Before endurance and water sports existed, there was canoe paddling. Initially a vehicle used to hunt and fight has now become one of the largest growing fitness and endurance sports in the world. The household name in the game has always been the Tahitians…until recently. The U.S. outrigger canoe paddling team from Kona, the Red Bull Wa’a, have taken the age-old sport by storm and challenged the tenure of the Tahitian paddlers.
For the Red Bull Wa’a, paddling isn’t just a means to peak personal strength, it’s spiritual. Team captain, Kainoa Tanoai, says “When you’re paddling for four hours a day, you’re focused on the goal of competing at the highest level, but you’re also focused on being one with the ocean and respecting the canoe, your teammates, and the sport.”