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Why is Hawaii a Surf Ski heaven for paddlers?

From late May to the end of July, the Easterly trade winds hit Hawaii. This is a consistent wind from the East direction – making Hawaii the best place in the world for catching runners. The specific itinerary for each day depends on the weather, wind and tide, with Coach Luke Horder making plans the day before based upon forecast conditions to maximise your experience.. When the wind blows from the East we are on the 15km Hawaii Kai downwind run, when the wind blows from the N or NE we are on the 12km North Shore run and if the wind blows from the South we have the 12km Lanikai run. 

All levels of paddlers can do these downwind runs, in winds up to 40km/h. If winds are 40-60km/h only experienced paddlers can do the downwind runs, while the others enjoy wave catching at Waikiki beach. Coach Luke Horder runs a very safe ocean plan where paddlers are buddied up and all paddlers have VHF radio for communication out on the water. Regardless of what you choose to do there is endless amounts of wave catching and catching runners for the whole week. 

For wave catching, we start you on the smaller Sheraton Wave, a small 2ft wave that runs for 600m out the front of the Sheraton resort Waikiki. Then you build to the 800m wave outside the Outrigger Canoe Club which stands up a bit more. If you get game enough, the biggest and longest wave is the China Wall wave at Hawaii Kai, swell needs to be 2m plus for that wave to work. Coach Luke Horder is there to show you where to paddle out, where to catch the wave, what line to hold when on the wave and when to pull off.

Hawaii is surf ski heaven, beautiful blue Hawaiian water, the sunny weather, and the turtles each day, is the icing on the cake.

Come join us in the beautiful location and experience it all first hand.






The 2025 Hawaii/Gorge paddle trip dates to be confirmed, we are waiting on the release of the 2025 Gorge Champ dates. At this stage we believe the trip could likely run - July 2nd - 13th 2025. 



You need to arrange your own accommodation. or are great resources to check out accommodation options.

Waikiki Beach has a fairly small footprint. We paddle each day from the Outrigger Canoe Club (2909 Kalakaua Avenue) and most of the restaurants we go to at night are near the Sheraton Hotel.  These two points are 2km apart – which is an easy walk or uber / bus ride.

If you prefer to stay in the middle of the shops and restaurant area, The Sheraton or The Halepuna Hotel are options used on prior trips. To be close to the Outrigger Canoe Club, the Lotus Hotel is closest, or select a mid-point location like the Aston Waikiki Beach.


(excluding airfares, accommodation and food/beverages)

Epic Surf Ski 7-day hire and storage at Outrigger Canoe Club

All downwind logistics

  • Includes transport for you and your surf ski to the start/finish of every paddle location, includes 1x 15-seater van hire, 1 x 6-seater vehicle, plus a 19 rack surf ski trailer, hotel vehicle parking/trailer parking, exchange rate, expert daily Coaching from Luke Horder.






Other Paddling related costs you will incur as the trip occurs:

Outrigger Canoe Club 7-day membership: ~$125USD

Apart from the waves, the Outrigger Canoe Club café, bar, restaurant is the highlight of the trip. This exclusive club is where we store our surf skis, there is access to a locker for the week (at an additional cost ~$8USD per day + taxes) with hot showers and towels after every paddle. This place is where we hang out after paddles with long lunches and evening dinners in the fancy restaurant overlooking the beautiful Waikiki.

Everything you spend at the OCC will go on your member account, with an invoice sent at the end of the month – no cash payments on the way through. 


2025 Gorge Champs 
July 7th - 13th 2025 - TBC

Wind versus tide creates perfect wave catching moments

Monday 7th July

Morning and afternoon downwind paddle on the Hood River

Tuesday 8th  
 Morning and afternoon downwind paddle on the Hood River

Wednesday 9th  
 Rest day to enjoy the local wineries 

Thursday 10th    
Morning and afternoon downwind paddle on the Hood River

Friday 11th  
 Morning downwind paddle on the Hood River

Saturday 12th  
 Gorge Champs 20km race event 


Sunday 13th


Check out 

From Hawaii fly into Portland Oregon for check July 6th 2025. Check out July 13th 2025 to fly home to Sydney. 

Room Options
6 nights - Standard sub-basement level with 2 Queen beds 2 adults - $260 p/n
6 nights - Standard 2ND & 3rd   level with 2 Queen beds- 2 adults - $280 p/n
6 nights - Riverview rooms with 2 Queen beds- 2 adults - $300 p/n
(All prices are AUD and are per night prices).

7-day Epic Surf Ski Hire $1400 AUD (please email us preferred surf ski type)

Gorge Champs Race Entry Fee $250 AUD (this includes daily downwind drop-offs up the Hood River)

7-day Van Hire (This is our daily vehicle to get from the hotel to the paddling locations) plus all SHSC admin, daily logistics and coaching by Luke Horder total $450 AUD


Best Western Hood River 

The crew will enjoy a day at the wineries of Portland, Oregon 


General Trip Logistics

What gear will I need?

