The story of Newport Outrigger and the beginning of
outrigger paddling in California and the U.S. mainland
begins with our club founder, Noah Kalama.
In 1958, as outrigger canoeing was being introduced to a handful of surfers and lifeguards and others that enjoyed the ocean, Noah Kalama left his home in Hawaii and came to the Newport Beach area to coach the California team being organized to race against the Hawaiian team in the first Newport-to-Catalina race.
That race was held in 1959, the same year that Hawaii became a state. The popularity of the sport has grown ever since.
In 1960, Noah Kalama founded Newport Outrigger Canoe Club to share long-held native Hawaiian traditions through the sport of outrigger paddling and other cultural arts.
The Kalama family has been entrenched in the Southern California canoe culture ever since that early date as Noah’s son, Thomas Kalama, carried on after his father and today, Leina’ala Kalama-Dutro, the granddaughter of Noah Kalama, continues that legacy.
Newport Outrigger has remained mostly active ever since its inception in 1960. In the mid 1990’s, after a brief period of inactivity, the club came back into full swing and has been active ever since. While the current paddling association in Southern California (SCORA) has about 30 members, plus the many other outrigger canoe clubs coast-to-coast, we are happy to claim the honor of being the oldest paddling club still in existence on the mainland.
Today, the club offers various levels of participation including competitive racing teams for adults and children as well as recreational paddling for those who just want to get out and enjoy the water. Additionally, paddlers and non-paddlers alike serve on committees that organize club and community outreach activities as well as cultural experiences.