What is an Outrigger Canoe?
Outrigger Canoe Racing is a segment of the canoe and kayak sport which has drawn an interest from 48% of the 69 million American “boating” American public. Outrigger canoe paddling got its origin about 30,000 years ago when these canoes played an important role in cultural expansion within the Pacific Rim. The modern day outrigger is designed with greater hydrodynamics that allows canoes to navigate much more smoothly and quickly through rough ocean waters. An outrigger features a main hull in which paddlers ride and an extended stabilizing float, called an ama.
What are the recognized competition events held in this sport?
The first outrigger canoe race was held in 1917 off the Hawaiian Island of Waikiki. Racing canoes come in a variety of sizes from single to the 12-member double catamaran-style hulls. Racing features a variety of events, from sprint to distance events for singles to 12-person boats. The length of races also varies from roughly a quarter mile sprint to marathon distance. While relatively new to the United States, the outrigger canoe racing is the canoe discipline’s fastest growing sector. Nationally, the United States Canoe Association (USCA) serves as the leading sports body governing outrigger canoe racing.
What Outrigger Canoe Racing event will be featured at the Ultimate Water Games?
The 2013 Exhibition Outrigger event and 2014 Ultimate Water Games Outrigger Marathon race will feature a six-person outrigger (OC6) marathon. This OC6 competition will feature paddler replacements on the fly – a method which involves exit and entry by paddlers while the canoe is under way. Typically, an escort boat drops the relief paddlers into the water ahead of their canoe. However, at the Ultimate Water Games, organizers will present several tweaks to the event.
Teams will be comprised for 12 paddlers. The race start will be a Lemans style beginning with all teams (at least 16) racing their outriggers to the Gulf waters and then competing over Gulf water course loops. Team exchanges, held in front of beach spectators, will feature “on-the-fly” exchanges where six team members will jump into a moving canoe while other team members jump out of their moving canoe.
Where will these events to held?
The 2013 and 2014 Outrigger Canoe races, featuring a mass Lemans shoreline start, will be competed along the Fort Myers Beach shoreline. The 2013 event will travel past “taster of the beach” festival goers and past sunbathers at famed Fort Myers Beach.
How many athlete outriggers will be competing?
Sixteen, 12-member crews from throughout the U.S. and Canada will be competing in the event. Canada’s world champion team will be challenged by teams (some of whom will have Olympians as their paddlers. The USCA is handling the invitation selection.
Support one of the three fastest growing sports segments in the United States. Last year, canoe/kayaks were the top boat selling units, nearly 350,000 servicing a participation base with a medium age of 51 and a household income of $104,000.