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September 2008

Pacific Northwest News

Northwest Outrigger Paddlers Race in World Championships in California

by Andy Michels

Eighty-three paddlers representing the nineteen member clubs in the Pacific Northwest Outrigger Racing Canoe Association (PNWORCA) recently traveled to Lake Natoma on the American River in Sacramento, California to challenge the best paddlers in the world at the *World Va`a Outrigger Canoe Sprint Championships, an event organized by the International Va`a Federation founded in Tahiti. (Va`a is Tahitian for outrigger; in Hawaiian, it’s wa`a.)

Wahine paddlers at the World Va`a Outrigger Canoe Sprint Championships at Lake Natoma in Sacramento, California, where the Pacific Northwest was well-represented. Photo by www.melponder.com

In V-12 and V-6 races that identify the number of paddlers in a canoe, 1,400 paddlers from thirteen countries met at the 13th biennial championship, racing distances of 500, 1000 and 1500 meters in categories from youth teams to Golden Masters crews over age 60.

PNWORCA did itself proud placing crews in the final heats of the V-12 open women and senior men’s races, the Golden Masters men V-12 races, and the V-6 senior masters men’s race against competition from Tahiti, New Zealand, and Hawai`i. The 220 Tahiti participants dominated the event, winning 71 of the 143 medals and setting four of the five new world records. New Zealand followed with twenty-eight medals and Team Hawaii was next, winning twelve medals.

The event was also a demonstration of the aloha spirit with an opening parade, cultural entertainment night, meeting old friends and making new ones, and the ever-popular shirt-trading opportunities.

Some of the new friends and paddlers I met:

Treena Humphreys and Jacob Roberts from Autumn Rose Canoe Club, and Gabby Chun Fook from Kikaha, all eleven years old, represented PNWORCA on the Under-16 team. They liked the competition, the chance to learn from the best and the fact that their clubs are drug and alcohol-free.

(L-R) Jacob Roberts, Gabby Chun Fook and Treena Humphreys.
Jacob and Treena paddle with Autumn Rose and Gabby is with Kikaha.

Two Olympic champions raced: Daniele Scarpa and Hugh Fisher. Daniele represented Italy in four Olympics, winning gold and silver medals in the 1984 Atlanta Canoe/Kayak event, and paddles with a dozen outrigger paddlers from Venice, Italy. Canoeist Hugh Fisher won a bronze medal in the Los Angeles Olympic event in 1986. He was also on the 1978 Blazing Paddles Team that won the 1978 Molokai Hoe. Dr. Fisher lives in Pemberton, B.C. and looks forward to hosting the 2012 race. The two Olympians debated the merits of adding outrigger racing to the Olympics. Scarpa supported the idea while Fisher had reservations that the spirit and customs would be overwhelmed by the media and commercial exposure. “You don’t need to be in the Olympics to validate your sport,” Fisher said. “Just feel the spirit here today.”

I met two canoe builders: Mark Point and Jude Turczynski. Mark Point of Chilliwack, B.C. and the Sto:lo Nation, part of the Coast Salish, is a native canoe carver. He was just commissioned to build a 50-foot canoe. With red cedar logs as large as five feet in diameter, carving a single canoe can take several months of carving and wood curling. Huki Outrigger’s Jude Turczynski was there as a vendor selling his outriggers and surf skis. Jude’s canoes are made of the lightest fiberglass, foam and Kevlar materials.

Tiapepe Ulufaleilupe paddled with Team Hawaii. She comes from one of the oldest canoe clubs in the islands, Kai `Opua in Kailua-Kona on Hawai`i island which has 600 members. Her team won a silver medal in the V-12 Masters Women’s event and a bronze in the Open event. Kai `Opua Canoe Club is host to the world’s largest long distance outrigger canoe races, “The Queen Lili`uokalani” now in its 37 th year. The race on Labor Day weekend celebrates Queen Lili`uokalani’s birthday. Pepe said, “It’s a must race for any serious paddler.”

