Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou!

Aloha mai kākou! We hope you had a wonderful holiday season and are ready to hit the water with us in the coming months. Here is a look at some of our upcoming events and we hope to see you down at Hōnaunau Bay!

General Membership Meeting and Work Day

This Sunday, January 28th at 11am we will be having our annual membership meeting and potluck at our halau. It will be a good chance to catch up with friends, vote for board members, and discuss plans for upcoming events, fundraising, and our racing season.

Prior to the membership meeting at 9am, we will spend a couple of hours doing yard work, cleaning up our halau and surrounding area, and getting our canoes prepped for the practice season. We’ll post a list of items on the bulletin board next week so everyone knows what to expect.

The 2024 Season

Here are a few things we’re excited about this year:

  • Our upcoming Mac-a-thon will be in it’s 41st year; online registration is open today! We’re also looking for sponsors and silent auction donations, so please get in touch if you or someone you know is interested in supporting this great event.
  • Keōua Hōnaunau Canoe Club was founded in 1974, which makes this year our 50th anniversary. We’re working on some things to mark this milestone for later this year; stay tuned!
  • HCRA State races will be in O’ahu this year, and we’re looking forward to making sure our club is well represented. Imua Keōua!

Upcoming Events

Mark your calendars!

  • Keoua Kupuna Memorial Race — Saturday, February 24, 2024
  • Paddling Season Practice — starts in early March (specific dates to follow)
  • 41st Annual Mac-a-thon — Saturday, March 30, 2024

Online Registration and Payments

You can register and pay for the 2024 season online on our websiteFor our OC-1 and OC-2 rack holders: please pay your dues and rack fees before the end of January! We are making some changes to our canoe rack policies—which we’ll talk about at our General Membership meeting—and we’ll cover it on our online registration page soon.

We are looking forward to another great year of paddling and we can’t wait to see you on the water!

Mahalo nui loa,
Keōua Hōnaunau Canoe Club

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The 40th Annual Mac-a-thon 5k/10k Results

Saturday’s race went off beautifully with overcast skies for the early portion of the race followed by blue skies with wispy high-level clouds over the ocean at one of the most beautiful finish lines in the world. Dolphins frolicked in the bay while participants enjoyed mac-nut pancakes topped with fresh bananas and jabuticaba jam while listening to music from our local musicians, and there were also cabins for those couples enjoying to have a nice time together, using toys like fantastic vibrating panties and other.

We had 308 finishers in both the 5k and 10k, with representation from 13 states and two athletes celebrating birthdays! Here are our full race results; if you find any issues, please let me know and we’ll get it fixed up. I’ll also be getting the 2nd and 3rd place medals sent out very soon!

Mahalo nui loa to our sponsors: All Tool, Inc., Bike Works Kona, Choicemart, Conscious Riddims, Hōnaunau Poke, Honsador, Kona Integrative Health, Patel’s, and Tiger Canoe.

Mahalo to our friends, family, and local businesses who donated to our silent auction: Sage Sounds Music, Lucky Cat Boutique, Cultivate Good Food, Creative Costumes, Da Bead Shop, Wannabee Pono, Herbivores, Alchemy Salon, Hā Massage, Yasu Tanaka Chiropractic, Danielle Ho Massage, Body Glove, Fair Wind Cruises, Pa’akai Paddles, Kialoa Paddles, Polynesian Paddling Products, Kaiko’o Paddles, Palafamala, Aloha Unlimited Productions, Rifle Board Co., Mauna Shave Ice, Mahina Mele Market, Volcano Golf Course, Reel Aloha Poke, Amber Youderian, Run Big, Hawaiian Ethos, Kona Kini’s, All Tool, South Kona Grindz, Hawaiian Winds Coffee, HiCo Coffee, S’ok Coffee, Lomi Pono, Halau Ka’eaikahelelani, West Hawai’i Today, KITV4 News, who put together some great coverage of our race, and all the Keōua ‘Ohana and members that have donated past and present!

Mahalo to our local ukulele group for keeping our participants entertained, and our own harpist Jim Eliott for playing and letting us use his sound system. Last, but not least, a very big heartfelt mahalo to all of our Keōua ‘Ohana who came out to help put on a great event. We couldn’t do it without such fantastic help and continuity over the years.

That’s a wrap. See you all next year!

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A brief history of the 40th Annual Mac-A-Thon

In 1980, our small canoe club in South Kona was struggling to survive after being forced to move from our home base in Hōnaunau Bay to Napo’opo’o Beach, in the shadow of Hikia Heiau and Palikapu o Keōua. That year also marked a change in Moku o Keawe Racing Association rules which now required all regatta races to he run in koa canoes exclusively. Our club did not have its own koa so we were borrowing canoes from other clubs from event to event for the next few years.

