Outrigger canoe paddling has its origins in the development and spread of the coastal culture of the Pacific rim region abut 30,000 years ago, with canoes playing an integral role in the survival and transmigration of ancient cultures. It was many thousands of years before outrigger canoe racing became a competitive sport and maritime advancement saw the canoe evolve to the sleek racing boats of today. The first canoe race, initially for men, was in the Hawaiian Islands in Waikiki in 1917.
Outrigger canoe racing is a relatively young sport in Australia. Seventy years after Hawaii's first Outrigger Canoe Club was formed, the first club in Australia was formed in 1978 on the Gold Coast while the first club in Sydney was formed in 1989, the year the first Australian Championships were held.