The improvement to a road project in West Hawai‘i was catalyst to revival of outrigger canoe racing in Hawai‘i. The Territorial government sought to improve the 39-mile Waimea to Kona roadway in the 1930s. EE Black, a contractor, built the road from Kailua-Kona to Waimea. He used the first bulldozer in the history of the Islands to do so. It opened July 22, 1933. Having just finished the road, Black approached Outrigger Canoe Club President Lorrin Thurston and asked what he could do to show his appreciation to his employees and the people of Kona for their patience during the road work.
“(Thurston) suggested perhaps we should have the rebirth of the canoe races and (Black) put up $3,000”. “They organized canoe crews from Kailua, Honaunau and Miloli‘i to compete against crews from O‘ahu: Hui Nalu, Outrigger and Queen’s Surf.” “The Inter Island Steamship Company ran a special excursion of the Waialeale for spectators to view the races.” “There were five races and Outrigger won three. The crews raced in Napo‘opo‘o. This was the first race that featured canoe racing only.” It was also the start of modern canoe racing for Outrigger women.