This bird was believed to be the goddess of canoe makers.
‘Elepaio is our latest unlimited V6 canoe and a design that we’re going to go into production with. In designing ‘Elepaio, we’ve prioritized overall speed, surfing ability, steering control, and comfort. We’re super excited to share it with the world.
Work on production molds was halted due to the pandemic. The good news is that we've moved shops in that time and will have more space to build 'Elepaio. We will have more updates later in 2022!
In 2010 we made Kawainui and Kapa’a for the first Pa’a ‘Eono Hoe Moloka’i to Oahu unlimited canoe race. Both canoes were radically different from anything else and helped start a shift in the sport. Today, many canoes distributed outside of Hawai’i and Tahiti can be linked back to the canoes made for the ‘Eono Hoe race. For more info on that race and Kawainui’s historic win, check out this short story about the race from 2010.
In 2011 we designed Ha’upu specifically for Australian waters. Over 100 licensed canoes were produced in Australia. We also created Ka’apahu, which raced and won the 2nd ‘Eono Hoe. In 2012 we built Kamanu and again won ‘Eono Hoe, with an employee crew. In 2013 we built a second canoe identical to Kamanu named Kamakahiapo and raced it in the 3-day Olamau race on Big Island. In 2014 two sister canoes were made Nanahope and Nanamua again for ‘Eono Hoe. Team Kamanu didn’t manage a win that year but achieved a respectable 2nd behind a Team Primo/Red Bull combo.
Since 2014, building unlimited canoes in Hawai’i has been disappointingly limited. Some of the other early pioneers of the unlimited class have moved onto other careers, and most of our competition has focused on building Hawaiian canoes in China. The original ‘Eono Hoe and Olamau have been on hiatus since 2014, and Kamanu has primarily been focused on oc1, v1, and oc2 canoes.
With 'Elepaio we hope to revitalize the unlimited class and keep the best canoes made-in-Hawaii. We look forward to sharing this journey with you.
I like snap-together rigging, why did you choose to go with a rope system?
To ensure that these canoes can last for generations, while maintaining the culture of hand rigging, and removing the possibility of mechanical failure in the ocean-- we have chosen to stick with the thousand-year-old tradition of rope rigging for the ‘iako to ama connection with the option of rope, rubber, or quick straps for the ‘iako to canoe wae connection. We believe it’s important to the tradition of outrigger canoe paddling that each member of the crew contribute to the rigging and put their mana into the canoe. Plus, this simple and proven system is guaranteed to last longer than any type of snap-together rigging device. We are building the ‘Elepaio to last for generations, and we feel that it’s important for clubs to be able to get replacement parts from their local woodworker, and not be dependent on us or a machinist to fabricate the parts. At the end of the day, we feel that Hawaiian built canoes should have Hawaiian style rigging.
Why does it have a manu in the back?
When we named our company after the manu on a canoe, we did it so that we would always remember where we came from. Of all the outrigger canoes made throughout the Pacific, the manu is unique to canoes built in Hawai’i. Yet, because open class canoes are strictly about performance, the manu has generally been deemed unnecessary and has been removed in recent years. That’s OK for canoes built outside of Hawai’i, but we feel that it’s vitally important for those in Hawai’i to retain the manu. And so we’ve made sure to include a manu hope (rear manu) in our last few designs-- including ‘Elepaio. It provides no performance purpose, but it keeps all of us rooted in the tradition of Hawaiian outrigger canoeing.