An update on past news

Wednesday, March 3, 1999

Canoe ‘Honaunau’
still in the races

What happened to the canoe "Honaunau?"

"Honaunau" is one of the oldest active koa boats in the Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association. It is 41 feet, 11 inches long, about 3 feet shorter than today's longer, sleeker and faster canoes.

"It's our primary racing canoe and it's still competitive," says Honolulu Canoe Club Coach John Young. "Our kids and mixed crews have had some success with it."

Honolulu Canoe Club, which purchased "Honaunau" from Hui Nalu Canoe Club in the mid-1980, is the boat's third owner.

Myron "Pinky" Thompson says Hui Nalu acquired the koa craft, which was built in Honaunau, South Kona, about 1945, in the late '50s or early '60s.

Hui Nalu's primary racing boat at the time was the "Leokeokeo" or "White Horse," says Thompson.

When Hui Nalu became a racing power under Coach Sam "Steamboat" Mokuahi Jr. in the '70s, the club was alternating its two primary boats.

Veteran paddler Tay Perry says "Honaunau" was reshaped for speed in 1976. "We lengthened it to 39 feet and widen its sides," Perry said.

Using "Honaunau" as its main canoe that year, Hui Nalu won a state championship with paddlers such as Michael Chun, Kahele and the late Kala Kukea, Billy Mitchell and George Kissner, Perry said.

By Rod Ohira, Star-Bulletin

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