Pacific Paddler August 2013 - (Page 24)
Luke: When we
WHEN WERE YOU INTRODUCED TO PADDLING?
TELL US WHAT YOU THOUGHT OF THE SPORT
Luke: When I was ten years old, I started
paddling for Pu'uwai Canoe Club. I'm not sure
how I ended up there, but I think it had some-
NOW WHERE DO YOU SEE THE SPORT HEADED?
every sport I tried and my parents were getting
passion for paddling, I always land at one thing:
thing to do with the fact that I was terrible at
desperate. Paddling was no different. I paddled
for less than two weeks before deciding that I
hated the concept. At that point, I was much
more comfortable with a video game controller in
my hand than a paddle. I quit paddling and didn't
get back into it until I was twelve at Kaiola Canoe
Club. By that time, my brothers and dad were
also paddling at Kaiola so quitting wasn't really
an option. I had to hang around at the canoe
club waiting for my family to finish men's prac-
tice and the coach was nice enough to let me fill
in occasionally when there was an empty seat.
Between the adult and youth practices, I ended
up putting in a lot of time at a young age.
Keizo: I moved to a small school in 8th
grade where I met Luke. I was really into bas-
ketball at the time, but no one in our class of 15
was into that. Luke convinced a few people to
try paddling, and I followed soon after. A couple
of years later, my Dad was able to get a dam-
aged OC1 for next to nothing and we fixed it up.
Paddling those first few downwind runs seemed
like such an adventure at the time. Having
access to canoes and a good group of friends to
paddle with kept me coming back.
Luke: When I look back at what inspired my
it was really fun. Our coach was worried less
about us winning and more about us enjoying
ourselves. I loved every second that I was on the
water, and I kept hungering for more. If it's not
fun, then the sport isn't going to grow. The sport
has some fundamental retention issues in that at
least nine out of ten kids don't make the jump
from youth to adult paddling programs. We need
to keep the sport fun and work on retaining our
youth. There are a lot of things happening right
now that have the potential to make the sport
incredibly fun, we just need to figure out a way
to integrate them into our existing structure.
Keizo: There are a lot of progressive races
happening these days. A look at any of those
events: Olamau, Pa’a ‘Eono, or any OC1 race,
gives a good indication of the sport’s future.
The people organizing those races and the paddlers attending them have done every race in
the world. These new races and new canoes are
what they are excited about. People are going
to great lengths to be a part of it, whether it’s
building their own six-man at home, or person-
ally buying the first canoes available. In a lot of
ways, it does just come down to fun.
WHAT GAVE YOU THE IDEA TO
Luke: When we were in high school, Kelly,
Keizo, and I used to literally hang around dreaming of building canoes. We had no idea what it
would entail; we just knew that we wanted to do
it. We all left for college with a specific goal in
mind: we were going to reunite after graduating
and start a canoe company. Paddling was our
life, and we wanted to make sure that we could
create a career to keep it the focal point of our
lives. When we left for college, nearly every
canoe in Hawai’i was built in Hawai’i, but by
the time we were ready to begin, it was nearly
impossible to purchase a locally built canoe.
Here we were, at the center of outrigger canoe
racing, yet you couldn't buy an OC-1 that was
made within 2,000 miles. The stark realization
that local production was dying is what really
committed us to start the company.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? [WENT TO THE
HARDWARE STORE AND BOUGHT FIBERGLASS?
LEARNED FROM ANOTHER CANOE BUILDER?]
Luke: In 2007, the three of us were all
living in Kailua after graduating college. At the
time we had no design, no money, and little
experience. Kelly had worked with a local canoe
builder and gone to school for composites
fabrication; Keizo spent much of his life in a
composites shop and graduated with a degree
in aerospace and mechanical engineering; and
I had basically nothing but an insane passion
for paddling. Since we were living in Kailua, we
wandered up to the nearest industrial center
and inquired whether they had any space avail-
able. Within thirty minutes we’d signed a lease.
I think we were a little more impulsive back then.
After sitting around in an empty warehouse wondering what to do next, we partnered up with
John Puakea to build the Kainalu and Kaimana.
The first collaborative canoe that we built as a
company was the Pueo.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pacific Paddler August 2013
HCRA champs at Hanalei in the past 2007, 2001
Walter Macfarlane Regatta
Waikiki Beach Boys Invitational
Tahiti Nui Va’a
Olamau and counting
Outrigger & Hui Nalu beginnings
Paddle 'No-mans Land'?
Mālama Hawai‘i is the first leg
Na Wahine O Ke Kai 2013
Pacific Paddler August 2013