Kailua Canoe Club’s mission is to promote and provide for the member, paddler, family and community:

• The sport of canoe paddling and other ocean-related activities

• A sense of family and community in conjunction with the ocean

• Education of safety, respect, and knowledge of the ocean and equipment

We strive to paddle with passion and excellence, and to live the values represented by the word “Aloha”

A Akahai – Kindness, expressed with tenderness

L Lōkahi – Unity, expressed with harmony

O ‘Olu‘olu – Agreeable, expressed with pleasantness

H Ha‘aha‘a – Humility, expressed with modesty

A Ahonui – Patience, expressed with perseverance


In 1972, KCC was the vision of two coaches

… and about 50 paddlers who had been paddling with the Kailua Hawaiian Civic Club (KHCC).  Those two paddlers were Jimmy Marciel and Cliff Ornellas.  This tight-knit group of paddlers purchased the koa canoe “Kalanakila” (Victorious) from KHCC, and bought a canoe trailer and a fiberglass training canoe affectionately called the “water wiggle”.  Cliff and Jimmy researched and adopted the petroglyph paddleman (our club logo), chose blue and gold as our club colors and Kailua Canoe Club was founded.  Russ & Peg Apple translated the phrase “Ho‘ohana, ‘A‘ohe Hua ‘Olelo” which translates “Action, not words” as the club’s motto.

… and about 50 paddlers who had been paddling with the Kailua Hawaiian Civic Club (KHCC).  Those two paddlers were Jimmy Marciel and Cliff Ornellas.  This tight-knit group of paddlers purchased the koa canoe “Kalanakila” (Victorious) from KHCC, and bought a canoe trailer and a fiberglass training canoe affectionately called the “water wiggle”.  Cliff and Jimmy researched and adopted the petroglyph paddleman (our club logo), chose blue and gold as our club colors and Kailua Canoe Club was founded.  Russ & Peg Apple translated the phrase “Ho‘ohana, ‘A‘ohe Hua ‘Olelo” which translates “Action, not words” as the club’s motto.

Along with Cliff & Jimmy, this group included family names such as Joan Malama, Beanie Heen, the Handley’s, Coelho’s, Cavaco’s, Sam Hoolulu, John Mahoney, O’Hara’s, Tannehill’s, Pacheco’s, Young’s, Gay Minton and Randy Sylva.  Kamoa Kalama, Pat Erwin, Viv Griffin and Carleen were all carefree young paddlers then.  Kati, Kanoe and Heather were twinkles in our eyes.

These people and many others who have come and gone, gave from their pocketbooks to buy equipment and our first brand new fiberglass canoe, Malama I Lani which was named after George Malama, a supporter of the club who had lost his life.  George Hayman, who, while walking Kailua Beach one day, became a loyal supporter and donated our 2nd brand new canoe name Ko‘o Keoki.

For over 45 years, Kailua Canoe Club has trained many coaches, paddlers and have been victorious in numerous ‘Oahu, State and World Championship canoe regattas.  We have grown from 50 paddlers to over 475 hardworking, dedicated members following in the footsteps of our founding leaders.  We now have 24 fiberglass canoes and we are proud to own two koa canoes, the Kalanakila and Lanakila Mau O Ka Lokahi.

The spirit of Kailua Canoe Club was and still is like that of its founders, aggressive, with an intense desire to be successful.


Our Coaches



The victorious; victory, to prevail, a strong person or team.  The canoe was originally named “Hilo Girl”, and had a twin canoe – “Hilo Boy” built in 1956 by Robert Puakea Sr. and James Kahoʻoilihala in Hilo.  The canoe was renamed in 1965 after James Kalanakila Trask.  The canoe was originally shorter than other racing canoes, and you could be “in front” sitting in seats 5 and 6, and still lose the race.

