Meet our Canoes
At first glance our outrigger canoes appear to be an impressive high-tech piece of moulded fibreglass. Take a second look and you’ll see much more…
There are many traditions and ceremonies associated with outrigger canoes owing to the important role they played in Hawaiian and other island cultures. The canoe provided access to food, news from afar, defense, recreation… much trust needed to be placed in them to ensure the safe return of loved ones from across the seas. Although many of these reasons no longer apply, the values and sense of community embodied by these cultures are very much a part of Pacific Dragons.
The most important ceremony for all new canoes is that of a blessing. Participating in a blessing ceremony is a must for every outrigger paddler. It brings the canoe to life and leaves you with sense of pride and care for both our canoes, our sport and our team mates that goes way beyond training, racing and winning or losing.
The PDs have been very lucky to have had Team Hawaii Masters legend, Kamoa Kalama bless all our race canoes while visiting the Hamilton Is Cup. At the ceremonies Kamoa re-iterates the importance of the traditions surrounding the canoe, talks of the significance of the canoe as a place for friends to meet, in which to leave our worries behind and find solace. He also speaks of the meaning of ‘aloha’.
The Spirit of Aloha
Each letter of aloha stands for an important value. It is these values of which we should remind ourselves and apply every time our canoes bring us together:
- Akahi: to be kind to one another
- Lokahi: to be bring unity and harmony
- Olu’olu: to be positive
- Ha’aha’a: to be humble, be willing to be a servant and share ‘space’
- Ahonui: to be patient and to show perseverance
Naming Our Canoes
Outrigger canoes were also part of local Australian aboriginal culture. In recognition of this the names of the PD canoes come from D’harawal aboriginal language that was spoken in the Sydney region.
Treating With Care – Always handle our canoes with the utmost care and respect as you would a faithful friend. Pointing the Outrigger to Sea – Where possible we always try to park the outrigger with the eku (bow) pointing towards the water or out to sea. Never Step Over A Canoe – Never step over the hull of an outrigger canoe. Always walk around.
- Pronounced: goo-roo-win
- Means: Grey Nurse Shark
- Born: some say she’s older than time itself…
- Design: Malia
- History: Not only is the Guruwin the PDs first ever canoe, it is also one of the first outrigger canoes in Australia! After serving its early days battling the shore dump at Coogee Beach it now waits quietly for over subscribed sessions and novice steerers.
- Career Highlights: Seeing the PDs through our outrigger canoeing learning curve including providing special lessons in the art of open water huli recovery. Becoming stranded in big seas off Tamarama in the 1999 (?) Christmas Eve paddle that went ‘horribly’ wrong
Gaban Birik or ‘Gaba’
- Pronounced: ga-barn birr-ick
- Means: White Spirit
- Born: ???
- Design: Classic
- History: This is the PDs first ever race canoe. Purchased from the Pittwater Club in 1998(?), many will remember the joy of being swamped in the Gaba as water would pour continuously through those bright pink skirts…
- Career Highlights: Deciding it want to try life as a submarine while rounding the famous South Head during the 2000 Hamo Womens 16km race. Taking literally one of the biggest PD mens crews ever assembled down the 2003 Hawkesbury Canoe Classic in an amazing time of just over 10 hours
- The Gaba is no longer in the PD family – she now lives with the ZEN Dragons down the South Coast of NSW.
Guwiyang Nuwi or ‘Nuwi’
- Pronounced: goo-ee-yang noo-ee
- Means: Fire Canoe
- Born: June 1999 (blessed at Hamo Jun-99)
- Design: Bladerunner
- History: This is the PDs first ever brand new canoe, and hence our first opportunity to show the world how great a firery orange canoe can look! Minimal rocker in the hull and longer water line length makes the Nuwi our first choice for straight line sprints, flat water races and learning to steer.
- Career Highlights: Taking our short course men to the PDs first ever outrigger regatta win at Southern Beaches (Apr-01). Our first OC6 to take on the Hawkesbury Canoe Classic in 2001 as well as claiming the record for the fastest ever OC6 mens time in 2002 and fastest ever womens time in 2003. Now retired from racing, the Nuwi is one of our training canoes.
- Pronounced: mi-jee
- Means: Bolt of Lightning
- Born: 2000 (blessed at Hamo Jun-01)
- Design: Force 5
- History: The Migee was originally built for the 2000 World Sprint Titles in Townsville and after much negotiation finally made its way to be part of the PD fleet in early 2001. The mix of qualities from both the Classic and Bladerunner designs make it ideal for open ocean racing and sprint turns.
- Career Highlights: Seeing the PD women to their first ever marathon victory (Koa Kai, Dec-02). The Migee serves as our third racing canoe.
- Pronounced: doo-ngah-rah
- Means: Lightning
- Born: April 2003 (blessed at Hamo Jun-03)
- Design: Force 5
- History: As well as reflecting the PD’s growth and commitment to outrigging, the purchase another brand new canoe showed just how many shades of orange fibreglass there really are.
- Career Highlights: Leaving the PD LC men stranded in open water after a giant wave saw the entire weight of the canoe come down on the ama (Jan-04). All was forgiven though when the Dungara helped the PD men to their first ever state sprint title podium finish (Mar-04). Dungara retired from racing in 2013 and is now one of our training canoes.
- Pronounced: bah-rah-goo-lah
- Means: High Tide
- Born: unknown (blessed at Hamo Jun-05)
- Design: Force 5
- History: A bargain picked up at the Ikaika closing down sale in Nov-04
- Career Highlights: The Baragula has served us well, being used in virtually every training session since we purchased her.
- Pronounced: pi-ra-ma
- Means: Pyrmont
- Born: 2010 (blessed 2013)
- Design: Southern Spirit
- History: The Pirrama was our first 130kg class race canoe. We saved for a good couple of years to purchase her. The addition of her to our fleet meant that we could be even more competitive in races with the faster canoe. After having some issues with her ama over the first 3 years, with it finally being smashed in half in the Gold Coast Cup in 2013, we have a brand new ama that has not caused any issues since.
- Career Highlights: Seeing the PD mixed crew break the Hawkesbury Canoe Classic record in 10 hours flat in 2013. The Pirrama has also seen us participate in many races including Hamilton Island Cups.
- Pronounced: mi-ra-book-a
- Means: Southern Cross
- Born: 2012 (blessed 2013)
- Design: Kamanu Ha’upu V6
- History: As our club became more competitive, and with more race crews on the water, we needed a second fast race canoe. We bought the Mirrabooka in 2012 to compliment the Pirrama, offering an option for the differing race conditions.
- Career Highlights: Has been a highly successful race canoe for us so far – and looking forward to many more races!
- Pronounced: ke-ko-a
- Means: The Brave, The Courageous
- Born: 2015 (welcomed 2015, yet to blessed)
- Design: Southern Spirit
- History: 2015 saw the addition of the Kekoa, a 130kg Southern Spirit which allows us to compete at our best in Australian conditions and in the current weight class.
- Career Highlights: We’re looking forward to doing well in many races with her!
There are heaps of special moments while paddling with PDs and our canoes are very much a part of it! Please email your canoe ‘career highlights’ to ourwebmaster.