According to Tommy Holmes in “The Hawaiian Canoe’: “The Hawaiians were quick to notice that the Europeans had new materials and techniques that could make life much simpler, especially when it came to building a boat or canoe. Milled lumber, screws, nails, and pitch were viewed by many as godsends. Sometime in the mid to late 1800’s some creative Hawaiians built the first outrigger canoe out of these western materials.
As these early composite canoes were essentially made out of three boards or planks, one on each side and one on the bottom, such craft came to be called ‘three-board canoes’ or sometimes wa’apa.”

My friend Noah wanted a canoe so I decided to draw on a 150 year old Hawaiian tradition of making outrigger canoes from three planks. The last canoe, the Proa, was a Micronesian style – this canoe will be of a Hawaiian style.

One aspect of a Hawaiian outrigger canoe is a continuous rocker – on the bottom, the line from the stern to the bow is always bending (not flat). Here I have set the bottom plank with a continuous bend.

I always build my canoes from the inside out. I’ve installed the seats, waes, bulkheads, and decks.

Several of the canoes I’ve built have black hulls. In the past I stained the wood with black stain and glassed over it – with mixed results. This time I mixed black pigment with the resin and have achieved a much better result.

Definitely a 3-plank canoe…

Noah wanted to attach an outboard motor so I created this side motor mount. I also built another ‘ama and set of iako – so now the canoe has 2 ‘ama.

Noah cruising on the Anahola river with friends.