OC1/V1 Paddler's Guide / Steve West
Includes historical look at the evolution of the OC1, VI and Surf Ski by way of comparison. Paddling techniques of OC1 and V1, steering strokes, rigging issues, canoe types, flat and rough water paddling, downwind paddling, paracanoeing and very much more.
Note from the author.....
As with previous books I have written regarding outrigger canoeing and stand up paddle boarding, I feel it important, if not vital to bring greater understanding to what I am about to set out before you, by going back in history and peeling back some of the layers which will reveal the sport to you in a way you perhaps never thought possible, if not, certainly facts about the crafts origins and evolution which may surprise you.
That being said, the purpose of this is to heighten your experience, deepen your connection to the sport and the craft, whether new to it or perhaps a veteran. This may result in a path of learning which helps assume an upward spiral if interest if you have found yourself on a plateau from where you are finding it hard to move to another level.
This book is very probably over-due by a considerable number of years and in some sense the sport has certainly seen a peak and leveling off over the past ten years or so, but today in 2013, there’s every reason to sense that the sport is once again experiencing a surge of renewed growth as it reaches every newer gene pools far from the sports roots and origins.
The recent expansion of stand up paddle boarding (SUP) which has taken the world by storm since around 2005 and the winning successes of some of outrigger canoeing’s notable current super-stars, who have not so much migrated to SUP as a primary sport, but a secondary sport, where today there is money and opportunity to be had, they have not surprisingly been amongst the earliest and quickest pioneers.
Danny Ching, Travis Grant, Kai Bartlett, Mark Riggs, Aaron Napolean and Georges Cronsteadt, to name but a few. Not unsurprisingly, these paddlers may have paddled with some of the top OC6 and V6 crews that California, Australia, Hawaii and Tahiti has to offer respectively, but most significantly they are all outstanding OC1 paddlers, or V1 paddlers in the case of Cronsteadt.
From this and other factors, rudderless Va`a Hoe (V1) has been jettisoned from being rejected as something of an anachronism and impractical on account of a lack of a rudder system, to that of the ultimate test of the paddler, which if you want to truly earn the respect of the solo outrigger canoeing community, championing and master this craft, over a variety of conditions will bring you kudos within the sport unlike any other facet of participation.
The evolution of the Surf Ski followed it's own natural pathway and to this end I have included content regarding this on account of the fact we can get a clear picture of how the OC1 came into being and how in many ways, though the V1 Tahitian Va`a Hoe was used as a 'template' for development, when push came to shove many Hawaiian evolutionists, borrowed from Surf Ski concepts while at the same time (ironically) being critical of Surf Ski manufacturers who were simply 'bolting' on outrigger assemblies and tweaking their own hull designs.
Like many of my fellow paddling buddies, I have spent the majority of my time paddling OC1’s but over a 15 year period I have dabbled with V1 paddling on account of trips to Tahiti and Fiji and in the process of writing this book here on Leleuvia Island Fiji, I am getting to paddle them on a daily basis and appreciating the joy and the skills associated with ownership. My first experience however was like so many others - frustrating.
In some perverse way, given the choice of paddling the OC1 or the V1, choosing the OC1 seems almost to admit defeat, to take the easy way out, the path of least resistance on any given day. At this juncture, I would have to say they are different sports, each the antithesis of the other to the extent of finding appeal between different peoples for differing reasons.
Ownership of either an OC1 or V1 permits many benefits for the paddler, not least of which the option to train when you want without the need for others in the case of also being part of an OC6 or V6 crew. The benefits are far reaching and both craft have had a significant cross-flow affect into that of team-canoes, both in raising skill levels, fitness and ultimately for the purposes of crew selection, to which coaches will often resort as one of a series of mechanisms.
From OC1’s, OC2’s inevitably evolved as a natural extension of design. The rationale for two-person canoes was to nurture teamwork and to perhaps appeal to couples and families. Not unexpectedly they never proved as popular on account of cost, size and the mere inconvenience of having to paddle with another, but that's not to take anything away from the fun and place they have within the OC family.
When we consider the Kayak and how Europeans in particular have taken this craft and modified it beyond any recognition of it's original purpose to that zenith called 'Olympic Class' in that of the K1, it is now but a mere residue of what it once was, a 'hunter's boat' if we translate from the Inuit meaning.
The V1 is in some sense the 'hunters boat' of the Pacific, accepting Narwhal and Seal were certainly not on the menu. However it differed in being and open-decked craft, paddled with a single blade, suited primarily for flat lagoon-waters and with the obvious inclusion of the outrigger assembly. It was and remains the warm-water equivalent.
But even the V1 underwent significant changes in design and only in very recent times as paddlers ventured beyond the shelter of the reef. In all of the this, both the V1 and OC1 racing craft remain paradoxically utilitarian in still being practical for the purposes of fishing and travelling and whatever negatives may have been lain at the feet of the OC1, it’s evolution has brought about more good than harm to what is after-all a broad and varied spectrum of outrigger canoe craft more especially across the Pacific and Pacific Rim from where both sports are most certainly their birthplace.
This marks my 20th year of writing about this all encompassing sport and I have to say I never grow tired of it. With so much culture and depth associated with it and around it, it's easy to see why the sport in it's varied forms is way beyond a mere physical act, but very much more. I hope you'll appreciate and enjoy this latest offering.Steve West
Kanu Culture, Founder and Editor
AOCRA National Coaching Director [Australia] 2002-2006|
FOCRA Coaching Consultant [Fiji National Squad] 2000 - 2006
ASI CEO Europe Master SUP Coach and Trainer 2010 - 2013
ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS: We've taken environmental factors into consideration in the production of this new book, opting for 'Digital Printing', the future for environmentally conscious book manufacture. This process eliminates the need for lithographic plates and chemical usage and reduces waste disposal. We have also opted to use paper guaranteed to be grown under the guidance of the 'Forestry Stewardship Council' (FSC) who ensure the use of legal, sustainable, plantation timbers. Our chosen printers are at the top of the field in environmentally sound print production.
To look at other books published by Steve, or to purchase the OC1/V1 Paddler's Guide, go to:
Thank you Steve!