Founder and First President
Outrigger Canoe Club
New York Playwright & Publicist
This man, so fondly remembered by Mrs E. Fullard-Leo, came to Honolulu early in the new 20th century. He was born in South Carolina from a prominent family dating back to the signers of the US Constitution. His parents died at an early age and he was raised by a maiden aunt. Due to the Civil War, his family and its prosperity were declining and there remained not much to keep to keep him in the South. Upon migrating to New York, he took up a career in writing for leading magazines of the day such as Harpers, Engineering and Century which led to playwriting several stage plays.
His writing and personality led him to make various globe-circling trips. On one he crossed the Middle East, Russia, Siberia and ultimately Hawaii which became a life changing event. "Surfboard Riding" was already gaining popularity, as was Waikiki with all of which he fell in love.
Pioneering Promoter with Beach Leaders
By 1907 we find him settling down in his new love, Waikiki, making friends with historic surfers, best-selling authors and leading citizens alike. Noteworthy of the many were George Freeth the very early Austrailian surfer and Jack London the author then world famous for 1903 Call of the Wild etc selling in the millions, in 40 languages all over the world. Freeth taught Ford and London to surf. Both Jack London and Hume Ford then spread the word, world wide about Waikiki. At this time a delegation of 28 US congressmen decended on Hawaii. Ford lobbied them which may have hastened recognition at the Federal level of the Territory of Hawaii.
Ford Writing The First Outrigger Canoe Club
On to Hawaii Leaders
Ford Finds Formidable Friends
In addition to writing and surfing, Ford was organizing support for a number of worthy causes. Newspapers of the time humorized that "he is forming a club a month". His most famous and successful club was, of course, The Outrigger Canoe and Surfboard Club as it was originally named.
Ford consulted with Burton Holmes, noted film maker and travel writer of the day, explored the beachfront for property, drew up artistic renderings and met with Honolulu "movers" of the day. He finally settled on a piece of property near the 6-year old Moana Hotel owned by the Queen Emma estate. Part of the lease agreement was that the land must always be used for watersports.
A key speech was made to the Commercial Club on March 18, 1908. The Outrigger Canoe Club was then formally organized on May 1st 1908 with 86 adults and 15 junior members. Charter members included of leaders of families still prominent: Lorrin Thurston and Ella Wilcox.
Lorrin Thurston Ella Wilcox
So this mix of writers, politicians and surfers met, talked, swam and surfed, got sun burned and started writing aricles and legislation. First and foremost were Ford's promotional writing of Waikiki and its watersports in the top magazines of the day, Woman's Home Companion, Colliers and the British Pall Mall. London's world fame and Hawaiian publicity added fuel to the fire.
Jack London George Freeth
Ford's Outrigger Lives On
The Outrigger was an instant success. By 1915 the Club had 1200 members and 200 on the waiting list. Duke Kahanamoku, joined the Outrigger in 1918. Other watersports clubs in those early days were the Hui Nalu and the Waikiki Swimming Club of which Duke was Captain.
Middle Era Outrigger Canoe Clubs
Waikiki Roughwater & Club Tie In's:
In 1971 Ford's, by now world famous and even more prestegious Outrigger Canoe Club, anonymously contributed substantial start-up funds to the Waikiki Roughwater Swim for the trophys which were silver in the early days. In addtion, OCC manned a fleet of canoes for life saving and race control, thus keeping true to its pledge to be perpetually dedicated to Waikiki watersports.
Enter, The Duke
Our ultimate patron saint, Duke Kahanamoku, joins the OCC in 1918 while continuing as Captain in his other clubs...Hui Nalu and Waikiki Swimming Club. This later club morphed into the Waikiki Surf Club and finally disappeared in the 1980's.
The Waikiki Swimming Club
The Waikiki Swim Club founder, who on his boat was a neighbor of Duke's boat "Nadu" in the Ala Wai, enjoyed talking to Hawaii's Greatest Swimmer. This led to founding a club to promote ocean swimming and supporting the annual Roughwater. The club was christened the Waikiki Swim Club making a slim link with Duke's historic first Waikiki Swimming Club.