Napili Canoe Club looks forward to fun, competitive summer season
LAHAINA – Napili Canoe Club’s mission is to: “Strive to create a family-based centered club putting our Keiki (children) and Kupuna (elders) first and foremost.”
The NCC Mission Statement continues: “We pride ourselves in the teachings and learnings and preservation of Hoe Wa’a (Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Paddling). It is our Kuleana (responsibility) to build and nurture a safe, happy, and welcoming environment while embracing and practicing our Hawaiian culture. Understanding the importance of our natural resources and to always Malama (take care) of our land and ocean is of our highest regard. We move forward optimistically, never forgetting our past and the people who came before us, while always preserving and protecting our local way of life.”
The importance of this doctrine not only represents the Gold and Black of Napili, but also that of Lahaina and Kahana Canoe Clubs, as the preservation of the vital culture moves to the political forefront here on the West Side.
The clash of the past with the expansion of the present becomes evident as the pristine shorelines of the leeward coast of Maui are the focal point of debate.
Hanakao’o Beach Park (Canoe Beach) has been the home of the three West Side organizations for some 45 years now, but the shadow cast by the hotel and development up the coast has squeezed their effort into the small site for this most vital aspect of Hawaiian culture.
Regardless of the tight quarters, the three clubs maintain their vigilance to propagate the culture of the canoe; and, with 180 registered members, Napili leads the way.
The club is led by lifelong advocate Jeanne Gonzalez as president, Theresa Marzan (vice president), Treasurer Wendy Moran (replacing Carol Elterman, who stepped down after decades of service to the club) and Annie Gerber (secretary).
The keiki coaching staff is headed up by Nori Tihada. He is assisted by Eugene Tihada, Manny Portables, Colin Delos Reyes, Kona Maielua, Kalani Tihada, Al Nip and Kalei Kauhane.
The adult paddlers are mentored by Kona Maielua and Bubba Kukahiko, along with Bear Keahi, Michael Rains, Shaun Pederson, Joseph Aquino and Eddie Maielua.
In the inshore regatta opener two weeks ago at Kahului Harbor, Maui County Hawaiian Canoe Association dominator Hawaiian Canoe Club continued its hold on the top spot, but Napili flexed its muscle to finish in third place behind Kihei.
The West Siders will look forward to another fun-filled, family-oriented and competitive season, and most especially to the Dougie Tihada Memorial Regatta that pays homage to the late founding father of the club.