The Lake Havasu Outrigger Canoe Club began when David and Liz Vidad took their love for water and brought this amazing watersport of outrigger canoeing to the desert lake town in 2005. Now, this nonprofit organization currently has 40 active members, of which 21 are part of the racing division.
Outrigger canoeing began as a Hawaiian tradition when ancient Polynesians took the long, slender vessels with four to five people to battle. The term “outrigger” comes from the assistant float attached at the front and rear tips and sits parallel to the canoe. To keep the Aloha Spirit alive, the group makes every member part of their Ohana (Hawaiian for Family). To do so, they focus on a strong understanding of respect for every member, piece of equipment and the lake they call home.
“With members ranging from 14 to 90 years old, outrigger canoeing is a sport for everyone and the club provides training for participants of all levels,” Outrigger executive director Mary Barriault said.
In May, the racers participated in Crystal Pier race in California, winning first place. In addition to training for races, the LHOCC also participates in recreational meetings in which individuals or groups can learn the sport of outrigger canoeing.
“We all come together, put a paddle in our hands and all become one. Looking back from the middle of the lake, you realize how lucky we really are,” Barriault said.
On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, catch these watersport enthusiasts at Rotary Park. The racing team(s) start practice at 5:30 a.m., and recreational open practice begins at 7:30 a.m. When the weather begins to cool, late afternoon and evening practices will be offered as well.
Upcoming events for the LHOCC:
9th Annual Haunted Pineapple Race
Rotary Park, Lake Havasu City
Another Dam Race
Bluewater Casino, Parker