Kahekai vs Ehukai - Puakea's New OC1

May 27, 2016 Cali Paddler

Kahekai vs. Ehukai Puakea Designs OC1By now, you have probably seen the awesome video interview with John Puakea and that discusses his new OC1 design, the Kahekai. If you haven't, you can see it here:

We were pretty excited about this new canoe, especially since the Ehukai has become such a popular choice for OC1 paddlers in California. How did this new canoe differ? How was it the same? Who would benefit from the changes? Why did he change some things?

But ultimately it came down to this: Which is faster? Which will let me paddle farther. And which will help me have more fun on the water?

So we watched the video, and loved all the answers it gave. We did a little summary below of some of what we learned from the video and after reaching out to the local Puakea Designs team in California, to see how it is different.

Goals and accomplishes with this new canoe design:

  • Catch bumps earlier.
  • Carry longer on a wave.
  • Be dryer in surf.
  • Hops over and through bumps better
  • The nose of this boat won't dip as much for bigger paddlers, and in downwind runs.

The ideal weight range for this new canoe will be 140-145 and up to 230+.

To accomplish the goals above the following tweaks were made:

  • 1/4" wider in hull to get more flotation for bigger paddlers, and help give more speed in the top end.
  • The seat is dropped 1/4" lower to aid in stability for lower center of gravity.
  • Footwells are narrower, and dropped lower, for added stability.
  • Gunwales/Rails on the cockpit are higher from front iako to mid seat, to assist in keeping water out of the cockpit.
  • Front bow is 3/4" taller to help reduce the nose dipping in surf and keep it from pearling.
  • Rocker in the tail of the canoe was reduced to allow for more catch-ability and stay in bumps and made slightly wider ("1/4").
  • Rudder was moved up 3", which should keep it locked in to the water more for added control.

These characteristics remained pretty much the same as the Ehukai:

  • Volume in the bottom
  • Seat placement.
  • Ama has not undergone any known changes and maintains its trim.
  • Maintains its very responsive feel when you start paddling.

Will there be different versions?

  • Standard Lay-up $4300.00 (includes bag and multiple color options)
  • Ultralight Pro Model 16lb $5000.00 (will include heavier duty bag, fancier paintjobs, various rudders)

So when do these canoes hit California and how do you get one?

According to Maddie Spoto the SoCal Puakea Rep, "we will have demo canoes coming our early July shipment and stock boats for sale in our mid-late August shipment. If you want to order a Pro model Kahe Kai or get custom colors, we are stating to collect those orders now for a Winter 2016 shipment."

If demand for the Ehukai was any indication, we are sure there will be pretty high demand. Therefore, we suggest visiting the for info and of course reaching out to the California Reps (NorCal: Charlie Banfield. SoCal: Maddie Spoto) who are known for answering all your questions, getting you on demos, and working out delivery/pickup options to locations nearby.


So, we are excited to see this canoe on our waters. And are sure you are too. Any feedback or questions, let us know in the comments below and we will do our best to ask the Puakea team!


Related Articles:

Paddle products you might like...

Older Post: "" "SoCal Winter Series Preview - Santa Barbara Return to the Pier Race" Newer Post



    Oct 09, 2018

    im from new zealand i like what i see in your waka the kaheki wht would the price be to buy in new zealand money for oc1

  • Jocko

    Jul 23, 2018

    I’ve owned my Kahe Kai since January 2018 here in Santa Cruz. I love the boat. I’m 195lbs and it feels like it could carry much more weight with no problem. I haven’t found any drawbacks. (It should be noted that I came from an OC6 background and so this was my first OC1) Great company support.

  • Cali Padddler

    Mar 12, 2018

    Gary Hernandez, between these two, we would lean towards the Kahekai based on your weight and height. If you are open to other canoe makers, the Antares and Scorpius XM (not as new but solid) by Kai Wa’a and the Pueo X by Kamanu Composites would all be worth trying as well. That said the water types you are going to be in might be a factor too.

    We feel comfort in the canoe is a big factor so make sure you get a chance to demo the ones you are looking at. We don’t paddle well when we are uncomfortable and any speed gains ore offset by misery. :)

  • Gary Hernandez

    Feb 25, 2018

    I weigh 235… 6-0… Need my first oc1, want stable/smooth over speed
    Any suggestions on where to start?

  • Cali Paddler

    Aug 23, 2017

    Thanks for your comment.It is our understanding the Kahekai somes from OZONE which manufactures it in China.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published


Companies that 'get it'!
2018 XTERRA SUP Among the Trees

Advertise with us! Learn more here.

Paddle Race Event Calendar

View Paddle Events Calendar