I met Autumn Rose from Bellingham whose Lummi club is named after her. She started her own club in 1993 when, as a youngster, she was not allowed to paddle with the men. She got a grant from the Kellogg Foundation and bought the club’s first canoe. The members honored her by naming the club Autumn Rose. The club won the 2007 Liberty World Outrigger race in New York. Next June, the Lummi Nation will sponsor the 63 rd annual Stommish race in Bellingham, attracting over 1,000 participants for the native canoe race. The event is an annual gathering among First Nation People to continue the link of canoe racing.

Florida Town, age 76 and her daughter Cat Town both paddled in the senior division for Team Canada. Florida liked the chance to race with her daughter and the level of sportsmanship at the event. “The Tahitians waited for our canoe to finish and then hugged and congratulated us on our race. That was really nice,” she said.

The 2010 race is scheduled for Noumea, the capital of * New Caledonia. PNWORCA paddlers are already asking “who’s going?” and “where the heck is it?”

British Columbia will host the race in 2012 in Penticton on Lake Okanagan.

Andy Michels is the club secretary for Federal Way’s Kikaha O Ke Kai Outrigger Canoe Club. He paddles on Wollochet Bay near Gig Harbor, Washington.

* New Caledonia is an island in the South Pacific between Australia and Fiji.



Children of Maui Benefit from Seattleite’s Generosity

By Rochelle delaCruz


The children of Maui have a friend in Karen Levy. Formerly of West Seattle, Karen moved to Maui 10 years ago and has been living in Kīhei ever since. She regularly returns to Seattle and on her last visit a few weeks ago, she was back to donate the 7th and final medic unit to West Seattle’s Station 32.

That is the first part of this story. Karen’s late husband Ed was a commercial painting contractor who wanted to do something useful for his community so in 1979 at a time when emergency paramedic treatment was still new, he donated $15,000 for the first medic van for Seattle. Soon after they established the Ed and Karen Levy Charitable Foundation which for over thirty years, has provided the city with six more vans, each – thanks to feedback from Seattle medics - better designed and equipped than the one before. This latest unit is state-of-the-art, with the Levy foundation providing $187,000 of the total cost of $220,000 for the vehicle. This is the last of the foundation money and the 7th van will be the final one provided by the Ed and Karen Levy Charitable Foundation. On the day of the dedication in West Seattle, there was a fine celebration with good music and food, hula from the Keiki Hula Halau from Na Mea Hula of Lake Stevens and firefighters from Station 32 who expressed gratitude in many ways.

But now begins the second part of the story. While all were celebrating the arrival of the shiny new 7th Levy Medic One unit, old Unit 6 was also getting a send-off as it was leaving the next day for the Maui Arts & Cultural Center (MACC) to support arts education for the school children of Maui. Stripped of its medical equipment and repainted blue to match the color of MACC stationery, the van will begin a new life taking performers to the schools on Maui. Karen reports that each school on Maui has funds for only one field trip a year, so educational events must travel to them. The new van will help provide transportation to those who are bringing arts education to school children on the island.

“I am pleased to be able to find a child-related entity that can make good use of the vehicle” said Karen. The other vans were also donated by the Levys to support the activities of children, with the first van going to the YMCA Camp Orkila on Orcas Island.

The Ed and Karen Levy Charitable Foundation has made great impact in the city of Seattle over the past thirty years, and now their generosity extends 2,500 miles across the Pacific to the island of Maui.

Mahalo nui loa!


Hawai`i Ohana Up North!

Members of the Northwest Hawai`i Ohana reside primarily in Snohomish, Skagit, Island and Whatcom counties in Washington State as well as reaching up into British Columbia in Canada. Their style is easy and they welcome everyone to come and see what they're all about. Here is a photo from this summer's Sand in the City sponsored by the Port of Bellingham. Check out their website at www.nwhawaiiohana.org for more!

Photo by Linda Broadgate


University of Hawai`i Alumni Association --
Pacific Northwest Chapter

The University of Hawai`i Alumni Association -- Pacific Northwest Chapter held its annual picnic at Enatai Beach Park in Bellevue, Washington. Honored guests at the picnic are students from the Pacific Northwest attending UH in the fall.


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