Canoe Clubs Lose Some, Save Some

March 14, 2011

Canoe Clubs on the West side of Hawaii Island in general managed to get their canoes out of harms way before Friday morning’s tsunami–but not always.   Kai Ehitu Canoe Club managed to remove its two new canoes and two canoe canoes from Kamakahonu Beach, behind King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel,  early Friday morning.  But they had to leave two canoes there, including one they share with Tui Tonga.  Club members just simply ran out of time before police closed off access to the area around 2 a.m. in anticipation of the tsunami.

When club members were able to return later Friday, they found the nose of one boat was torn off, and the outrigger was ripped off the other.  Part of one canoe was between the pool bar and the rest rooms at the hotel.

Kai Opua Canoe Club now stores most of its canoes at its canoes at their halau at Old Kona Airport Park, and were able to move most of them to higher ground.   It still keeps some canoes at Kamakahonu Beach.  Two of their canoes floated away, but club members were able to retrieve them after the tsunami warning was lifted. Damage to the boats is repairable.

Keauhou Canoe Club fared the best.  Club Presidents Cindy and Bill Armer said on Thursday night, around 75 paddlers showed up with flashlights around 9:45.  They worked until midnight who helped move 14 fiberglass canoes, two koa canoes, and a trailer of one-man canoes out of harm’s way.  They moved some canoes to Keauhou Shopping Center, and moved some plus a Boston Whaler up to a road out of the tsunami zone.    However, they will not be able to resume their paddling activities, either competitive nor recreational, until debris is removed from Keauhou Bay and the land and beach area are restored.  Cindy Armer said the canoe club members will help, but the plan must be initiated by Department of Land and Natural Resources and Kamehameha Investment Co.  Water rose so high at Keauhou Bay it is said to have pretty well covered the restrooms.   The bay is littered with picnic tables, lawn furniture, and general debris.  (See another story about the state of Keauhou Bay by fishing writer Jim Rizzuto at

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