During 1996, the Australian
Outrigger Canoe Racing Association was coming to grips with the newly
introduced craft into the country. In 1989 there were no specifications,
but by 1994 there were. I approached Todd Bradley in Hawai`i, whose
response went a long way to dispensing of specifications, which
included; maximum length 27', minimum length 24', minimum beam 9.5",
minimum weight 44lbs / 20kg.
Dated 14th November 1996 / Todd Bradley
have been recently questioned on my thoughts on the issue of
specifications and regulations being considered for the emerging sport
of OC1 racing in Australia. Here are my thoughts, take them as you wish.
This specification issues was viewed and researched in Hawai`i with the emergence of this sport in 1987 and now with 9 years hind-sight, we made the right decision, which has brought the sport to what it is today. I would have to say that the sport was taken from its infancy and to its success here in Hawai`i, with this success it has now become an international sport.
The sport of Va`a Hoe [V1] originated in Tahiti and some of the first rudderless va`a hoe were brought to Hawai`i in the 1970s. Walter Guild, myself and a hand full of other paddlers began off-season paddling in the 27' open cockpit canoe. Our vision was to take this canoe in the open ocean, but with an open cockpit this was not practical. In 1988 this lead Walter Guild to design the new 26' decked-over canoe with rudder. It was a success in the open water and the first open ocean racing of OC1s began. In 1989 was the beginning of the Kaiwi Challenge [Moloka`i to O`ahu] race - with 3 participants, 73 in 1996.
Walter Guild paddles a 27' open cockpit hybrid va`a hoe.
From 1989-1992 as the sport grew we were seeing all kinds of OC1 versions emerge from Surfski manufacturers; basically a Surfski with an outrigger attached. There was concern that maybe, an OC1 Association should be started to differentiate our new sport from the already successful Surfski Association and by doing this, make specifications for the craft; length, weight and that an OC1 hull would not be capable of floating upright without ama.
But the sport was growing quickly, and when Kanaka Ikaika Surfski Association began an OC1 division within their schedule, which stated that no specifications other than it must be paddled with a single blade paddle and must include 'outrigger', it seemed best to follow with them because of their large association support.
Rick Nu`u paddles a Kai Bartlett OC1 over Jaws