About Us

~ Au i ke kai me he manu ala – “Cross the sea like a bird” ~


Kai Pana Outrigger Canoe Club is a non-profit competitive racing club based out of Bellingham, Washington.
Megan Gebhardt and Tyler Irwin founded Kai Pana Outrigger Canoe Club in 2013 following a move from San Diego, California where they were involved in outrigger canoe racing with both, San Diego Outrigger Canoe Club and Kai Elua Outrigger Canoe Club. They felt the need to create a club that actively perpetuates the Polynesian sport of outrigger canoe racing and the culture that comes with it.
Kai Pana in Hawaiian translates to “Rhythm of the Ocean.” This name was chosen to symbolize the technique and mindset needed to paddle on the open ocean and how paddlers need to be in tune with the waters around them.


The racing season in the Pacific Northwest starts in May and will run typically through September. Two different types of races held here in the Northwest are Ironman and Sprints.
  • Ironman races will vary in length from 5 to 18 miles with no breaks during the race.
  • Sprint races or “regattas” range in length from one-half mile to two miles. In regattas, the canoes compete in lanes on a ¼-mile course and will involve turns around buoys.
  • 9-man paddling is also practiced in the Northwest but races are typically held in warmer climates such as California and Hawai’i, where the water temperatures are more suitable for water changes.
Outrigger paddling requires the crew to work as one cohesive unit throughout both practices and races. Coordination between paddlers is both physically and mentally challenging, however, paddling creates a deeper level of bonding and trust between teammates compared to other team sports. Kai Pana Outrigger Canoe Club takes an immense amount of pride in teaching paddlers to work together to achieve success on the water and to perpetuate an ‘ohana (family) spirit while off the water.
We are always looking for people who want to expand their adventurous attitude and would love to get the chance to have you and your friends come out and experience outrigger paddling with Kai Pana!