About Outrigger Canoeing

About Outrigger Canoeing

What is an Outrigger Canoe?

An Outrigger Canoe is a dugout log called a 'hull' (made out of fibreglass these days of course) that has a floating device, 'ama', attached. Two pieces of timber called 'iako's', are used to do this.

Traditionally all four parts were strapped together with rope but these days we mainly use ratchets.

What are the requirements to start paddling with Port Douglas Outrigger Canoe Club?

You need to be 18 years of age and be able to swim, (you do not need to be a good swimmer, as long as you keep yourself above water).

You are never too old to start. Our oldest member is 67 years old.

We welcome any fitness level, but if you do have a medical condition that restricts your body movement we recommend you discuss this with your doctor first before you get serious.

You must sign an Indemnity Form before your first session. The first 3 sessions are FREE.

How does the paddling work?

There are six seats in the canoe. Each seat is given a number: No. 1 sits in the front down to No. 6 in the back.

No.1 sets the stroke rate while No. 6 steers the canoe.

Paddlers in seats Nos.1, 3 and 5, start paddling on the left side, while Nos.2, 4 and 6 start on the right.

After a set number of strokes, (usually 14-16) one designated paddler will call the word 'hut' and then everybody makes one more stroke and then changes over to the other side. (Unlike dragon boat racing, we paddle on both sides of the canoe).

To move the canoe forward, all 6 paddlers must exit and enter their paddles into the water at the same time, (just like rowing, except that we see which way we are going) following the stroke rate set by Seat No.1


About Outrigger Canoeing

Our History

Gold Coast entrepreneur Keith Williams first brought outrigger canoes to Australia in the early 1980’s after a visit to Hawaii. He brought a canoe mould back to Australia, built his own canoes and placed them in his oceanarium “Seaworld” on the Gold Coast and his new resort at Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays.

Founding and life member Irene Denholm became hooked on the sport whilst working on Hamilton Island. In 1992 she arranged the loan of an OC6 canoe from friends in the Whitsundays & transported it to Port Douglas. This led to the acquisition of the Club’s first “classic” canoe from Daydream Island financed by Eddie Burston until a sponsor could be secured. Marina Mirage purchased the canoe and became the Club’s first official sponsor.

The Port Douglas Outrigger Canoe Club Inc was formed on the 10th of September 1992 at an inaugural meeting held at the Port Douglas & Districts Combined Club. On the 16th September 1992 the club was incorporated and in early 1993 became members of AOCRA (Australian Outrigger Canoe Racing Association).

Two more OC6 canoes were purchased along the way as well as OC1 and OC2 club canoes and other ancillary equipment.

In December 2002 the Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch officially opened the Port Douglas Club Pavilion.

PDOCC has hosted three Grand Prix Regattas in 1995, 1998 and 2004 which attracted up to 400 paddlers and supporters to Port Douglas.

It now hosts the Marlin Coast Challenge, an OC1/OC2 38km relay race from Ellis Beach to Port Douglas, which was launched in 2008 and is now a popular annual event on the Australian outrigger circuit and attracts paddlers from all over Australia and overseas.

Club members have participated in many Regattas over the past 18 years as far south as Rockhampton, plus National Titles on the Gold Coast and the Hamilton Island International Event and have returned with medals and trophies on many occasions.

Club members have also attended the World Sprint Titles in 2000 (Townsville), 2004 (Hawaii), 2006 (New Zealand), 2010 (New Caledonia) and also competed in international events in Saipan, Palau, Cook Islands and Hawaii.

The Club canoes have been used in many events including the annual Port Village Carnivale Parade (winning prizes on 2 occasions including ‘best float’), they were part of the official escort during the 2000 Olympic Torch Relay in Dickson’s Inlet, the annual Australia Day Launch Race around Low Isles, Clean Up Australia Day, the Tsunami Fundraiser held at the Yacht Club & The Blessing of the Fleet.

The Club has also participated in many feature events held in Port Douglas such as transporting Santa to Christmas Carols at Marina Mirage, escorting James Morrison in a canoe to a special function on Four Mile Beach hosted by Sheraton Mirage, carrying Polynesian dancers to a function at Rex Smeal Park and escorting a Bride & Groom along Dickson’s Inlet to their reception.

The first “Big Paddle” novice outrigger event was held off the Quicksilver wharf at Marina Mirage in 1993 and more recently off Four Mile Beach as part of the Port Douglas Village Carnivale Beach Day.

The Club has hosted the Melbourne Cup Calcutta at the Court House Hotel for over 15 years as the major fundraiser for the club.

PDOCC has received generous sponsorship over the past 18 years from individuals and businesses in Port Douglas and has been recognised by the Douglas Shire for its community involvement and individual and team achievements. It maintains a high profile and is a well respected club within the community.


Our History

Life Members

Irene Denholm

Irene became hooked on the sport whilst working on Hamilton Island. In 1992 she arranged the loan of an OC6 canoe from friends in the Whitsundays & transported it to Port Douglas. This led to the acquisition of the Club’s first “classic” canoe from Daydream Island. Port Douglas Outrigger Canoe Club became the first club north of Townsville and Irene was responsible for bringing the sport to Far North Queensland. Irene’s passion and dedication to the sport continues to inspire.

Eddie Burston

Eddie financed the first canoe until a sponsor could be secured. Marina Mirage purchased the canoe and became the Club’s first official sponsor. Eddie was an inspiring and integral part of the club in the early days and played a significant role in the development of the club.

Faye Lilley

Faye was the major catalyst behind the successful funding application with the Qld Govt Sports & Recreation Minor Facilities Program and the construction of the club pavilion which was officially opened by Federal MP Warren Entsch in December 2002. It took three years of blood sweat and tears with many obstacles and extensions of time for the funding criteria.