Maui Activities

17th annual Waʻa Kiakahi festival in Kāʻanapali celebrates traditional Hawaiian sailing

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The 17th annual Wa‘a Kiakahi will take place June 2 to 4 at Kā’anapali Beach. (File photo)

The 17th annual Wa‘a Kiakahi, a legendary Ancient Hawaiian Canoe Festival, will take place June 2 to 4 on the shores of Ka’anapali Beach. 

The race welcomes six six-member crews from all islands to share with the public the history and proficiency of traditional Hawaiian sailing canoes. 

This three-day event features traditional ceremonies, sailing canoe rides and educational talks about celestial navigation and water skills. This event is conducted in the same mode as ancient Hawaiians: sailors will not make crew changes, and they will travel every channel connecting the Hawaiian Islands.

The 17th annual Wa‘a Kiakahi will take place June 2 to 4 at Kā’anapali Beach. (File photo)

Event Schedule:


June 2

  • 11:30 a.m. Race start from Kahului Harbor. Crews race approximately 27 miles to Kāʻanapali.
  • 2:30–3 p.m. Race completion at Kā’anapali Beach Hotel, Kā‘anapali Beach. Arrival of sailing canoes with a traditional Hawaiian welcome ceremony. Arrival time dependent on weather and sea conditions.

June 3

  • 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Free sailing canoe rides for all ages (weather and sea conditions permitting), “talk story” opportunities with race team members, and demonstrations, all happening in front of Kā’anapali Beach Hotel.

June 4

  • 7:45 a.m. A traditional Hawaiian farewell ceremony will take place followed by the race start from Kā‘anapali Beach at 8 a.m. Crews will race from Kā‘anapali to Waimānalo, Oʻahu, approximately 72 miles.


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