What is Outrigger Canoeing?
Outrigger Canoeing water sport originated in the Hawaiann region. the Canoes having a single hull and am outrigger float (ama) on the left hand side for balance. The ama will provide stability in rough waters, if paddlers lean to far to the right, the canoe will tip over into a Hulli (capsize).
The outrigger is made for rough water conditions and that’s what makes it so much fun. The paddle, or blade, used by the paddler is single sided, with either a straight or a double-bend shaft. We supply paddles at our club for all beginners, more advanced paddlers will buy and bring along their own paddle.
A variety of boat types exist, including the OC1, OC2, OC3, OC4 and OC6 with the respective number of paddlers in each canoe. The steerer will always sit at the back of the boat. At Newcastle Outrigger Canoe Club we have 4 OC6’s, 2 OC2’s and 2 OC1’s. You are also welcome to bring your own Outrigger along.
The season for regattas (races) runs from approx September right through to May. There is some events during winter. Races are optional and teams are based before each event depending on who is available to race in a team. Races are either Novice 4km, Short Course 8-10km & Long course 18-25km. We all travel and compete in many local events, from Canberra up north to Port Macquarie, Sunshine Coast and Hamilton Island.
Paddling is a fun water sport
We are very happy to have you along for just a few tries at the sport or as a long term member. We have a range of levels of participation, from casual once a week paddlers right through to the committed paddlers training for races. We have people of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds, please do not feel intimidated by the apparent physicality of the sport. If you have never picked up a paddle it might take you a while to get the hang of it but we will welcome you just the same as a veteran of the sport.
Your skipper/steerer will be thinking of your safety and also trying to make sure you have fun, exercise and enjoy yourself. Should you have concerns or you are worried about something please explain that to your skipper or the club coach before you get in a canoe. If you are a novice paddler you probably won’t go outside the harbour or if you do, only in calm conditions. More experienced paddlers might head down the beach to Newcastle for a swim or across to Stockton Bight.
Outrigger paddling is a pretty safe sport so far as water sports go and it’s accessible even for the not so fit or physically challenged. It’s unusual to see any serious injuries and any injuries tend to be strains or bruises or such that you see in any sport. The speed of the canoe rarely goes over 15km/hr, we don’t tend to paddle anywhere that is likely to be dangerous and your skipper will take you a distance and direction appropriate for the crews abilities, keeping an eye on the weather and tidal conditions. When we go out into the ocean, we always have a trained competent steerer, we enjoy going over the swell and not into the white wash of the waves.