The outrigger canoe (Filipino and Indonesian: bangka; New Zealand Māori: waka ama; Cook Islands Maori: vaka; Hawaiian: waʻa; Tahitian and Samoan:vaʻa) is a type of canoe featuring one or more lateral support floats known as outriggers, which are fastened to one or both sides of the main hull. Smaller canoes often employ a single outrigger on the port side, while larger canoes may employ a single-outrigger, double-outrigger, or double-hull configuration (see also catamaran). The sailing canoes are an important part of the Polynesian heritage and are raced and sailed in Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa and by the Māori of New Zealand.
Using an outrigger or double-hull configuration greatly increases the stability of the canoe, but introduces hydrodynamic inefficiency relative to making a single-hull canoe wider. Compared to other types of canoes, outrigger canoes can be quite fast, yet are also capable of being paddled and sailed in rougher water. This paddling technique, however, differs greatly from kayaking or rowing. The paddle, or blade, used by the paddler is single sided, with either a straight or a double-bend shaft. Despite the single paddle, an experienced paddler will only paddle on one side, using a technique such as a J-stroke to maintain heading and stability.
The Vezo is the term the semi-nomadic coastal people of southern Madagascar use to refer to people that have become accustomed to live from sea fishing. The Vezo speak a dialect of the Malagasy language, which is a branch of the Malayo-Polynesian language group derived from the Barito languages, spoken in southern Borneo. They currently populate most of the littoral zone along Madagascar’s west coast between Toliara and Mahajanga. They do not identify with a particular Malagasy ethnic group but instead with their way of life. Because of their semi-nomadic marine migrations, their population is difficult to determine and has been estimated by counting the dugout canoes called pirogues (lakanas in Malagasy language) around Madagascar.
"Vezo" literally means the people who fish, but also has been known to mean 'to struggle with the sea'.