Train Smarter, Not Harder: Clinics with Johnny Puakea

OC1 and OC6 Clinics

Looking to improve your technique? Or improve your performance in your Puakea OC-1 or Unlimited canoe? Want to learn to train smarter, not harder?

Puakea clinics are a combination of dry-land and on-water work that will cover the key bio-mechanics to set you up for successful and injury free paddling, including a detailed analysis and correction of all aspects of your stroke.

What is included in each clinic:
– Stroke Mechanics: New facts vs. old theories
– Teamwork and the importance of synergy in the canoe, how to think and have both
– Training methods and styles for long-term goals
– How to make the best of your equipment
– Basic nutrition and exercises to improve performance

Cost (Updated for Spring 2017):
– Clinic with Johnny Puakea (limited availability): $95 per person
– Clinic with a Puakea Accredited Coach: $65 per person

On land and on water coaching. You choose the focus: Team OC6 training or group OC1 training.
Each clinic should be around 4 hours depending on number of people. 12-18 people makes for a great OC6 clinic. 6-12 people makes for a great OC1 clinic. Anything above these numbers will result in longer clinic time and less time/attention spent with each paddler.

  • We will begin on land with a general overview and base for the techniques, key fundamentals and training methods.
  • With detailed video analysis from the on water session, you will receive an individual stroke prescription for you to take home and work on.
  • Access to a launch, chase boat, dock or open beach is necessary to get video of each canoe/paddler and to offer some general on water coaching.
  • An area to review video after the on water session with each paddler is preferable. We work with what each club has to offer. Whether it is a small tent with a table and chairs on the beach, a clubhouse or a local cafe in your marina, we make it work!
  • If you are hosting a Puakea clinic, it is beneficial to have canoes ready to paddle before clinic start time as to not take time away from paddlers during clinic. I would also be very beneficial to collect payment before hand (if possible) as this can take away valuable time at the start of the clinic.
  • Remind participating paddlers to bring a towel, sunscreen, hat, snacks, water and a change of clothes for after the on water session. Be ready to paddle! 


Photo Credit: RJ DeRama

About Johnny Puakea

Designer. Coach. Paddler.

John Puakea is the founder of Puakea Designs, an innovative paddlesport design company that delivers products and services to elite-level as well as recreation paddlers. Puakea Designs team riders include world-champion paddlers Danny Ching, Jimmy Austin, and Lauren Spalding.

John is an internationally sought after canoe builder as well as a championship- winning paddling coach, whose career as a canoeing innovator and promoter has evolved with the expanding paddling sports market.

Over years of coaching, John’s own experience as an elite paddler, combined with his talent for refining technique and efficiency, have nurtured the best assets of other paddlers at the highest level of competition. After coaching the US National Kayak Team at various Olympic training centers, homesick, John moved back to Hawaii to coach various top outrigger canoe teams, including both the men’s and the women’s team for the winning Outrigger Canoe Club in Waikiki for six years.

As an exceptional technical coach, John has helped push world-class paddlers to the next level in international competition. His ability to improve the performance of already-elite paddlers also led Team Bradley to consecutive first-place finishes in the Molokai-to-Oahu Na Wahine O Ke Kai, and to the fastest crossing time by any women’s team in the history of the race.

John’s knowledge of body mechanics complements his strengths in canoe building. His top-performing designs include the Kaimana, the Kainalu, the Pueo 1—and the new superstar, the Ehukai—OC1 canoes. New in production is his very fast unlimited-class OC6 canoe, owned by various West Coast mainland and international teams in anticipation of top times in this new ultralight division. Top Tahitian team Shell Va’a chose John’s OC6 for the grueling Olamau Race 2013, and won in all three stages.

John’s inherent craftsmanship and design finesse come from an early indoctrination into canoe culture by his father, Bobby Puakea, beloved coach, renowned wooden- canoe builder, and Puakea Foundation of Hawaii founder. While traditional sensibilities and a duty to cultural stewardship inspire John’s designs, speed considerations drive the end product. John’s elegantly styled canoes are among the fastest and race-proven on the water anywhere in the world.

For the wider paddling community, John is continuing to advance paddling performance with this new line of products, including outrigger and SUP paddles, applying the same technical and aesthetic standards used in his OC1s and OC6s. Additionally, John is available for coaches’ clinics, team clinics, as well as for private coaching.


Contact us if you are interested in having Johnny come do a clinic at your club!