In 1902, Queen Lili‘uokalani’s cousin Prince Kuhio commissioned Henry Weeks, a noted Kona furniture maker and canoe builder, to build the fastest racing canoe in the islands, christened the A‘a. According to the late Tommy Holmes in his classic book, The Hawaiian Canoe, the A‘a, “captured wins for its Hawaiian crew in legendary series of races in 1906, 1907, 1908, and 1910.” Hawaii’s first racing canoe weighed in at a hefty 620-pounds and was progressive for its day. Before the A‘a revolutionized racing, ordinary fishing canoes that served a more practical dual purpose were used. Hawaiians built their outrigger canoes from one-piece carved out hardwood hulls made from native koa. Koa can reach heights of 100 feet and is recognized as one of the finest textured woods in the world.  By the 1930s, traditional Hawaiian koa canoes being constructed exclusively for racing were most likely built in South Kona. These Hawaiian racing canoes constructed between 1940 and 1977 are considered by many to be decedents of the Malia-type Kona canoe, the early 1930 design. By 1977, Tahitian-style designs started showing up on the starting line. More recently, technology has moved outrigger canoe racing towards lighter weight designs.