Recruitment Program

2021 Recruitment Program

Recruiting normally begins mid-to-late January and continues through February. However, due to state and county COVID-19 restrictions, recruiting is postponed indefinitely.

Novice Year Participation

As a novice member, we want to get you participating in our other activities too! Please start thinking about how you can contribute by being a part of a subcommittee in one of the following areas:

  • Trash clean-up/Beach beautification
  • Event planning/coordination
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Safety and Risk Management
  • Community outreach/relations/marketing
  • Fundraising/Sponsorship
  • Others as interest and need arises

Novice Year Overview

February - March:  Recruitment

The Recruitment Program proceeds on Saturdays in Morro Bay between 8:00 a.m.and 12:00 p.m. Pale Kai’s “Three for Free” policy allows newcomers to experience outrigger paddling in the relatively calm waters of Morro Bay, without paying a fee or membership dues. This is a time to become acquainted with the sport and culture of outrigger canoe racing while making new friends!

April: Race Traning 3x a week

Race training will begin in early April.

Your novice coach will provide the skills training you will need for the upcoming race season. It is important to practice with your team consistently to develop your technique and timing. You will also form new friendships (for no additional fee!).

All paddlers must be proficient swimmers. Before our competitive season begins, you must pass a water safety test that includes huli drills (recovering from an overturned canoe), treading water, as well as a swim test.

May-June: Iron Race Season (6 person crews)

The first official races begin in May. Pale Kai is a member of the Southern California Outrigger Racing Association (SCORA). We compete with other member clubs in SCORA, and our official events take place between San Diego and Santa Barbara. The first five races take place from early May through the end of June. In the novice division, races are approximately 4 to 5 miles and occur in more protected waters than the veteran divisions. Iron races consist of 6 person crews over a set distance, and novice teams may race under men’s, women’s, or co-ed divisions.

View SCORA Race Schedule

The Iron Season concludes with the championships in San Diego. This highly attended event attracts entrants from all over the state and is a fitting tribute to the outrigger culture. For added fun, novice teams are encouraged to enter the Novice Dance Competition to display their grace and creativity, or just poke fun at themselves in a family friendly environment.

August-September: 9-Man Season

Those Novice who develop proficiency may also be invited to compete in the 9-Man Season. There is no guarantee that as a novice you will participate in nine person crews, due to the increased physical demands and technical skill required to safely perform open water crew changes. The 9-man races are much longer distances than the iron season, from 20 miles to over 30 miles. Paddlers must demonstrate the endurance and proficiency during practice to be considered for a 9-man crew.

The race season finishes with the US Outrigger Championships Catalina Crossing where 9 man crews race from Newport to Catalina. Here's the drone footage of the women and coed crews leaving Newport.


September-January:  Winter Paddling

Winter practices will be subject to daylight and weather restrictions and continue at Avila Beach, until the time changes. A few boats will  then be re-located to Morro Bay for more protected paddling. 

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.

Next Level: The World Stage

Outrigger canoe racing takes place all over the world! The Olamau Race sees the best outrigger canoe teams compete off the coast of Hawaii’s Big Island. Ocean knowledge, skill, and perseverance aren’t always enough to succeed, but they can keep you above water. Watch the short below about a Californian team competing in The Olamau Race.


Sign up for the PKO Bulletin to receive important information about programs, events, and races. View the current issue here.