San Francisco Outrigger Canoe Club (SFOCC) is a competitive Hawaiian outrigger Canoe Center that races in long distance and sprint races from April until late September. Long distance races range from 3 to 32 miles and sprints are 500 to 2000 meters. Crews of 6 generally practice at least two week nights and one weekend day per week. Races are most Saturdays during the race season and are located from Sacramento to Monterey with a few in Southern California.
SFOCC typically trains crews each year for Hawaii and international competition at such races as the Molokai Channel and the IVF World Sprint Titles. Local races are many times geared towards preparedness for international competition.
Long distance races of 8 to 14 miles (3 to 5 miles for Novice) in the early part of the season run from early May until early June and are not mandatory due to the amount of physical preparation necessary. There are, however, novice courses at these races that are a fun way to start the season.
The sprint season from early June to mid-August pits crews of equivalent ages and experience levels against each other in races of 500 to 2000 meters. Crews formed for sprints tend to practice and race together and crew-members are encouraged to attend all sprints. Sprint regattas are all-day events.
From mid-August until late September we compete in more long distance races, some as long as 41 miles. A few of these races are “change races” where a team of 9 changes in and out of the canoe during the race. Again, these races are not mandatory, but lots of fun and very rewarding.
The center’s goals are to be competitive in all races we enter, build a close-knit group that has fun together, and to perpetuate the art, sport and culture of Polynesia.
Dues are $150 per year for adults and $65 for children under 18 with a one time initiation fee of $25. Dues are due on April 1 for the upcoming season and the initiation fee should be paid as soon as the paddler decides to join. We welcome you to try paddling a few times before deciding to become a member.
Sprint fees may be paid as the races progress. There are 3 sprint regattas ($6 per entry per division) culminating in Championships each season and most paddlers enter two divisions per day. Long distance race fees are generally $25 each and should be paid on race day.
SFOCC owns its own canoes and has plenty of paddles to lend so there is no equipment to buy. Our life jackets are always carried onboard when practicing and racing. All you really need are some comfortable athletic clothes and shoes or sandals that can get wet and sandy. A team uniform is issued the first year when dues are paid in full.
Most races are one-day events but they generally take the whole day. Paddlers are responsible for their own travel arrangements and expenses and often car pool to races. Some make a weekend out of it and stay overnight in places such as Monterey, Sacramento, and Santa Barbara. Don’t let all the traveling scare you though, there’s plenty of paddling to be done close to home.
This sounds like a busy schedule, and we’ll admit that it is. But it’s a great sport, a good workout and a friendly group and we find that once people fall in love with paddling, they just kind of slip into the routine.
Come on out to a practice or two and decide if this growing sport is for you. We hope you’ll love it as much as we do!