Traditional Outrigger Kanu by Tevita Kunato

A few years back (sometime in 2009) by buddy Tevita Kunato decided to make a traditional style outrigger canoe; Tevita was born and raised in Papua New Guinea and though he left in his late teens or early 20’s he has a great respect for the traditions of his youth incorporating designs from throughout the Pacific into his art. Living in the town of Hilo, on Hawaii Island, he basically just walked into a friends backyard, cut down a tree, and went to work – several weeks later he had a canoe! Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of him carving the canoe but you can check out his blog here.

After the first ‘sea-trial’ he brought the canoe to my yard for a few adjustments. Here’s a video of lashing it down on the trailer prior to the 2nd launching:

A couple paddles he made:

And here’s Tevita paddling around Reeds Bay in Hilo:

The reason I’m writing about Tevita’s kanu – besides the good memories – is that his work has inspired my pursuit of canoe building. We’re going at it in different ways: he’s an artist/woodcarver bringing together designs from throughout Oceania to create one-of-a-kind functional works of art; I hope to create a canoe design that will honor the traditions of Hawaii, a simple, durable and inexpensive canoe – one that can be built in a minimum amount of time. I want to host workshops of 10 or so people – each person completing their own canoe during the workshop. I want to see many wa’a on the water throughout the Hawaiian islands…