Lanakila Mau O Ka Lokahi
Many hands working together to emerge victorious.  Emphasizes the need for our club to be united.  The log was purchased from Uncle Red Kanuha of Kai ʻOpua Canoe Club and under the direction of Uncle Wright Bowman, was built in 1982.  Club members Papa Heen and his son Beanie Heen held genealogical connections to kahuna kalai waʻa (master canoe builders) and led the canoe club in assisting the construction of the waʻa at Kamehameha Schools.


Kumaikalala – Bradley Lightning
Kumaikalala is the name of a surfboard used by Kahinihiniʻula to learn about the ocean in Kailua, Waimānalo, and beyond.  His companions would take him surfing and teach him all about the many different types of swells and waves.  There are various meanings of the name Kumaikalala.  One is the upright or standing branch, likely a reference to the fish-attracting Mākālei branch which Kahinihiniʻula used to attract the fish of Kawainui. Another meaning is of a certain type of breaking wave.  Lala is translated as diagonal, slanting, oblique; diagonal surfing or surf. Thrum’s Annual, 1896, page 109, says that the lala is the seaward side of a wave building up to break; a third interpretation is that lala is a wave to the right, and muku a wave to the left.

Kahinihini’ula – Bradley Lightning
The name of the ʻehu-haired boy from Maunawili in the famous Mākālei story of Kailua.  In ancient times, Kawainui had become overgrown with limu and vegetation, so the konohiki (land manager) asked all residents to help clean the fishpond.  Each resident was given fish after the days work.  Being little, Kahinihiniʻula was forgotten and was not given any fish.  After 3 days of no fish, Kahinihiniʻula was given a branch from the Mākālei tree by his grandmother who became frustrated with the neglect. The mākālei branch was a mythical fish attracting branch which he used to gather the fish of Kawainui and take them ma uka to his home in Makawao, Maunawili.  Once the konohiki noticed they were gone, he set out and to search for and apologize to Kahinihiniʻula and his ʻohana.  The fish were returned to Kawainui, and the konohiki pledged to always be fair and properly share the bounties of the pond.  Kahinihiniʻula’s story reminds us of being pono, creating relationships, and our kuleana to the land and people of Kailua.  Please see the Kailua-In the Whisps of the Malanai Breeze Book published by the Kailua Historical Society in 2010 for a more complete story of Mākālei and Kahinihiniʻula.

Kekauʻilani Kalama – Bradley Lightning
Named after Aunty Elizabeth Kaaiikawahakekauʻilani Correa Ako Defries, past spiritual and cultural leader of Kailua Canoe Club (Kamoa Kalama’s mom).  She helped to name several of Kailua’s canoes and was an important figure in the hula community.

Kaulana Pākui o Kaʻelepulu – Bradley Lightning
In 2011, Kailua Canoe Club received a grant from the Castle Foundation to remove invasive mangrove and other vegetation from the banks of Kaʻelepulu and Kamokowaʻa stream, the areas where we practice.  To commemorate that experience, the name Kaulana Pākuʻi o Kaʻelepulu was given.  In ancient times, Pākuʻi was known as a swift runner, and the caretaker of the fishponds of Kaʻelepulu and Kawainui.  The experience taught us of the values in caring for our resources in Kailua. Literal translation: Famous is Pākui of Kaʻelepulu.

Alika – Mirage
Alexander Carter, father of Dayton Carter who is a supporter of Kailua Canoe Club.

Kaʻehukai – Mirage
The red spray off a wave produced by the wind and the setting sun.  The haze in the sky and horizon when the tradewinds kick up the ocean.

Hinahinakukahakai – Mirage
The hinahina which stands strong on the shoreline.  Hinahina is a low-lying native plant found along beaches and coastlines.

Lauhoe – Mirage
To paddle together and uniformly, either in the same or different canoes; to paddle together, as several persons paddling a canoe with great strength and resolution.  The blade of a paddle.