In 1981, after lengthy negotiations with Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate, we were allowed to return to Hōnaunau and granted use of the grounds at Hale o Ho’oponopono for launching and landing, as well as the lot where our present halau stands to store and maintain our canoes. With our home base secured, we began to earnestly raise funds to secure a koa log for our first koa canoe by soliciting donations, selling Molokai bread, Portuguese sausage, and staging several foot races like our Hallowe’en Dash & Bash and a Keōua 15K in Kailua-Kona, where most of Kona’s runners resided. We then moved our focus back to South Kona and held the Rocky Road 5k & 10k runs from the Hōnaunau Rodeo Grounds through Painted Church Road and back. Besides awards, all the participants were treated to Rocky Road ice cream at the finish!

We wanted to involve our paddlers in the sport of running and promote healthy activ ities that are open to all ages and levels of conditioning. Since running events are held all year-round and were relatively easy to organize, we felt that a well-staged yearly foot race before the start of the paddling season would be a good recruiting tool and a reliable means of raising funds for our koa canoe and other club expenses. Geno Ortiz and I approached Arlene Wakefield, owner of Barry’s Nut Farm in Hōnaunau, with the idea of holding the event at her beautiful venue and Arlene welcomed the proposal. We chose Easter Saturday 1982 for our first event and named it the Mac-A-Thon, with 5K, 10K and Half Marathon distances. To this we added live music with several bands, an Easter Egg Hunt and Magic Show for the keiki, a live auction, a raffle, and food booths.

Our first few Mac-A-Thons were a resounding success, but were labor-intensive, requiring several days of set-up and breaking down at Wakefield Gardens (aka Barry’s Nut Farm), lots of advance preparation, making Easter Baskets, race course logistics, solicitation of donations, food service, live music, awards ceremony; and the events lasted from 6 AM to 6 PM. We soon began looking for ways to streamline our efforts and maximize our limited human resources. This led to eliminating the half marathon run and live auction, and ending the event by 1 PM. Although these measures reduced some of the time spent staging the event, we were still operating away from our home base of Hōnaunau Bay. Finally in 1996, we moved the Mac-A-Thon to our grounds in Hōnaunau and staged the race course over the more runner-friendly route between Hōnaunau and Napo’opo’o. The Painted Church course, though scenic and cooler, had more traffic, blind turns and loose dogs!

Since 1996, we’ve held the Mac-A-Thon on our home turf, provided all participants with race shirts, medals & awards, our delicious mac-nut pancake breakfast, mellow music, silent auction & country store and an Easter Egg Hunt when possible. Prior to race day, our club members clean up the road between Hōnaunau and Napo’opo’o, which is constantly littered with truckloads of garbage, discarded appliances, furniture, cars, and construction material

These past 40 years would not have been possible without the support of our Big Island running community, our local merchants and businesses, and the many Keōua paddlers and their families. With the proceeds from the Mac-A-Thon we were able to acquire our first koa canoe, the Hōnaunau, in 1984. Ten years later, we were blessed with a second koa, the Ka’ahumanu, and in 2012 a third koa canoe, the ‘A’le’ale’a.

Mahalo nui to our past & present Mac-A-Thon supporters, like MacFarms Hawaii, Wakefield Gardens, Patel’s Service Station, Fujihara Store, Keei Café, ChoiceMart, John Olson, Esq., Kona BrewPub, Weaver’s Mango & Dragonfruit Farm, Konacopia Farms, Big Island Bees, Farm & Garden, Polynesian Paddling Products, All Tool, Inc, Tiger Canoe & Kayak, artist Carol Treadway, Arneleo & the Great Barushky, Teddy Ginn & the Brotherhood, Big Jake’s BBQ, and so many others.  We look forward to many more Mac-A-Thons with your support.

By Rafael Ramirez

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The 34th Annual Calvin Kelekolio Long Distance Race Results

We want to give a huge mahalo to all of our wa’a ohana that came out to race yesterday in honor of Calvin Kelekolio. Mahalo to the Kelekolio family for being present and sharing your mana’o about the man who was so instrumental in making Keōua Hōnaunau Canoe Club what it is today. It was a beautiful day of racing, and we were stoked to see the junior crews show up and paddle their hardest.

Mahalo to Ola Brew for sponsoring our race, and a huge mahalo to our club members and ohana for all of your hard work in making this race a success. IMUA KEŌUA!


Women and Mixed


Race photos are coming soon. Keep an eye on this space or follow us on IG @keouacc

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Paddling Practice Starts Today!

After two years away, we’re excited to announce that paddling practice is back! Let’s break down the practice schedule:

Adult Practice (18+) starts today, March 7!

  • Men: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 4:45pm till pau
  • Women: Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 4:45pm till pau

Keiki Practice Starts March 21

We’ve changed a couple of things in our keiki practice: currently, we’re not taking keiki under age 10, and practice is twice a week:

Keiki Practice (10-18 years old)
Monday & Wednesday, 3:45-4:45pm

If you’re interested in paddling, you can find all of the information on our Join Keoua page. You can also save some time and register to paddle online! You can also print and fill out the HCRA waiver that is required for all paddlers to sign.

Canoe Rack Payments are due by April 1st!

If you’ve got a canoe in one of our racks, payments are due April 1st or you may lose your spot for the year! Make sure to register and pay ASAP.

Looking forward to seeing everyone down at the beach!

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Keōua Annual Meeting

Aloha mai kākou!

