1. Paddle Imua will be three years old this year! Can you tell us how you became involved? I become involved on day 1 when I was Executive Director of Hawaiian Canoe Club and I offered up our hale at Hoaloha Park to be the finish line and host the post-race celebration. Since then Paddle Imua has become my favorite community event.
2. I have unofficially termed you ladies the “Founding Four.” Each of you comes from a diverse background; tell us something unique about yourself? I always felt extremely proud of being from Hawai’i, and specifically Maui.
3. It’s clear that each of you have a special connection to the ocean, can you tell us a little about that? I’m born and raise right here on Maui, and my name means ‘the spirit of the ocean is calm.’ My parents also paddle so I literally grew up on the shores on Kahului Harbor. My involvement in canoe paddling took me out of the country for the first time as I traveled to Australia for the World Spring Championship. Years later, as the Executive Director of Hawaiian Canoe Club I helped several of our keiki paddlers make their first trip out of the country to participate in international canoe races in Rarotonga and Canada. It is amazing how much the ocean can connect us to other people around the world.
4. There is power in numbers and you have done an amazing job involving your own communities to really rally around the keiki of Imua. Why Imua? I was a Camp Imua counselor in high school and had a life changing experience with my camper who coped with cerebral palsy. Despite being wheel chair bound heavily and dependent on her caregivers, my camper had an infectious zest for life. During our excursion to Olowalu she really wanted to kayak which I thought was a bad idea because it was a pretty windy. But she insisted we go out and we ended up having a great time. I realized that she was more fearless of the ocean and more trusting of others than I had ever been.
5. In five words describe what Paddle Imua means to you? Community. Heart. Selflessness. Responsibility. Fun.
6. How does exposing children to ocean sports help them in other aspects of their life? Exposing children to ocean sports can be life changing. I’ve seen many kids come to Hawaiian Canoe Club looking for an identity and a place where they feel comfortable. HCC becomes that place and their identity becomes that of a paddler. Going a step further, some kids are able to travel and represent Hawai’i in paddling competitions. All kids learn teamwork, dedication, and discipline from being involved in a team sport. At HCC they also learn about Hawaiian values and culture.
7. It’s interesting that in a male dominated sport, a group of ladies are the motor behind this engine. Comments? I’m not surprised. Women actually run the world.
3 quick-fire questions…
1. What are 3 things you must have when on water? My IMUA hat, sunscreen, and Maui Jim sunglasses.
2. When is your favorite time to be on the water? Any summer afternoon between 2:45-4pm at Kahului Harbor. That’s when our keiki practice and it’s a mad house. There are canoes and kids and paddles everywhere.
3. What part do you look forward to most during Paddle Imua? When my kids and I can give my husband and their daddy a big hug after he finishes.