Kawika Kapahulehua

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Kawika Kapahulehua.jpg

Elia Kawika David Ku'ualoha Kapahulehua (July 13, 1930 – May 17, 2007) was a Hawaiian sailor who was the first to captain an ocean-voyaging canoe from Hawaii to Tahiti in modern times.


Kapahulehua was born on Ni'ihau, in 1930 and picked up the name "Kawika" as a young adult crewing catamarans on Waikiki Beach.[1]

Major accomplishments[edit]

The famed 1976 voyage of the Hokule'a was beset with problems,[2] but ultimately successful. The goal was to see if a 62-foot-long, two-masted canoe that approximated ancient canoes could be sailed without navigational equipment on the 2,250-nautical-mile (4,170 km) journey. While navigator Mau Piailug guided the ship, Kapahulehua had to deal with 6 of 17 crew members who quit their duties at sea.

A 1978 attempt in which he did not participate capsized after six hours and led to the death of surfer Eddie Aikau.

Later life[edit]

In later life, he taught the Hawaiian language, wrote vocabulary books, and officiated at traditional Hawaiian rites. Kapahulehua died in Honolulu, Hawaii.[3]


External links[edit]