E lauhoe mai na wa’a; i ke ka, i ka hoe; i ka hoe, i ke ka; pae aku i ka ‘aina (Mary Kawena Pukui, ʻŌlelo Noʻeau 327) “Everybody paddle the canoes together; bail and paddle, paddle and bail, and the shore will be reached.”If everybody pitches in, the work is quickly done.”

Makaʻala ʻElua – Mirage
To be alert, vigilant, watchful, wide awake.  The second Makaʻala.

Hoʻoulu – Mirage
To grow, sprout, propagate, to cause to increase as the surf; To lift up; to release, as something fast; ma kahi e paa ai ka waa, e hooulu no kekahi kanaka i ka waa. – the place where canoes are stored and lashed, may inspire people to be interested in paddling.

Kalaheo – Mirage
Canoe for Kalāheo High School.

It is an ʻili ʻāina (land division) within the ahupuaʻa of Kailua near where the school is now.

Malama – Mirage
Canoe for Kalāheo High School.

Mālama – To take care of, tend, attend, care for, preserve, protect, beware, save, maintain. Malama – shining light, as of the sun, moon, or stars; lunar month; one who observes the heavenly bodies; a prophet; a star-gazer; an astrologer. Also in reference to Aunty Joan Malama and her family, founders and big supporters of Kailua Canoe Club.

Kilakila – Mirage
Canoe for Kalāheo High School.

Majestic, tall, strong, imposing; having poise that commands admiration.

Kikaha – Bradley
The canoe using the power of the ocean. Kīkaha ka ʻiwa, mālie kai koʻo.  When the ʻiwa flies, the ocean is calm.

Palahiʻa – Bradley
To glide.

Haʻaheo – Force Five
Pride, Proud, to strut; to cherish with pride

Lopaka – Class Racer
Named after Bob Cates, prominent figure of Kailua Canoe Club, former head coach and paddler.

Uhane O Kailua – Class Racer
Spirit of Kailua.

Kawailoa – Class Racer
The big water, named after the ʻili ʻāina(land section) of Kailua Canoe Club’s site.

Moku Ka Pawa – Class Racer
First light of dawn over Molokaʻi.  The pre-dawn darkness is breaking.

Manu Kai – Class Racer
Seabird, always returning to land.

Malolo – Class Racer
The flying fish; To rest, pause, adjourn; adjournment, pause.  Low, as of a tide; To ebb and flow, as the ocean, much more than usual, and when this occurs, it is followed by a very high tide.

Poʻokela – Malia
Foremost, best, superior, prime, outstanding, greatest, supreme, utmost, superlative; champion; to excel.

Malama i lani – Malia
George K. Malama in heaven, prominent figure of Kailua Canoe Club in the past.

Malama ʻElua – Malia
The second canoe for George K. Malama.

Koʻo Keoki – Malia
George Hayman, prominent figure of Kailua Canoe Club’s history.  Used to repair the koa canoes.

Ami – Malia
Wiggle through the water.  Said because the canoe would wobble or wiggle when it was first built.

Lono – oc-3
Named after Beanie Heen, prominent figure of Kailua Canoe Club’s history.  Former head coach.

These definitions are correct to the best of our knowledge. Any discrepancies were unintentional.

Board of Directors

The officers, directors and coaches are very proud of Kailua Canoe Club’s over 50 years of participation in the sport and education of canoe paddling.

We have joined into our program many ocean activities as well as community service.  As we proceed forward, we will continue to improve our club in keeping within our charter and mission.

Board members can be contacted via this email link


Julie Madden – President

Kamoa Kalama – 1st Vice President

Alex Langford – 2nd Vice President

Joe Laurel – 3rd Vice President

Suzi Mechler – Secretary

Molly Mosher-Cates – Treasurer

Matt Higgins – 2024 Head Coach


Kehaulani Avicolli

Kathy Erwin

Darrylnn Ferreira

Mariya Gold

Samuel Goldenbaum

Matt Higgins

Hank Leandro

Creighton Litton

Lida Morgado

Carleen Ornellas

Kristen Taylor

Mike Willett