Canoe racing is part of a resurgence in traditional Hawaiian culture and activities. Before contact with western civilization, canoe racing was widely popular. But missionaries, who were among the early western arrivals on the islands, didn’t like the races and the gambling on them (along with pretty much every other enjoyable activity). Finally, Queen Ka’ahumanu, influenced by the missionaries, banned canoe racing.
In 1875, King David Kalakaua reinstated the sport, leading to renewed participation in the activity. These days, canoe racers come from all walks of life and take part in the sport for the exercise as well as the racing. Many of the boats, based on traditional designs, are made from fiberglass, but most canoe racing clubs have at least one canoe made from koa wood as it would have been in the old days.
In these photos, a group of local women train in a double-hulled canoe, zipping into Kawaihae Harbor ahead of one of the inter-island barges.
Posted in response to this week’s Sunday Stills challenge on the theme of ‘Sports or Hobbies.’ See more offerings here.