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Lahaina Canoe Club emphasizes the family fun of canoe paddling

By Staff | Jun 20, 2019

Lahaina Canoe Club has an active membership of some 60 keiki and adult paddlers entering a dozen or so of the 49 events on the Maui County Hawaian Canoe Association inshore regatta race day slate.

LAHAINA – For Lahaina Canoe Club, the competitive glory days within the Maui County Hawaian Canoe Association racing season are today a fond memory of the past. But in what matters most to the dedicated leaders of the organization – the perpetuation of the Hawaiian canoe and the culture of the islands – the club stands tall along with Hanakao’o (Canoe) Beach Park siblings Kahana and Napili Canoe Clubs.

As reported by Vice President Boi Crichton, LCC has an active membership of some 60 keiki and adult paddlers entering a dozen or so of the 49 events on the MCHCA inshore regatta race day slate.

Things have changed at Canoe Beach since the glory days brought on by legendary leaders such as Earl “Chief” Kukahiko and George Paoa, but the Hawaiian spirit of the club carries on despite its minimal influence in the race day standings.

“Over our three years of guiding the club, we have tried to perpetuate and hold the history of Lahaina Canoe Club to simply have a happy boat with a family-oriented spirit,” explained Crichton last week.

He added that the three West Side clubs are working together to preserve the culture within “na hui va’a o Hanakao’o”.

“A big step has been taken with Tamara Paltin (Maui County Council member) working to designate Canoe Beach as a cultural place and to limit business activities there. It is the only place in Maui County where state inshore regattas can be held. It is a place that we hope and want to preserve as a culturally designated area.”

Lahaina’s leadership group is led by President Jeremy Delos Reyes, Co-president Mark Shimer, Vice President Boi Crichton, Secretary Rose Crichton, Treasurer Ala Cordero and Board Members Amanda Holloway, Mamo Hussey, Jeeyun Lee, Vae Maluia and Michele Rosenthal Maluia.

Delos Reyes doubles as the club’s head coach and Boi leads the keiki coaching staff.

They are assisted by Shimer, Vae Maluia, Hussey, Marley Calapini and Geoff Bogar as mentors for the kid- dominated race day crews.

For decades, Lahaina Canoe Club was fondly tabbed as the “Halloween crew” because of the orange and black colors of its canoes.

The original colors were red and black, but as Coach Boi explained, “We think that the original red color of the canoes faded to a burnt orange over those early years, and due to finances or whatever, that tint stayed on. Over recent years, we decided to go back to the original colors.”

More important, said Crichton, is the influence of canoe paddling pioneers such as Kukahiko, Paoa, Uncle Moki and Charlie Keahi, John Kuia, and the Tihada ohana.

“All these folks instilled the fun aspect to canoe paddling. Along with the parents, they promote the family way to achieve that goal with our members – especially the kids. We so appreciate the families and the whole West Side community that constantly kokua to support the club. For us, it is very important to keep this effort alive. Where one go, we all go,” he said.