Oceanside Outrigger Canoe Club was founded in 2007 by the merging of two local outrigger clubs: Makana Ke Kai Outrigger Canoe Club and Paopao Outrigger Association.

Double the spirit, double the energy and double the fun!

Let us share the enthusiasm we have for the ocean, our canoes, and especially our Ohana (family).


Makana Ke Kai Outrigger Canoe Club was founded in 1997 by six surfers with a love for the ocean, an appreciation of the Polynesian outrigger canoe, and a firm desire to paddle together. In November 1997, Buddy Adams, Dan Avina, Bob Bones, John Corning, Ed Duval, and Dave Hanson began paddling a borrowed Malia canoe and soon after purchased the first MKK canoe, the Manowale’a.

Our founders had friendships and relationships with many of the pioneers of the Southern California and Hawaiian surfing and outrigger canoe paddling communities.  One important and revered friend of our founding members was a woman with world-class skill in surfing, free diving, spearfishing, and outrigger canoe paddling.  She was an all-around ocean woman who embodied the heart and soul of Hawaiian aloha.  Her name was Rell Sunn, a legendary female surfer known throughout California and the Hawaiian Islands as the “Queen of Makaha,” a woman deeply committed to aloha and the children of her community. It was the spirit of Rell Sunn that touched the hearts of the founding members of our club and Rell was ultimately responsible for naming our club  Makana Ke Kai.

Rell Sunn was a close friend of Dave Hanson and his wife Liz when they were blessed with the birth of their first child. Rell suggested their beautiful girl Josie be named, “Makana,” which means “Precious Gift” in the Hawaiian language. When Rell learned of the birth of Dave and Liz’s second child, she suggested the boy Adam be named, “Ke Kai” which means “The Sea.”

When the ocean lifted our six founders and their canoe up on a large wave offshore from the Oceanside Harbor, they felt the exhilaration of the slide down the face and became committed to paddling together.  At the suggestion of Dan Avina, they decided to start their own outrigger canoe club. Buddy Adams suggested they name the club after Dave’s two children and call it, “Makana Ke Kai,” which together means “Precious Gift the Sea.”

Our founders considered what colors would be appropriate for the club canoes, jerseys, publications, logos, and other Makana Ke Kai artifacts.  All wanted to reflect their collective values and preferences and for different but consistent reasons, all agreed that a combination of blue and green resonated as appropriate for Makana Ke Kai colors. Delores “Dee” Avina was one of the most active early contributors in setting up the club, and she recommended blue to represent the ocean and green for the Earth.  Buddy Adams agreed that blue and green were appropriate for Makana Ke Kai as he recalled the subtle and gorgeous blue/green tones in the sky of the early morning Hawaiian sunrise.  Dave Hanson also liked these colors as for him blue represented the ocean and green the center color of the chromatic spectrum representing the “healing heart,” the fourth chakra where the love center of our human energy system brings healing.

With the inspiration and hard work of its founders, previous and current members connect with the spirit of aloha embodied in Rell Sunn, to perpetuate outrigger canoe paddling in Oceanside and afford the surrounding North San Diego County area residents the opportunity and privilege to paddle outrigger canoes.  Makana Ke Kai and its member family ohana has grown into the club it is today through the commitment, contributions, and hard work of our many members who desire to perpetuate the spirit of aloha and culture of outrigger canoe paddling for generations to come.

PAOPAO – The Beginnings

Everything has to start somewhere – right? Before Paopao, there was not an outrigger club in Oceanside in spite of the beautiful white sand beaches and a perfect recreational harbor with easy access to the open ocean. Back in 1970s, Noah Kalama had visited the area and saw the potential. He tried to start a club, but cities, being the bureaucratic creatures they are, stymied his efforts and he never got it off the ground.

So along comes Dan Avina. He’s not Hawaiian, he’s Mexican. His dad stayed in Oceanside after WWII like so many other veterans, and that’s where he was born. He had just left the plummeting computer industry in 1992 to start a small kayak shop in Oceanside Harbor.

That year, the Harbor Days committee asked him if he could put together a small paddling event for the benefit of all the tourists. Being a surfer and having briefly lived in Hawaii, he had paddled for Haliewa Canoe Club. He thought it was such a blast, why not try to do something like that for Harbor Days.

He bought an old Keone canoe from Peter Wilson at Kumulani in San Diego and started restoring it below his shop in the harbor. He was absolutely amazed at the number of people that would stop and ask…”are you starting an outrigger club? I used to paddle and those were some of the happiest days of my life!”

Well then, why not start an outrigger canoe club? What to name it? Since he had grown up and gone to school with many Samoans, why not choose a prominent family name to respect that Polynesian heritage. With the permission of the family matriarch, the name Paopao was chosen. As it turns out, Paopao means “little canoe” in Samoan.

With many ties to the local community, he was able to engender much support for the venture and of course, many paddlers. The aunties of Hui O’ Hawaii in San Diego guided the group through the rituals of the first canoe blessing to the extent of coming up to Oceanside to help “correctly” prepare the Kalu pig, lomi lomi, and sticky rice.

There were 200-300 people at the first blessing of the “Obediah.” (affectionately called the “oh-we-be-dying” because it weighed 500lbs) Father Ben from Mission San Luis Rey and Kapuna Dave from San Diego blessed the canoe at Harbor Beach. To christen the canoe, the first crew paddled it into the surf and promptly hulied it! Back on the beach, Dan admitted he had no experience steering especially in the surf. This immediately called down the ire of the girls who now looked like wet puppies after their inadvertent swim.

After a beautiful luau, with lots of food, Te Tahita O Tea dancers, fire dancers, speeches by the mayor and council members, Paopao Outrigger was off to a good start. Since no one was familiar with the California Outrigger Association, the club used the one canoe for recreational paddles from the fishing pier dock in Oceanside Harbor. Everyone would bring food, the kids, and lots of aloha. They would take turns in the canoe paddling it around the harbor and to the outer jetty.  Now, those have become the “good old days of outrigger paddling in Oceanside.”

Dan would like to thank these people for helping him start Paopao Canoe Club.

Dee AvinaTerry and Don EmerickSteve and Becky Stuart
Hui O HawaiiBill PorterTamara and Ben Pedro
Susie NemethPhil Auchter Jeannette and Randy Houke
Junior PaoPao