In the beginning...

Rick Nu'u and Don Irvine met in the winter of 1990 in New Zealand. They became good friends and chased each other around the world for years of paddling with and against each other, with mutual admiration. In 2009, Rick, his wife Zoe and their two daughters moved to where Don's family lived, the Comox Valley, on Vancouver Island in Canada.

In 2011, Rick and Don achieved a long time shared dream and established a paddlesport oriented business, which they named Hana Hou Outrigger. It was geared towards the manufacture of wood canoe paddles and providing coaching opportunities in a wide variety of paddlesports. If you look at their fish hook logo, inside the two hooks you can find an 'r' and 'd'.

Rick's wife Zoe was heavily involved in the background of this business, most visually with our website, most effectively with her organizational skill, but most influentially as our sounding board.

In January of 2013 Rick's life ended. The business stopped. Don and Zoe struggled in their own ways to come to terms with this tremendous loss. Time passed. Healing started.

New Beginnings...

On a trip to Maui in 2013, Don met with Mike Giblin, owner of Outrigger Zone (OZone). OZone is a world leader in the design and manufacturing of Outrigger canoes. Mike was a close friend of Rick's, and Rick and Don had always wanted to sell Mike's boats, but prior to 2013 circumstances had not allowed that to happen.

With new opportunities opening up, Don and Zoe agreed to become the Western Canadian distributors for Outrigger Zone, and Hana Hou Paddlesports was created. With the growth of the paddling community in western Canada has come the growth of our business, and in order to keep up and better serve our region, we have taken the step into online sales. Providing personalized service is still our focus, so please don't hesitate to contact us directly!

B. ExPhys

Don Irvine

Don has been involved at a very competitive level as an athlete and coach in paddlesports for over four decades. His current passion is chasing big blue in warm environments, striving to see the water through his old friends' eyes.

Don has competed at the national level in Canada in marathon canoe racing. He has also competed successfully at international levels in whitewater kayaking, sprint kayaking, sprint and long distance outrigger canoeing (OC-1 & OC-6), and dragon boat racing.

Paddling career highlights for Don include competing in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles in sprint kayaking, and winning a silver medal in the 1992 IVF World Outrigger Sprints in the open men's V1 category (for several decades afterwards, if not longer, this was the best ever finish in this division by a non-Tahitian).

He has coached literally hundreds of paddlers in his distinguished career including the first ever Canadian Women's Dragon Boat crew to win the World Dragonboat Championships in Hong Kong.

In 1985, Don co-founded the False Creek Racing Canoe Club in Vancouver, Canada. A coach and mentor to hundreds of paddlers, Don holds a BA in Exercise Physiology from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.

M. Sc.

Zoe Norcross-Nu'u

Zoe has been competing internationally in outrigger canoe and surf ski racing since 1996. Her professional background is in coastal and marine sciences, and she has always enjoyed using physical oceanography concepts to make wave riding more enjoyable.

Zoe Norcross-Nu'u is an accomplished paddler and marine scientist. While pursuing her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Coastal Geology at the University of Hawaii, Zoe began paddling surfski and outrigger canoe.

In 1999, she was a member of the first crew to paddle "iron" from Molokai to Oahu in a 6-person outrigger canoe in nearly 50 years. This crossing also marked the first time that a women's outrigger crew had ever crossed the Kaiwi Channel iron. With three top-five finishes in Na Wahine O Ke Kai, as well as top three finishes in both the Molokai World Championship surfski race and the Molokai to Oahu OC-1 relay, Zoe's real love is for downwind paddling.

After 13 years of living in Hawaii where she paddled, worked in coastal resource management, and taught marine science courses at the University of Hawaii Maui College, Zoe has returned home to coastal British Columbia where she manages her small farm, drives her daughters to lots of dance lessons, works for the regional government in watershed protection, and looks after the behind-the-scenes stuff for Hana Hou Paddlesports.