This exciting sport can be traced back to Polynesian origins. Most popularly known from the opening credits of Hawaii Five-O.
The following description of Outrigger Canoe is from KanuCulture author Steve West:
“An outrigger canoe is defined by having the inclusion of a rig known as an outrigger which acts as a counterpoise or balance, rigged out from the side of the canoe. A number of spars (iako), usually 2 but up to as many as 10 depending on the canoe’s origin and purpose, are lashed across and to the canoe gunwales, extending outwards for a given distance and truncating with the attachment of a flotation device (ama).
In the case of the single outrigger canoe, only one outrigger attachment is used, extended usually out on the left or port side, whereas a double outrigger canoe has outriggers extending outwards on both sides. Many variations of this system exist according to the waters the canoes were used in, their function, the size of the primary hull and the materials available to the builders and designers.”
Outrigger canoes are raced all over the world. The International Va’a Federation hosts a World Sprint Championships on even number years and a World Distance Championships on odd number years.