We will provide you with a detailed recommended packing list of things to take closer to the time.

As an overview, you will require:

  • normal paddling gear
  • your paddle
  • leg leash (take spares, every year several leg leashes break),
  • your phone case for safe storage, for SafeTrx + the all important photo taking
  • VHF waterproof radio
  • 2 x roof rack straps
  • PFD – these are optional in Hawaii but are highly recommended for attaching your VHF radio, and for Molokai relay teams are useful for rely team change overs.
  • It’s highly recommended that everyone wears a bright orange paddling top, and a bright orange cap or visor for the whole week in Hawaii. Hi-Vis orange is the most visible colour out in the ocean and makes it easier to spot each other. 
  • Your caps, sunglasses, and GoPro will all need ties (Luke lost 2 Go Pros and 1 pair sunnies last year).


How do I get my paddle to America?

Paddles go as oversize luggage, and you will need to purchase an extra bag for this.  Either a purpose built paddle bag with padding to protect your paddle or simply tape it in bubble wrap. Vaikobi make a paddle travel bag that has compartments to take your paddle and then pack your paddling clothes around your paddles to protect them (check out our SHSC shop for this item

What ski should I use?

Stability is the key to great downwind paddling.  When you’re down winding, stability gives you confidence to attack the swell.  Don’t get sucked into thinking you need a slick skinny ski to go quick, “It ain’t true!”, it’s V8, V8 Pro, V9’s all the way, unless you’ve done Hawaii before.

The simple answer is, call Luke, let Luke decide what ski you use and don’t try to convince him otherwise 😁





Other FAQs 

What’s the deal on the skis?

Luke arranges a near new Epic surf ski for you in Hawaii and Portland, Oregon with the Epic Surf Ski Company. The surf ski you rent is your responsibility – and you sign a waiver. There is no insurance.  Luke will show you each day how to Load, unload and strap your own ski down each day. Please bring 2 x roof rack straps with you in your luggage.

Where are our skis stored?

The Outrigger Canoe Club (OCC) is home base in Hawaii– you will have guest membership for the duration, and it’s where we wash & store our surf skis. For the Gorge Champs there will be a gated area with security for overnight storage. 

What’s the OCC?

The Outrigger Canoe Club (OCC) is brilliant.  And Exclusive. Enjoy the happy hour (from 5pm) sipping a beer or cocktail while the beautiful Hawaiian sun sets. The OCC is an exclusive country club, set on a private beach. We will be spending a lot of time at the OCC, and utilising their change rooms (showers, towels, lockers) as well as their café, bar and restaurant.

Is there anything different about paddling in Hawaii?

Yes, the waves are very gentle, and so are the ocean runs when compared to Sydney. The icing on the cake…it’s like a surging wave, not a dumping wave as you find in Sydney. And so blue and clear, with waves that go and go forever.  Luke will show you areas where you have the whole place to yourself to ride the wave all the way to the beach (600 – 1000m). Note: as Luke takes you to the bigger wave spots, there will be reefs to avoid and Luke will show you the perfect line.

What is the famous Hawaii Kai Run?

This run is arguebly the best downwind run in the world, Luke named his son “Kai” after this run. Hawaii Kai is a 20-minute drive from Waikiki. Luke sorts the daily logistics to get you and your surf ski there.

For this run, you launch into the water, paddle out to China Wall, then turn right and downwind to Diamond Head, where you turn right and finish at the Outrigger Canoe Club (OCC). Out the front of OCC is where we do a lot of wave catching. Luke will show you how to catch waves, keep the surf ski straight, stay in front of the whitewash and stay on the right line. The smaller waves to get you started are the waves out the front of the Sheraton Hotel,

What are the normal Daily Logistics?

Luke’s Team organises trailers, vans, drivers, downwind drop offs, dinner locations – all the logistics. You name it, Luke has it sorted and he will communicate with you each day on the trip via the WhatsApp chat, outlining each day’s meeting time and place.

Luke is constantly looking at the swell, wind and tide to put you in the best spot at the right time, this is why you progress so dramatically as a paddler in just 7 days.

But it is dependent upon the weather, so we control what we can to. Come prepared to paddle each day and take the opportunities that present themselves.

Our Team Culture

Traveling as a team is a lot of fun, every day is like a fun school excursion and new friendships are formed. We have team shirts to wear - rock them and wear them with pride.

Long Lunches, plus restaurants every night, means a lot of great food and wine in excellent company (rest assured, not all talk is around paddling). The best part - all the paddling means you come home lighter (kg). Maybe not your luggage, as there will also be time to hit the shops. 

Will there be time to sightsee?

During the paddle trip, each day’s paddling is optional, so if you prefer to sightsee rather than paddle, then let Luke know at least the day before so that he can adjust arrangements. Remember though, you are there to experience the amazing downwind opportunities, so make sure you take advantage of all the opportunities and perhaps tack on sightseeing time before / after the trip

Got more questions?

Reach out to Luke Horder 0405 444 311. 


Hawaii 2022 Paddle trip –