No matter what the day has been, or the night before was, the minute my hands are on the canoe, everything else melts away and I am bonded to the canoe and the 5 other paddlers inside her hull.
The canoe represents Ohana to me, those in the canoe with me are ohana and the canoe is our Mother/ Grandmother/ Ancient Source We all work together in good spiritual and physical harmony in order for the canoe to respond and glide forward. She takes care of us and we in turn take care of her.
Hopping in, getting set and hitting the first stroke with the steerman's command "Hut" puts a force in me in motion that is deeply felt in my core and in my soul. I feel as though I have always been in the canoe and traveling across the water is the natural way to get from point A to point B.
I like how paddling can bring people from all different racial and economically different backgrounds together in a common bond. Outrigger canoes are a part of the History of the Hawaiian Islands. It is a beautiful way to be healthy and happy and forget about yourself, your ego, your troubles.. in a canoe those things cannot exist .
I started paddling recreationally in 2007 and grew to love competitive racing/paddling starting in 2010. The energy of a race starts when you paddle to the start line. The peaceful grounded feeling of first entering the canoe is replaced with a fire and excitement, nervous energy that melds into a determination and drive that pushes everything other than the stroke, the water, the canoe, and the way ahead from my mind. Giving all I have, holding nothing of my heart back, working with my paddle sisters to be the first across the line, is why I love racing with Kai'Opua.
We are a competitive club and we like to win but we also play fair. When I am on a winning crew, it is solely because we all worked together, did what we train for and how we train , and gave it all our. When we lose, we go to practice and work harder to be better. No blame, no shame, just someone else was better in that race. Good for them this time, but we will get them next race.