2015: Ska’ana

Inspired by its dominance in the waters of the Pacific Northwest, the 2014-2015 canoe team decided to focus on the orca whale as the theme of their canoe.

The canoe’s name, Ska’ana, is the word for orca in the language of the indigenous Haida people. The Haida legend of the origin of the orca tells of a man who raises two wolf pups he finds on a beach. Once grown, the wolves swim into the ocean daily to hunt whales for food. Each day the wolves would hunt, accumulating far too much food. The Great Above Person saw this wastefulness and punished the wolves by creating a fog while they were hunting at sea, rendering them unable to hunt or return to the shore. These wolves remained at sea, transforming into the orca whales of today. As such, the Haida people refer to orca whales as “ska’ana,” or supernatural spirit.

The canoe features a wolf in the fog on one side and an orca in the waves on the other. Ska’ana is 260″ long and weighs in at 187 lbs.

The team won the 2015 Pacific Northwest Regional Competition with Ska’ana. The competition was hosted by Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho. UW placed first in the final product and design paper, second in the oral presentation and first in every one of the races!

The team placed ninth overall as well as fifth in the design paper at the National Competition in Clemson, South Carolina at Clemson University.

The Team

Co-Captains: Nigel Lyons and James Neher

Construction Leads: Nick Orsi and Ian Dahl

Mix Design Lead: Marissa Karpack

Aesthetics Lead: Kim Tsai

Finance Lead: Robbie Frankel

Transportation Lead: Matt Hazenberg

Outreach Lead: Mark Chen