In eariy 2003, Namolokama O’Hanalei Canoe Club was formed by a group of Kauai North Shore canoe padders interested in creating a club that wouid focus on the competitive and recreational nature of Hawaiian canoe sports. With a few borrowed six man canoes available and an enthusiastic core group of paddlers, the club began the task of gaining club recognition, status and a home base,
Kauai canoe clubs are required to gain recognition as a member of the Garden Island Canoe Racing Association (GICRA) through a specific process lasting at least one canoe racing season. The fledgling club obtained the affiliation requirement through the generous support of Niumalu Canoe Club, and participated in the county and state sponsored races under their banner, The Club was formally incorporated on February 6, 2003 as a 501 (3) not for profit corporation. Interim by-laws were adopted, and an interim Board was elected* ‘With the help of both county government and the Princeville Corporation, the club was able to obtain storage and launching locations for its canoes; first at Hanalei Pavilion, and then at its current site along the Hanaiei River behind Black Pot Park. Currently the Club leases 6 canoes from two of its members. It has also purchased three new canoes and plans to purchase others.
The long term goals of the Club are: (a) to be a small to medium worid-class paddling club, and (b) to be viewed as an asset to the community. The club started with about 35 registered members and grew rapidly to its current size of around 80 members. Theprimary sources of operating funds for the club are membership dues, donations., race sponsorship and the sale of merchandise. During the first. season the club competed in county and state regattas and local long distance races as part of Niumalu. It also competed as Namolokama in ‘other organization"' sponsored events, such as the Napaii Challenge on Kauai, Lihiuokalani on Hawaii, and the Molokai World Championships across the Kaiwi Channei. Individual members also competed in other canoe races as far away as Italy, California., New York, Tahiti and Australia. Many accomplishments included first in class at county, state and world championship races.
Hightlights for the 2003 season were:
Three teams represented the Club at State Regatta,
Gold Medal in the State Regatta
Three teams represented at Molokai Hoe
Gold medal in the prestigious Molokai race
Fund raisers, individual and corporate donations helped to add to the Club treasury' so that additional canoes and accessories could be added to its’ inventory and faciiities. In addition, these funds were used for community service projects, such as sponsoring two families at Christmas, and supporting the Kilauea Community Spaghetti dinner.
During the final season meeting of GICRA, the island's clubs voted full membership statues to Namolokama OʻHanlei Canoe Club. 2004 was its first year competingunder its” own name and banner,
Namolokama looks forward to another successful membership drive and paddling season,