Pacific Paddler April 2015 - (Page 34)

outrigger Canoe making waves in the desert na leo o Ke Kai With hot winds whipping across sundappled water, rocking outrigger canoes and paddlers, and the last sigh of a shared pule or prayer blowing up into a vast blue sky, you could imagine any beach in Hawaii and a tradition going back thousands of years. Except, this tradition is being carried forward in the sands of the Sonoran desert of Arizona. Na Leo O Ke Kai (Voices of the Sea), the first outrigger canoe club in Arizona, has preserved close connection to home, fostered keiki teams and strong competition - with only two miles of freshwater and a classically Western, or perhaps westside, spirit. "A desert is the last place anyone would expect an outrigger canoe club to start," says Desiree Kehealani Mendes, head coach of Na Leo's keiki program. Mendes moved to the Valley of the Sun from Waianae on Oahu. "We get laughed at like the Jamaican bobsled team when other clubs find out where we are from and that we paddle on a lake!" "But, let me tell you how proud I am of my keiki program," she adds. Mendes coached her first keiki crew on Oahu at age 18. She joined Na Leo in 2013, and with her expert guidance, Na Leo's youth crews have grown quickly. With support from enthusiastic parents and relatives, the youth have competed in California with much success. In the last two years, her junior girls and boys have medaled in distance and sprint races. Na Leo O Ke Kai is also the only club of four from this landlocked state to qualify for 34 Pacific Paddler aPril 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pacific Paddler April 2015

Kanaka ikaika maui Jim waterman's series
Waikiki Surf Club juniors
Sean Monahan on technique
fishing from an oC1
Koa Nui
Manny Kulukulualani talks story
HSCA 2015 schedule
Outrigger canoe making waves in the desert
Small boats getting big
Stretches for paddling
Hawaii Island
Composite paddle blades
Mahalo Kai Opua

Pacific Paddler April 2015