Welcome / Join

Welcome to the Cayuga Outrigger Canoe Club

Our club paddles six-person outrigger canoes (wa’a) as the seasonal weather permits, usually from April through October, but earlier and later in the year occasionally. We are a growing club that encourages people of all skill levels to participate in a unique and enjoyable activity. As a sport, outrigger canoe promotes physical exercise, develops individual paddling ability, and builds teamwork. As an experience, outrigger canoe also encourages paddlers to appreciate their natural environment, from scenic vista and views to the water and wind, whose feel and force change with the weather and seasons, to the life and objects that exist in the conditions they set.

We launch from the Merrill Family Sailing Center on East Shore Drive in Ithaca. Our regular paddles are on Tuesday and Friday evenings and Sunday mornings. We also have a more intense training practice on Thursday evenings for experienced paddlers and members training for races. Posted times are when the boats are on the water; we ask paddlers to show up fifteen minutes earlier to get ready and help put the boats in the water. If you are new to the club, we also ask that you show up earlier to fill out necessary paperwork and become familiar with the practice.

Membership and cost

For visitors and potential new members, your first three practices are free; you have the opportunity to try paddling outrigger canoes as well as enjoying Cayuga Lake from a different vantage point. After your third practice, we ask you to pay $5 for each practice you attend; however, we also suggest that you join the club for the season. Any per practice fees you pay will count toward your club dues, so if you paddle regularly, it’s well worth joining for the season – also, for those interested in racing, we require race team members to be club members. Your fees give you access to the canoes, club paddles, PFDs, and awesome people. The club also pays ECORA (East Coast Outrigger Racing Association) fees for all members who participate in competitive races.

Our membership dues are:

Full Season (Jan. 1 – Dec.31):$125
Half Season (Jan. 1 – July 14): $75
Half Season (July 15 – Dec. 31): $75
Student Rate:$50

Accommodations/reduced fees for those less able to afford them are available upon request (ask a board member for details)

Becoming a member

Practice essentials

Bring a change of clothes and towel in case you are cold after practice, or in case we huli (flip the canoe). There are showers and restrooms at the Merrill Sailing Center, but the building is not always open.  Please remember that paddling is a water sport and that you can expect to get wet, so plan accordingly. While cotton clothing is fine in the summer, we do not allow it on the boat in cold weather.

PaddleWe have club paddles for new paddlers.
PFDsPersonal flotation devices (PFDs) are available to all club paddlers. New York State requires PFDs to be worn between Nov. 1 and May 1. We require paddlers who are uncomfortable swimming to wear PFDS. Inflatable waist-pack PFDs are recommended, which many paddlers choose to purchase and wear when its warmer.
HydrationWater bottles can be disruptive when rolling on the floor in the boat. We recommend using a water bottle clip or a hydration method that doesn’t disrupt the flow of the canoe – some paddlers use a Camelbak or similar hydration pack.
FoodNutrition and healthy glycemic levels are important. Whether on long distance paddles or sprint work, make sure you have a couple Gus or Power Gells with you. You may even want to carry an extra Power Bar in your hydration pack.
Hat and sunscreenBe sun safe.
ShortsBoard shorts or swim shorts dry fairly quickly. Some of us wear paddling specific shorts.
ShirtsWe highly recommend technical fabrics that keep you warm when it’s cold and cooler when it’s warm. We have team shirts that are usually ordered once or twice a year. Layers that can be removed are helpful if we start practice on a cool morning.
ShoesWhile walking the canoes into the water, your feet will be submerged and the rocks can be slippery, so wear something protective that will not get ruined. You can paddle barefoot, as it allows you to “feel” the boat with your feet, or wear booties or water socks. Flip flops make it difficult when moving the boat in and out of the water.
Paddling GlovesThis is a personal preference.  Some of us use them and some do not.