Recreational Paddling - Technique

Canoe Etiquette

It is believed that canoes have a life to them. Each has a distinct and separate personality in the ocean. The canoe is part of the team, and carries all paddlers safely into the ocean and home again.  Keauhou Canoe Club expects all paddlers to treat the canoes with respect and never take them for granted or treat them discourteously.

Do not ever sit or lean on a canoe except in the designated seat area once the canoe is in the water. Even sitting in the seat on land can cause the canoe to crack. When canoes are lifted, be sure the ‘ama and iako (the outrigger part of the canoe) is supported and off the ground. Canoes should not be dropped, but set down lightly.

Do not step over the body of the canoe. If you need to move to the other side, walk around the canoe. It is a gesture of courtesy to the canoe to do so.

Swearing or angry words have no place in the canoe.

Loading and Launching the Canoes

The paddler loading process is managed by Steersmen/Captain and not on a "First come First serve" basis.

No paddles are to be placed in the canoes to reserve seats.  

Keep your paddle in your hand while the Steersmen organize the crews.  The Steersmen  balance the crews by assessing the number of qualified steersmen, paddling experience, size, age, seniority, pleasant dispositions, swimmers, strength, balance of members and guests, endurance, and expected pace of the crews.

The double hulls are organized first:   If we have more than twelve paddlers who want to be in the double hull, the Steersmen will decide whether to double shift, try to move folks to single hull, or some other creative solution. 

Single hulls will be filled according to the individual steersman's same criteria as above.  It is important to have as many full boats as possible--e.g. four 5 man hulls is preferable to three 6 man and a 2 man.  That is why we do not load 6 mans first nor leave the bay until all hulls are on the water.


Paddlers should be prepared for the canoe to "huli" or capsize.  In the event of a huli, paddlers should be able to swim or tread water for up to 20 minutes.  Your steersmen is experienced in huli recovery and will direct the crew in righting and bailing the canoe.  See the following video regarding regarding recovering from a huli.