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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.

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.

In the past 35 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 350 hardworking, dedicated members following in the footsteps of our founding leaders.  We now have 18 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.