Maui Sports

Kāʻanapali Prepares for 15th Annual Wa‘a Kiakahi

May 29, 2019, 8:04 AM HST
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The 15th annual Waʻa Kiakahi will be held from June 7 to 9 in Kāʻanapali, welcoming seven six-member crews from all islands.

The three-day event is created by the Hawaiian Sailing Canoe Association, and features traditional ceremonies, sailing canoe rides and educational talks about celestial navigation and water skills.


This year, the HSCA will rig their canoes at Kalama Park in Kīhei and sail to Kaho‘olawe for a community day of tree-planting. The volunteer tree-planting takes place on Memorial Day Weekend, May 26, after which the canoes sail from Kaho‘olawe to Kā‘anapali on May 27. A traditional Hawaiian arrival ceremony will welcome the sailors.

HCSA conducts its races in the same mode as ancient Hawaiians. According to tradition, sailors do not make crew changes and they travel every channel connecting the Hawaiian Islands.

Kā‘anapali Beach Resort Association is again the title sponsor of Wa‘a Kiakahi and welcomes everyone to come and interact with the canoes and sailors on Kā‘anapali Beach during the three-day event.


Friday, June 7


At 8:30 a.m. the canoe crews will rig their vessels at Kā‘anapali. At 11:30 a.m., a shoreline race will take place and the race will conclude at 3 p.m. at Whalers Village. The sailing canoes will be welcomed by a traditional Hawaiian welcome ceremony.

Saturday, June 8 

Free sailing canoe rides for all ages, “talk story” opportunities with race team members, and demonstrations will take place at Whaler’s Village from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Sunday, June 9

A sailing canoe send-off and traditional Hawaiian farewell ceremony will take place at 9 a.m. as the canoe teams sail to Kaunakakai, Moloka‘i.

The participating teams for 2019 are:

  1. Awauhi Wind, Oʻahu
  2. Hui Nalu Canoe Club, Oʻahu
  3. Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel, Maui
  4. Kāʻanapali Beach Resort Association, Maui
  5. Maui Jim, Kauaʻi
  6. Molokaʻi Canoe Club, Molokaʻi
  7. Olukai, Kauaʻi

“Wa‘a Kiakahi gets more special every year, and we are honored to be a part of it,” says Shelley Kekuna, executive director of Kā‘anapali Beach Resort Association. “Now in our 15th year, we can really look back and see how the public’s understanding and appreciation for sailing canoes has grown.”

For more information about this event, visit

The 15th Annual Wa’a Kiakahi will take place at Kāʻanapali from June 7 to 9, 2019. PC: Kāʻanapali Beach Resort Association.

Canoe teams land their vessels at Kāʻanapali Beach. PC: Kāʻanapali Beach Resort Association.


Canoe teams will participate in a variety of races and events. PC: Kāʻanapali Beach Resort Association.

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