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Big Kahuna boat christened at Canalside

Big Kahuna can carry up to 45 passengers on its 90-minute trips. It is 50 feet long, 14 feet wide, and has two outboard engines.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — There's now a Big Kahuna at Canalside, helping tourists have a good time.

A new tiki tour boat called 'Big Kahuna' was christened Friday, and will add to the Buffalo Boat Tours fleet that allows passengers to enjoy daily scenic tours out on the waterfront.

“There is no better way to enjoy Buffalo’s waterfront than aboard a beautiful boat with an ice-cold beverage while listening to island music,” Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation chairman Robert Gioia said Friday in a statement.

“Governor Hochul has provided the leadership needed to capitalize on Buffalo’s extraordinary waterfront and the new boat gives Western New Yorkers yet another way to experience our greatest natural asset.”

The Big Kahuna — which can carry up to 45 passengers on its 90-minute trips — is 50 feet long, 14 feet wide, and has two outboard engines. 

The new Canalside attraction was custom built in Florida and trucked to Western New York in early May. 

"We started this three years ago, and it was such a success that we really wanted to upgrade the boat," owner and captain Rich Hilliman said. "I really think people are going to love and enjoy, and I can't wait to show people this great Buffalo waterfront on the new Big Kahuna."

The Hilliman family will operate the Big Kahuna.

“People can’t get enough of our exciting tiki boat experience,” Hilliman said. “Customers are thrilled to be out on the water, socializing with friends, and seeing our beautiful Buffalo from a whole new point of view."

The addition of the new Big Kahuna kicks off the 15th season of Canalside events. 

"It is a case of if they build it, they will come, and if you have a dock where boats can land is where they can come," said Mark Wendel, senior director of design at the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation. "I think again the excitement, this kind of energy has been building over the last 15 years."

You can book an excursion on the Big Kahuna by visiting Buffalo Boat Tours website. Tickets cost $28 for adults and $24 for the children's tour. 

"We look forward to welcoming new visitors and return customers on board for an excursion that will be the highlight of their summer," Hilliman said. 

U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins said the region must continue to invest and capitalize on waterfront opportunities.

“Canalside is continuing to evolve to meet public demand for new destinations and experiences. This builds on the growing ways to explore and enjoy Buffalo’s waterfront and waterways,” he said.

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