Calling all R2AK racers and fans — especially Team Pure and Wild (the proa innovators)! Don’t miss our wise advisor, Kiko Johnston-Kitazawa, as he spins yarns regarding “Wa`akaulua, the Hawaiian Double Canoe” at the Center for Wooden Boats (South Lake Union location). Kiko will talk at 5pm on Sunday May 17 (2015) in the Boathouse. He also plans to have his Pahi 26 with a Hawaiian sprits’l rig moored alongside for tours and maybe a post-talk sail adventure.
When he is not guiding sailing adventures or talks in the National Parks on the Island of HawKii, Kiko visits Seattle where he is renovating and sailing a Wharram Pahi 26′ double canoe and giving advice to Team Sea Runners as they prepare to compete in the June 5th, “Race to Alaska“. In addition to discussing the history of Hawaiian sailors he will review the current role of these designs in the Pacific Northwest.
Kiko has spent most of his life sailing, building boats and exploring Hawaii’s Big Island. Growing up in Hilo as the son of a surfboard and outrigger canoe builder, Kiko had his first sailboat at age 14 and a captain’s license at age 18. He has sailed from Hawaii to California, Washington, and Canada several times.
“Captain Kiko” studied seamanship and navigation under Captain David B.K. Lyman and Captain Norman Pi‘ianaia as well as apprenticing with boat builders on the mainland. He is a graduate of Bates Boat Building Program in Tacoma who now builds double-hulled canoes, leads sailing tours, and teaches canoe building.
Everytime I talk with Kiko I learn something new about sailing and boats. His knowledge of maritime history is encyclopedic. He’s especially knowledgeable about Pacific, Polynesian, and Hawaiian cultural history, but what impresses me the most is the diversity of boat designs, innovators, and good precedents he is able to hold in his mind.
If you can make it there in person, I guarantee that Kiko will spin you some amazing yarns and field most any question you can think up. If you can’t make it, here are a couple of videos — ones that either Kiko recommended and I found compelling, or ones of Kiko practicing his art in Hawaii.
The Manu Kai was the inspiration for Hobie catamarans in the mid-20th-century.
Watch Kiko steer his double-canoe into a typical Hawaiian bay.