United States Department of Veterans Affairs

The Thrill of a Lifetime: Outrigger Canoeing

Kayaks lined up along the lakeshore. 

National Veterans
Golden Age Games

Future NVGAG

Albuquerque, New Mexico
August 3 - 8, 2018


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The Thrill of a Lifetime: Outrigger Canoeing

On the beautiful Waikiki beachfront, Veterans donned life jackets and readied for the canoe exhibition. Then it was time for the traditional Hawaiian sendoff. Ladies wearing flowers in their hair and kukui nut necklaces chanted a song of good will and calm seas. Two tanned and tattooed men stripped down to just about nothing and demonstrated ancient Hawaiian martial arts moves.

Finally it was time for the teams of three to grab a paddle, hop into canoes and paddle through an inlet into the sparkling blue waters. Two-hundred Veterans signed up for the challenge and throughout Saturday and Sunday they experienced what many called the “thrill of a lifetime.”

During the half-hour long trip in 20-foot waters Veterans were captivated to see whales, porpoises and other sea life. Many remarked that the waters were so clear they could see the ocean fl oor. “It was great, a real challenge!” said 72-year-young Jerry Braun of Del Rio, Texas. “We were all gals in my canoe and we nearly won.”

“It was tiring to row that long and a challenge on the return to the beach,” said another Veteran.

Participating Veterans said they will always remember this event’s athleticism and the beauty and wonder of the Hawaiian Pacific.