Our 2017 Novice Program begins February 4th and the initial trial period runs every Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm through the end of March. The Novice Coaches for 2017 are Jack Garland and Kevin Dempsey.

Dana Outrigger is a member of the Southern California Outrigger Racing Association (SCORA).  All paddlers must be proficient swimmers. Before our competitive season begins, you will be given a fitness test that includes treading water for 20 minutes and then swimming for a measured distance.

At first, practice happens on the weekends only. Then, beginning in March, we add in two practices during the week. In these practices, we will teach you all the skills needed to race outrigger canoes. Be prepared to have fun, get fit and meet a bunch of new friends. WARNING: most people who get involved in this sport find it very addictive. You will soon become very annoying to your non-paddling friends and family members. It can’t be helped. They will need to adapt.

After training for several months, the first official races will begin in May. There are currently 27 member clubs in SCORA and our official events take place up and down the coast between San Diego and Santa Barbara. You can view our race schedule on the SCORA website, by clicking here. The first races are Iron – that means it is a continuous race over distance without any crew changes. As a novice, your races will be approximately 4-5 miles in length. There are five iron races that take place between early May and the end of June.

Once the Iron Races are finished, the Sprint Races begin. These are much shorter races, usually 500m to 1000m, and are conducted in heats with a series of elimination rounds. At the conclusion of the Sprint Season, you will graduate to become an Open Paddler. But, the competition is not all seriousness. At the conclusion of the Iron Races, there is a Novice Dance Competition in San Diego that gives everyone the opportunity to make a fool of themselves. And, at the conclusion of the Sprint Races in Santa Barbara, there is a Novice Graduation Ceremony. This usually entails dressing up in some goofy themed costumes and lampooning your coaches.

Those Novice who develop proficiency may also be invited to compete in the 9-Man Season. This season consists of three separate events beginning in August – the Whitey Harrison Classic, The Pao Pao in Oceanside and the Catalina Crossing which races between Newport Beach and Avalon on Catalina Island. The first two races are approximately 20 miles in length. The Catalina Crossing is approximately 30 miles for the women and 34 miles for the men.

In a 9-Man race, the paddlers are rotated in and out of the crew at about 15-20 minute intervals. The canoe is followed by a chase boat carrying three paddlers. At regular intervals, these paddlers will jump off of the chase boat and swim in line with the approaching canoe. As the canoe bears down on the same, three paddlers will jump out of the canoe to the right and the three replacement paddlers will climb in on the left. Over long distance races, this rotation of paddlers helps to maintain energy levels and keep the canoe moving at a swift pace. Hauling yourself into a moving canoe, however, takes skill and a certain level of fitness. If you want to compete in 9-man, better start getting yourself into shape as early as possible.

By the time your novice season is over, you will have gained some new skills, increased your fitness levels and made a number of new friends.

Want to give it a try? You can pre-register by clicking here and following the instructions for “Novice.”

If you have any more questions about the Novice Program, just send an email to the Dana Coaches Mahalo!