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Maui paddlers earn gold medals at International Va‘a Federation World Sprints

By Staff | Sep 20, 2018

From left, Wanda Shireff, Diane Wetzel, Diane Delos Reyes, Maxine Magnani, Sammie Stanbro and Shelly Ann Delos Reyes won two medals at the 2018 International Va‘a Federation World Sprints.

LAHAINA – It was an experience of a lifetime for a contingent of canoe paddlers from Maui that included several Kahana Canoe Club members that trained diligently in preparations for the 2018 International Va’a Federation World Sprints held this past July at Papeete, Tahiti.

Diane and Walter Delos Reyes, Jane and Jim Kohler, Ann Wilson, Sherry Foster, Dorothy Flores – all longtime KCC members – put in months of training to prepare for the international competition.

Their practices included 5:30 a.m. sessions three times a week in Kihei, as well as treks to Hilo to train with Big Island crew members.

The lineup of Wanda Shiffefi from Kihei Canoe Club, Sally Ann Delos Reyes (Wailea CC), Maxine Magnani (Kamehameha Hilo CC), Sammie Stanbro (Kamehameha Hilo CC), Diane Delos Reyes (Kahana CC) and Diane Wetzel (Kihei CC) won two gold medals and raced for a third but were disqualified on the turn in that race.

They battled through quarter- and semifinal heats against crews from all over the world to reach the coveted championship victory.

The gold medal performances came in the Women’s 70 Double-Hull V12 500-meter and Single-Hull V6 500-meter events, while the DQ race was another 500-meter race.

“All the preparations and practices were really a grind, but this is a really tough group,” commented Kahana spokesman Jim Kohler. “The races were extremely well-managed, and during the course of two weeks, a total of 500 races were run, plus practice sessions for the first three days of the event.”

“In 2020, the World Sprints will be held at Hilo Bay (on the Big Island), and our girls will be a little older – but perhaps a little wiser – from their experience at Papeete,” he added.