Red Beach Outrigger Canoe Club endorses the safe practice of waka ama/outrigger canoe paddling, both on and off water. Minimum requirements for participation include a swimming proficiency test over 100m in open water and treading water for five minutes and for the participant to be in good health and of at least a moderate level of fitness.
Any pre-existing medical conditions should be notified to the coach and/or club in the interests of your own well being. This should not be treated lightly, people die in Waka Ama every season, build your fitness level over time and if in need ask for help.
On the water
- Make sure you are well hydrated. Have a water bottle or hydration system for both training and regattas.
- Use sun protection, caps and sunscreen.
- Before you get in the canoe check the rigging and make sure it has 2 bailers (this is everybody's responsibility).
- The steerer is in control of the canoe. Listen and respond to their directions.
- Respect the ocean, consider the conditions, know your limits.
- Make sure your canoe (and all in it) are ready and able to handle the conditions.
- Everyone must know what to do in the event of a huli / capsize.
- If you will be paddling in the dark make sure the canoe has a navigation light.
Outrigger canoes can and will capsize. This is called a 'huli' and all new members will be introduced to the rules and hopefully complete a drill before experiencing a real huli.
In the event of the boat tipping, do not try to jump, just sit and roll with the canoe. Once upside down, push your legs against the bottom of canoe and your body will go down away from the canoe and surface close to the canoe.
The first thing we do is check that our 'buddy' is also safe.
- Seat 1 & Seat 2;
- Seat 3 & Seat 4; and
- Seat 5 & Steerer.
If your buddy has not surfaced, please investigate. Paddles are passed down to seat 1 and steerer for protection.
Next we take positions for the righting of the canoe.
- Seat 1 and steerer control the position of the canoe based on the wind and waves as ordered by the steerer.
- Seat 3 and 4 position themselves next to the kiato overhangs ready to jump on them.
- Seats 2 and 5 are below the ama ready to push it upwards.
On the steerer’s command, the ama is raised and the kiato pushed down and hopefully the canoe is righted. Be careful of your heads at all times and don’t let the ama 'bang' onto the water as it can split. Once righted, 2 paddlers jump in and start bailing and as the water level falls, more people can hop in and paddle on the steerer’s request.
During winter we recommend full cover of body excluding hands (fingerless gloves) and face for practical reasons. Members generally wear padded or neoprene shorts over long tights, and long sleeve tops. Aquashoes are also recommended during cold conditions.
During the summer season members can wear any sport appropriate clothing but we recommend protecting against UV either by wearing UV clothing or using sunscreen. Water is needed for all sessions and water packs for long distance trainings or bottles. All personal items taken in the boat could be lost in a capsize so don’t bring something you can’t afford to lose.