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Supporter Spotlight: John Smalley of Bluesmiths

It’s our great pleasure to introduce you to John Smalley, founder and owner of Bluesmiths – our title sponsor, and also a Paddle Imua planning committee member. John calls himself an “ocean tester” and when you learn more about him in the Q & A below, you’ll see why we’re so blessed to have him on our team.


1. What about outdoor sports (or paddling in specific) excites you?
Some of my most memorable experiences have been on the ocean. There is undeniably an action and adrenaline element to ocean sports which is exhilarating – I’ve had great experiences going over 50mph on a windsurf board or paddling to un-crowded, outer-reef waves. That said, one of the things I find most exciting is the very real exposure to the elements that these sports give us. Conditions change minute to minute on the water and no two days are ever the same. You’re learning all the time and I’m excited by the process of evolving – figuring out the conditions, the techniques and the equipment – and enjoying this entire process with great friends.

2. How does connecting with the ocean have therapeutic or healing effects on you? Do you feel it is important for other people to create and nurture this connection? Why?
The ocean is a real healer for me. Personally, the more time I spend in the water, the better I feel. It’s that simple. When I don’t get in the water as much as I want, I try to focus on making it count when I do. I think I’m part of a group obsessed by the ocean and Maui, it seems, is a high concentration place for people like that! I highly recommend everyone to get into the ocean, one way or another. Not only does being in the ocean keep us fit and active, it allows us to have a lot of fun with family and friends.

3. How does the work that you do (through your business/career) contribute to healthy families/ communities?
At Bluesmiths, we live for real innovation and problem solving. We go to great lengths to build the hardest working, most versatile ocean apparel and accessories in the world so that our ocean sports community can enjoy more time on the water, more often. The way we see it, if we can help more people enjoy the ocean, then this has to be good for the community.

4. Why do you choose to support an organization like Imua Family Services?
We think doing the best for the community around you is just part of doing business. Being based in Maui, we feel lucky to be part of a very real community and what Imua Family Services does for children with special needs is a really impressive part of that. With people like Maile and Dean at Imua, Kaimana from the Hawaiian Canoe Club and paddlers like Devin Blish and Samantha Campbell all working so hard, it`s difficult not to want to get involved with Imua and support the children.

5. Tell us a story about how a child has impacted or changed your life for the better.
Visiting Camp Imua last year I saw how much support many the kids need and how overjoyed they were to be at Camp. For me, it was a very humbling experience: So much fun was being had by kids facing some very real challenges on a daily basis. This brought my life into perspective and I certainly take things less for granted now than before. I have a lot of respect for the families and the children and I am more than happy to do what I can to help. Let’s hope we have a great turn out for Paddle Imua 2013.

You can follow John and his team at Bluesmiths on Twitter at @bluesmiths, Instagram at @bluesmiths, “Like” the Bluesmiths Facebook Page and check out their line of products and read their blog at their website, www.bluesmiths.com


The “Supporter Spotlight” series is coordinated for Paddle Imua by internet marketing consultant Sara Tekula. Stay tuned for more moments with some of Paddle Imua’s shining stars, who do so much for our community and are helping make this event possible again this year. Return to our blog for more. You can follow Paddle Imua on Facebook, Instagram, or on Twitter for more updates. Be sure to follow the #PaddleImua hashtag to keep tabs on the race and the festival at the finishline on Saturday, May 4th.