Hawaii Waterman
Hall of Fame

Michael Tong

Michael Tong

Year of Induction:
Polynesian Voyaging
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Michael Tong was passionate about paddling, and we are fortunate that he transferred that passion to generations of paddlers throughout Hawaii. He was an excellent paddler and used his skill to be a teacher, leader, and inspiration to others. His Waikiki Surf Club crew won the Molokai Hoe race three times. He served on Hokulea and treasured the experience. But his greatest contribution to paddling was making it possible for others to embrace this sport that goes to the heart of our islands’ legacy. He stepped forward to lead the Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association, the International Hawaiian Canoe Association, the Polynesian Voyaging Society, and as Race Director of the Molokai Hoe. He started the Ala Wai Challenge Race and ran it for 20 years, providing financial support to the Waikiki Community Center. Michael’s parting words perfectly capture the spirit he brought to paddling and to Hawaii: “Take care of the land, take care of the ocean, take care of one another, and paddle from the heart.”

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