In the golden sunset of Hawaii wa’a paddlers sail under purple clouds on calm seas.
Outrigger canoes are more than just a way to get around to Hawaiians (and Polynesians more broadly). Instead, they went beyond physical to spiritual and from effective to mastery. The outrigger was used as training for the young, providing for family, protection from invaders, and learning about the world. In days past canoes were built out of 100-year-old Koa wood selected by specially trained priests (kahuna). The kahuna would offer prayers, blessings and invocations over every detail of building the canoe. Historic Polynesians learned how to navigate using the wind, waves, stars, and seasons–with no instrumentation.
From the Photographer:
Pacific Islander sailing canoe at sunset. Photo taken with Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, f/4 @ 50 mm, 1/20, ISO 50, No Flash.
In Hawaiian Ho’olana literally means “floating,” but used as a name it tends to mean “cheerful.” For this picture of a wa’a (outrigger) in Hawaii, we think that combining the two meanings fits.
You can learn some more about Hawaii’s legacy of outriggers in this excellent article.