E Ala ("Awake!") is a replica of an ancient Polynesian double-hulled salling canoe built and launched in 1980 at Poka‘i Bay to revive the art of canoe-building on the Wai‘anae Coast. The project was initiated and carried out by the Wai‘anae Hawaiian Civic Club, Solomon Naone, Peter Apo, Eric Enos, Fred Cachola, Phillip Naone, and Wallace Froiseth. Na Kahuna Kalai Wa‘a (master canoe builders) Phillip Naone, Wallace Froiseth, Wendell Kahale-o-umi, Eric Enos, and many others contributed their time and resources to building the canoe.
The project was an awakening for the people of the Wai‘anae Coast, a revitalization of the maritime traditions that once belonged to the Hawaiian people. In addition to building a canoe, the people of Waiçanae restored the ancient navigation heiau Ku‘ilioloa at Poka‘iî Bay and developed a maritime curriculum in local schools. The programs reinforced the ancient concept of unity between land and sea, a cornerstone of the Hawaiian cultural heritage.
The two hulls are made of fiber glass; the other parts of the canoe are made of wood – koa, milo, ohia, and spruce. Each hull is 42 feet long, 38 inches deep, and 26 feet wide. The double-hulled canoe was originally just six feet wide at the beam; it was widened to 14 feet in 1992 to make it a more stable platform for student use.
Since the 1990’s, E Ala has been used in educational programs to teach students the arts of sailing and navigation.