Huli and Recovery

Righting an Outrigger Canoe


Always be ready to swim. Do not carry anything in the boat that you are not ready to lose to the water (including wallets jewelry, watches, clothes, cell phones, keys, etc).


Make no mistake about it, at some point in time you will find yourself in the water. Always hold onto your paddle!

Huli recovery (step by step)

Step 1 – Count Heads. Steersperson takes control and has each paddler count off starting with seat #1.  If you come up short, start searching under the wa‘a.

Step 2 – Collect Equipment and Position the Boat. Seats #1 and #6 collect the paddles (and if possible, any items left in the wa‘a and not tied down – i.e. water bottles, bailers, etc.) If there are large swells, they also reposition the boat facing into the swells.

swell direction

Step 3 – Right the Boat. Seats #3 and #4 go to the outer ends of the ‘iakos (on the side opposite the ama) and stand on them while reaching over the hull, grabbing onto the gunnel or ‘iakos, and lifting – make sure no one is in the way of the ama as it is hard and  the skull is soft. Seats #2 and #5 go the ama and help left it up. Once the ama is in the air and as the canoe is righting, seats #3 and #4 use the ‘iakos to ease the ama onto the water, then help make sure it doesn’t go over again. If done quickly enough you can minimize the amount of water that fills the wa‘a.

preparing to flip boat back

Step 4 – Bail. When the canoe is righted, seats 2 and 5 get in and bail (as fast as possible and to the ama side). When enough water has been bailed seats 3 and 4 get in and help bail.


Step 5 – Re-enter and Paddle. When the steersperson tells you to get back into the boat you may do so and begin to paddle.

paddling again

This video explains huli recovery as well as useful tips to avoid a huli: