Keiki paddlers make the summer fun for Kahana Canoe Club
LAHAINA – Like their neighbors at Hanakao’o (Canoe) Beach Park, Kahana Canoe Club’s focus is directed to the membership ‘ohana, and particularly to the keiki paddlers in the green and purple canoes.
The organization hosted the Naleieha Regatta last weekend at Canoe Beach that was dedicated to the memory of Earl “Chief” Kukahiko – a lifelong paddling supporter who passed away recently.
Longtime KCC advocate Gentleman Jim Kohler, who has moved up to president of the club to replace founding family leader John Kuia, reported that there are some 150 registered paddlers in the organization for the current inshore regatta season.
Kohler is assisted in the leadership of Kahana by Vice President Paele Kiakona, Secretary Diane Delos Reyes, Treasurer Annie Wilson and Board Members Kuia, Sherry Foster, J.R. Greenhalgh, Danielle Kuck, Lani Kane, Celeste Hilliard, Joe Lee, Shayna Auld and Dawnalyn Fujiwara.
The Kahana coaching staff is headed up by Kai Keahi and assistants Kiakona, Kawehi Kaina for the adults.
The keiki paddlers are mentored by George Vierra, Jesse Roy, Aina Kohler and Jeff Higgs.
KCC is entering about 27 of the 40 Maui County Hawaiian Canoe Association (MCHCA) events on race days.
“It is so amazing to see so many kids on the beach on race days and practice sessions. It’s wonderful to see the rejuvenation of the kids’ interest in paddling, with kids ages four to 12 years old getting into it. Makes it really fun for all of us,” said Kohler.
He went on to say that the club’s equipment is in good shape with 12 fiberglass canoes and two koa canoes – the Kai Nalu and the Imihauilele -available at the club hale.
“We’re looking in good shape, and we’re preparing for our big fundraiser selling smoked meat at the County Fair later on in the year. We send our mahalo out to all of our club members who help out with the smoke meat and also to Island Grocery for their support,” Kohler concluded.