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 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.
Produced by Frederic Ullman, Jr., for Pictorial Films in the early 1940s, this relatively short “Sportreel” black-and-white film is titled “Riding the Crest” and takes its’ viewer to Honolulu, Hawaii. At mark 02:20, the narrator explains one of the island’s most popular sports: body surfing. (The title itself is a reference to surfing and the ability to successfully ride the crest of a wave.) The narrator explains the “how to” basics of surfing as we see scenes of novice and expert surfers out in the ocean.
The viewer is also introduced to surfboarding starting at mark 03:04, in which the brave hearted are said to ride a “streamlined ironing board” as men are shown heading out to the Pacific Ocean and the narrator again explains the basics. Scenes of outrigger canoes follow, and at mark 05:44, the viewer is returned to surfboarding as we see a bikini-clad novice surfer practicing her balancing techniques on dry land, followed by more scenes of experienced surfers riding the waves. As the sun sets at mark 08:34, the narrator reminds the viewer that “so long as there is a surf on the island, there will be sport … and sportsmen to ride the crest.”
When Jamie O’Brien figures out how to drop in and get barreled on kayaks, he naturally goes for the biggest waves he can. After hitting Pipeline and Backdoor, the boys paddle out to Waimea and complete the crazy kayak trifecta.
When Pipeline is firing, there’s no stopping Jamie O’Brien from dropping in and showing why he’s one of the best in the world. The guys then attempt some sketchy tandem kayak barrels and step offs at Backdoor and Sunset.