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Only the young in the outrigger canoes

Shaka Fest at De Anza Park Saturday April 28

Outrigger and stand-up paddleboard vendors will rent demo equipment.
Outrigger and stand-up paddleboard vendors will rent demo equipment.

Long before the magnetic compass, the sextant, global positioning systems and other navigational aids, Polynesians sailed solely by observation of the sun, stars, and ocean swells coupled with other signs of nature such as the flight path of birds and the shapes of clouds. For millennia, this skill was passed down by oral tradition from master to apprentice, often in the form of song, with the aim of building a star compass.

Past Event

San Diego Shaka Fest

  • Saturday, April 28, 2018, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • De Anza Cove, 3000 N. Mission Bay Drive, San Diego
  • Free

The star compass was not held by hand or mounted at the helm; it was kept in the mind and utilized memory of the "houses of the stars," the Hawaiian description of the place where heavenly bodies rise and set on the constant horizon of the sea. Thus, by rote only, prospective Polynesian navigators learned to find their direction on a vast and often featureless ocean. But for the effort of one man, this art of navigation might have been lost in the waves of societal evolution.

Pius “Mau” Piailug of the island Satawal in the Caroline chain (a widely scattered archipelago of tiny islands in the northwestern Pacific Ocean) was one of few remaining instructors of traditional, non-instrument wayfinding. In 1950 and at the age of eighteen, Mau became a palu, or master navigator. This was around the time the first western missionaries visited the island, which might explain the vitality there of wayfinding well into the 19th century unlike other Polynesian and Micronesian communities that were relying on modern methods of navigation. Mau’s concern was that his tradition and culture would be lost. In the mid 1970s, the Polynesian Voyaging Society built the hōkūle‘a, a traditional double-hulled Hawaiian seafaring canoe, and Mau navigated the vessel 2,290 nautical miles from Hawaii to Tahiti using only the star compass in his mind.

Founded in November, 2011 here in San Diego, the Nā Koa Kai Canoe Club is dedicated to perpetuating the Hawaiian and Pacific Islander cultures, based primarily on the Wa’a, or Hawaiian outrigger canoe. This Saturday, the Nā Koa Kai Canoe Club’s Shaka Fest will highlight Polynesian culture at the bayside setting of De Anza Park. The activities in Mission Bay will include stand-up paddle race for all ages, a youth-only Hawaiian outrigger canoe regatta, and Polynesian entertainment and cuisine. Outrigger and stand up paddleboard vendors will rent demo equipment for those who wish to get their feet wet, Polynesian-style.

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Outrigger and stand-up paddleboard vendors will rent demo equipment.
Outrigger and stand-up paddleboard vendors will rent demo equipment.

Long before the magnetic compass, the sextant, global positioning systems and other navigational aids, Polynesians sailed solely by observation of the sun, stars, and ocean swells coupled with other signs of nature such as the flight path of birds and the shapes of clouds. For millennia, this skill was passed down by oral tradition from master to apprentice, often in the form of song, with the aim of building a star compass.

Past Event

San Diego Shaka Fest

  • Saturday, April 28, 2018, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • De Anza Cove, 3000 N. Mission Bay Drive, San Diego
  • Free

The star compass was not held by hand or mounted at the helm; it was kept in the mind and utilized memory of the "houses of the stars," the Hawaiian description of the place where heavenly bodies rise and set on the constant horizon of the sea. Thus, by rote only, prospective Polynesian navigators learned to find their direction on a vast and often featureless ocean. But for the effort of one man, this art of navigation might have been lost in the waves of societal evolution.

Pius “Mau” Piailug of the island Satawal in the Caroline chain (a widely scattered archipelago of tiny islands in the northwestern Pacific Ocean) was one of few remaining instructors of traditional, non-instrument wayfinding. In 1950 and at the age of eighteen, Mau became a palu, or master navigator. This was around the time the first western missionaries visited the island, which might explain the vitality there of wayfinding well into the 19th century unlike other Polynesian and Micronesian communities that were relying on modern methods of navigation. Mau’s concern was that his tradition and culture would be lost. In the mid 1970s, the Polynesian Voyaging Society built the hōkūle‘a, a traditional double-hulled Hawaiian seafaring canoe, and Mau navigated the vessel 2,290 nautical miles from Hawaii to Tahiti using only the star compass in his mind.

Founded in November, 2011 here in San Diego, the Nā Koa Kai Canoe Club is dedicated to perpetuating the Hawaiian and Pacific Islander cultures, based primarily on the Wa’a, or Hawaiian outrigger canoe. This Saturday, the Nā Koa Kai Canoe Club’s Shaka Fest will highlight Polynesian culture at the bayside setting of De Anza Park. The activities in Mission Bay will include stand-up paddle race for all ages, a youth-only Hawaiian outrigger canoe regatta, and Polynesian entertainment and cuisine. Outrigger and stand up paddleboard vendors will rent demo equipment for those who wish to get their feet wet, Polynesian-style.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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