A true Kupuna, Bowman Jr. was generous and patient in sharing his skills. He founded the Friends in 1996.

Jay Dowsett was initially influenced by his pocketbook. Unable to afford the surfboards he wanted as a freshman in high school, he studied fiberglass composites and started building his own. Asked by Wrighto Bowman to join his canoe building guild, Jay brought valuable fiberglass construction skills with him. Jay’s specialty is working on voyaging canoes and several of his renovated canoes are displayed in museums and public institutes.

Jerome (Jerry) Ongies did not become serious about canoe building and restoring until he had retired from his second career. His interest in sailing led him to build two sailing crafts and spend time cruising the Pacific. In 1992 and 1995 he crewed aboard the Kama Hele, escorting the Hokule‘a. In 2004 he completed the design and construction of the Hokualaka‘i, a 58-foot voyaging canoe built for the Hawaiian Immersion School Aha Punana Leo in Hilo.

Tay W. Perry started building and restoring canoes in 1954. His first job was working on the Ka Ehukai for the Lanikai Canoe Club. His father, George Perry, opened a canoe shop in the mid 1950s, which Tay started taking over in the 1980s. Since his father’s death in 1992, Tay has been in charge. Born and raised in the islands, the 65-year-old has dedicated most of his life to the art of canoe construction and restoration. Over the past 50 years, he has built five canoes from scratch and has fully restored 16.