee
1992-1993 Paddleboard Committee
1992-1993 Paddled Molokai Hoe, Senior Masters
1995-1998 Paddleboard Committee
1995 Beach & Water Safety Committee
1997 Board of Directors, Coordinating Director Historical Committee
1998 Board of Directors, Coordinating Director Athletics
2000-2001 Beach & Water Safety Committee
2000-2001 Paddleboard Committee
2006 Judges of Election Committee
2007 Chair, Judges of Election Committee
2010-2019 Historical Committee
1958 Graduated St. Louis High School.
1960-1984 U.S. Navy Reserve. Attained the rank of Captain.
1962 Graduated University of Hawaii, B.A. in European Languages (specialty in Russian)
1963-1970 Active duty in U.S. Navy
1970-1976 Graduated UCLA, M.A. and Ph.D. in Slavic Languages & Literature (specialty in Russian)
1977-1980 Associate Professor of Russian Language & Literature at UH Mānoa
1980-2009 U.S. Civil Service, Navy, Pearl Harbor