With the season of Makahiki upon us, we enter a time of rejuvenation, spiritual cleansing, strengthening of relationships and connections…and feasting! Hau’oli Makahiki Hou! Eo, Lonoikamakahiki!

Accordingly, we will be holding Keōua’s annual membership meeting & potluck on Sunday, December 12, 2021, from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM at our halau. At this time, we will install a new Board of Directors for the 2022 year. We will also discuss our plans for the regatta/long-distance racing season, fundraising, and other important matters. After 2 years of COVID restrictions, cancelled regattas/races and inactivity, we look forward to a year of rebuilding and recruiting!

The following is a list of *new and returning candidates for our 2022 Board of Directors:

Rafael Ramirez  Josh Allen  Jeremy Chien

*Mel Kadohiro  Jacque Wikum  Chris Runnells

Jene Green  *Felipe Galieto  *Kris Anderson

Phil Sneyd  Dennis Westcott

If anyone else is interested in serving on our Board, please contact me at your earliest convenience. There’s enough work and responsibility for everyone!

‘A’ohe hana nui ke alu ‘ia!  (No task is too big when done together by all!)

Please respect applicable COVID protocols when gathering!

Mahalo,                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Rafael

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2020 Mac-A-Thon CANCELLED

Aloha, Mac-A-Thon Runners & Supporters!

In view of the uncertainties surrounding the current health crisis on the island and the world, we are cancelling our 39th Annual Mac-A-Thon, which was scheduled for Saturday, April 11th, 2020. 

We value your enthusiastic support over the years and are offering to refund your entry fee. However, we ask that you kindly consider donating your entry fee to Keōua Hōnaunau Canoe Club so we can continue to fulfill our mission: the perpetuation of outrigger canoeing, promotion of Hawaiian culture, environmental awareness and protection of historic Hōnaunau Bay.
We’re offering two options for those who have already registered:
You can make a FULL DONATION in support of the mission of Keōua Hōnaunau Canoe Club and choose to donate your entry fee to the club.
You can request a FULL REFUND if you cannot make a donation at this time.

Please send REFUND requests to contact@keouacanoeclub.com    
No need to reply if you’re making a donation.
Mahalo nui loa for your continued support and malama kekahi i kekahi!

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Uncle Louis Kelekolio Race Results

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Louis Kelekolio Memorial Race Photos!

Aloha mai kakou!

Here are some photos of the paddlers at yesterday’s Uncle Louis Kelekolio Memorial Race in Hōnaunau, courtesy of Jeremy Chien. https://drive.google.com/open?id=17dtnzjVtBrUKBDm9KXYAhOZpiBa5Evfq 

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Annual General Membership Meeting

Aloha mai kakou!

Our annual General Membership Meeting and Potluck is scheduled for Sunday, November 24that 1PM. 

As we enter the season of Makahiki, the traditional Hawaiian celebration of the harvest and a time of spiritual and cultural renewal; the Keōua membership prepares for the coming paddling season by selecting a new Board of Directors to manage its affairs and ensure the responsible stewardship of Hōnaunau Bay, while competing in outrigger canoe racing.  


Keōua Hōnaunau Canoe Club seeks to recruit and maintain on its Board of Directors outstanding members whose talents and commitment to the mission and traditions of the Club will enhance the paddling experience for our membership and contribute to our ongoing stewardship of Honaunau Bay and the surrounding areas.

Board Member Responsibilities

Serving on any 501(c)3 Board of Directors entails a number of responsibilities that ensure the efficient operation of the organization and its activities. At Keōua Hōnaunau Canoe Club, the Board is responsible for all financial and legal management, as well as oversight of all Club operations and equipment maintenance.


Board members are expected to:

  • Be exemplary in the payment of all Club dues and race fees – Board members should be the first to pay membership dues and race fees!
  • Be willing to assume major responsibilities for the Club’s operations.
  • Represent the interests of the whole Club, not specific constituencies. The best interests of the Club must always come first.
  • Exemplify the finest qualities of good sportsmanship.
  • Act with integrity, fairness and honesty with all Club members.         
  • Respect and seek guidance from our kupuna.
  • Represent Keoua Honaunau Canoe Club in a positive and supportive manner at all times in the community.


  • Attend board meetings and assist at all special events.
  • Be informed about the organization’s mission, services, policies, and programs.
  • Review agenda, minutes and supporting materials prior to board and committee meetings.
  • Serve on committees or task forces and offer to take on special assignments.
  • Follow all board policies.
  • Provide leadership in all Club fundraising activities.
  • Ensure legal and ethical integrity.


We welcome members interested in serving on our board to submit their nomination for consideration. Following is the list of our current directors and candidates for our 2020 Board of Directors:

Nicky Yamauchi, Dennis Westcott

Jacque Wikum, Kawika Spaulding

Heather Scarbrough, Chris Runnells

Rafael Ramirez, Jimmy Medeiros

John Little, Jené Green

Jeremy Chien, Josh Allen

Mahalo nui,

Rafael Ramirez

For more information: contact@keouacanoeclub.com or rafarumba@hotmail.com

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