Kahaluu Paddlers Rip Through Canada Water

Windward paddlers returned triumphant last month from the World Va‘a Sprint Championships in Canada.

The 15th annual outrigger race, known as the Olympics of paddling, was held Aug. 11-15 on Glenmore reservoir in Calgary, with teams from New Zealand, Italy, Rapa Nui, Hawaii and Canada competing in several categories.

“The Hawaii 16 (year- old) Boys got silver, and the 16 Girls got bronze,” reported Karey Estepa, whose husband and daughters paddled there from the Kahaluu-based Keahiakahoe Canoe Club, coached by Stan Dickson. “Even the master crews got medals!”

Clubs from across the state sent paddlers to represent Hawaii, added Estepa, including Lanikai Canoe Club.

“There was a lot of dedication and hard work, fundraising and training to make it to Canada,” she admitted.

“All that paid off with many of them bringing home gold, silver and bronze medals.

“It was cold, though, including hail.”

The World Va‘a Sprints are held every two years, and Brazil will host the next one in 2014.

A partial list of participating Keahiakahoe paddlers, who practice at Kahaluu Beach Park and at Sand Island (masters program), is below:

Mana Garcia, Bronson Asiata, Seth Holck, Delson Smith, Kamu Kaliihoomalu, Kawika Kaleleiki, Kalei Kahookele, Shainna and Shaienne Estepa, Vince and Chelsa Kahalepauole-Bizik, Harley Jay Pedro, Gilbert Silva, Joe Kim, Ray Bizik and Rommel Estepa (chap- eron/cook).