Vandals tag club canoes in 'attack on Hawaiian culture' - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Vandals tag club canoes in 'attack on Hawaiian culture'

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Waikiki Surf Club locks up its racing boats in a secure structure, but its practice canoes are kept out in the open.  

Sometime after practice Friday someone scrawled graffiti over all six of the club's canoes that sit unguarded on the banks of the Ala Wai Canal.

"This is the first time that it is been so many at once," club board member Ian Custino said.

He's fed up with the canoe crimes.

"Equipment has been damaged repeatedly. Of course there's the emotional and cultural aspect having to explain to the keiki how other people could disrespect something like a waa that they consider part of their family," he said.

Waikiki Surf Club has been targeted before. The tagging is the third incident in the past couple of years.

"We've had ropes cut.  We have had to replace those. We've had people carve their names on the boat. We have had people drag canoes in the water," board member Konia Freitas said.

A quarter mile down the Ala Wai the same signature on the canoes turned up on poles along the parking lot. The graffiti is just the latest crime against some of the canoe clubs that share space on the waterway.

Hui Lanakila Canoe Club coach Henry Kruse said the crimes are becoming more frequent. A couple of months ago vandals put one of the club's racing canoes out of commission. It's still grounded.

"This is one of the seats that was stepped on," he said, peeling back a makeshift cushion from the fiberglass seat. 

"What it did was it shattered the whole center of the seat," he said.

The club has spent more then $900 fixing sections of canoes that were cracked or smashed. 

"The repairs are really costly, especially if they really damage the outrigger or the ama. That's a lot of money," Kruse said.

Waikiki Surf Club hopes the graffiti can be removed easily, without having to sand and refinish the canoes.

"As a paddler, as a member you feel violated like our stuff is not sacred or being protected," Custino said.

Waikiki Surf Club reported the tagging incident to police.

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