Nick Beck was born on Kaua‘i, educated at USC and U of H and made his living teaching elementary through college students and finally settled down to be principal of the Hanalei Elementary School.
He has been involved in community programming for youth, trying to slow development of Hanalei and Kaua‘i, and cofounded the Hanalei Hawaiian Civic Canoe Club and the Hawaiian Sailing Canoe Association.
Nick has traveled extensively throughout the Pacific basin pursuing surfing and outrigger paddling, and throughout Africa on humanitarian missions. His overriding passion is building outrigger sailing canoes capable of handling extremely difficult interisland travels, yet are easy to launch, sail and surf.
Nick has four kids and six grandchildren all of whom love the ocean.
Nick Beck has always loved Hawaiian outrigger canoes.
He has paddled and coached on Oahu for the Outrigger Canoe Club and the Waikiki Surf Club and on Kauai for the Kauai Canoe Club in Niumalu. He was one of the founders and the coach for many years of the Hanalei Hawaiian Civic Canoe Club in beautiful Hanalei, Kauai.
Nick has been studying, repairing and building canoes since the early 1960’s. After spending a summer in Tahiti he returned and built his Hawaiian six man racing outrigger canoe “Waoli” (meaning “singing water”) made from an Albezzia tree, a species of accacia introduced to the islands years ago. This canoe was famous for its beauty, speed and surfing performance.
Unfortunately, inspite of the fact that the canoe was made in the traditional ways from a tree growing on Kauai where "koa" trees no longer thrive this canoe was not "sanctioned" by the Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association since it was not made of the native koa wood. However, it was raced very successfully until it was destroyed in 1992 when Hurricane Iniki devastated Kauai.
As the "Holopuni" voyage was being planned Nick was researching what the Hawaiian Islands were like as far back as he could get written records. The prime motive of this trip was to explore, photograph, record, document and experience what remained of "old Hawaii" in the existing isolated areas of this state.
Hawaii as a state ranks 46th in total land area, yet it ranks 4th among all states when considering it's general coastline distance. The tidal shoreline of the state of Hawaii extends some 1,052 miles. The major islands are also separated by some of the roughest channels in the world.
Samuel Kamakau, a noted Hawaiian historian, included a great deal about travel in his accounts of old Hawaii. In doing so he consistently pointed out that the best means of travel was by sea in an outrigger canoe.
So, Nick decided that if his journey was to take him into Hawaii's past, then it would be the inaccessible coastlines he must explore. Along his route would be no stoplights, road side stands, or even trail markers. Yet, he would be on perhaps the most well traveled route of the ancient Hawaiians.
If he would follow the coastline and cross the channels by sea in search of Hawaii's past then his time capsule must be an outrigger canoe.