11th Annual Wa‘a Kiakahi Festival - Kaanapali Resort
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11th Annual Wa‘a Kiakahi Festival

Kā‘anapali Beach Resort will welcome 60 of the best watermen and women who practice ancient Hawaiian canoe sailing at the 11th annual Wa‘a Kiakahi festival, June 5-7. Events will include traditional Hawaiian ceremonies, sailing canoe rides, and educational talks about celestial navigation and water skills.


Created by the Hawaiian Sailing Canoe Association (HSCA), Wa‘a Kiakahi is an event dedicated to traditional Hawaiian canoe sailing and the education of its history. Contrary to ordinary outrigger canoe paddling, HSCA races honor how the ancient Hawaiians actually traveled between the islands: members do not make crew changes and they travel every island channel that connects the Hawaiian Islands.


“There is a special feeling of anticipation when preparing to launch a sailing canoe,” said Ray Glauser, HSCA Executive Board member and captain of the ‘Aukai o Maui sailing canoe. “Not only are crewmembers eager to begin paddling, there is also a powerful feeling of pride to be part of a sport that upholds ancient traditions, culture and skills.

Schedule of Events: 

Friday, June 5, 3:00 p.m. 

Arrival of sailing canoes on Kā‘anapali Beach and a traditional Hawaiian welcome ceremony after 10, six-man crews complete an approximate 27-mile race from Kahului Harbor.

Saturday, June 6, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. 

Sailing canoe rides for all ages, picture story boards and “talk story” opportunities with race team members (including former Hōkūle‘a crew members) about celestial navigation and the history of the Hawaiian sailing canoes.

Sunday, June 7, 8:00 a.m. 

Sailing canoe send-off and traditional Hawaiian farewell ceremony for 10, six-man crews as they race approximately 27 miles from Kā‘anapali to the island of Moloka‘i.

“Kā‘anapali Beach Resort Association is proud to continue its 11 year position as title sponsor for Wa’a Kiakahi,” said Shelley Kekuna, executive director for the Kā‘anapali Beach Resort Association. “With Ka‘anapali Beach Resort attracting so many visitors wanting to combine fun and Hawaiian culture, partnering with an event that’s focused on the public education of a sport tied to ancient transportation, is a natural fit.”


Coinciding with this year’s Wa‘a Kiakahi festival will be the First Annual Maui Jim OceanFest, June 6-7 (http://www.mauijimoceanfest.com #mauijimoceanfest). Over the course of two days, teams and individuals will compete in a unique ocean-lifeguard-style event that showcases the breadth and diversity of a wide range of international and Hawaiian-style competitive ocean sports. Kā‘anapali Beach Resort Association is a named partner in this event.

The mission of the Hawaiian Sailing Canoe Association (HSCA) is to learn, revive, educate and practice the ancient Hawaiian skills and values as they relate to sailing canoes and the Hawaiian culture. HSCA is the only Hawaiian sailing canoe association in the world and is celebrating its 27th anniversary in 2015. For more information about HSCA, call 808-247-3559. http://www.hsca.info .