Hōkūleʻa pioneer, master navigator Chad ‘Kālepa’ Baybayan dies at 65

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — One of the pioneers behind the Hōkūleʻa has died. Chad “Kālepa” Baybayan joined the crew of the Hōkūleʻa in 1975 when he was just 19 years old.

Baybayan became a master navigator and helped lead the voyaging canoe throughout Hawaii and beyond.

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He held the distinct record of sailing more miles and legs than any other crewmember — having sailed the Hōkūleʻa in the Pacific Ocean and eventually in its worldwide voyage.

Nainoa Thompson of the Polynesian Voyaging Society ranks Baybayan as one of the greatest navigators in human history.

“I would rank Kālepa as one of the greatest navigators in all humanity and all time, because there are students around the world that have been impacted in the Pacific and in Hawaii for generations, he’s a teacher, number one thing he’s a teacher. He inspired and trained young people to navigate their lives, take the values he lived by and make a better world.

Nainoa Thompson, Polynesian Voyaging Society

Baybayan was 65 years old.

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