Saturday April 30th, 2011, Maui’s beautiful N. Shore attracted 72 paddlers of all ages and levels of experience for our second three mile Ohana OluKai Practice Fun Paddle!  With only two weeks away from the Third Annual OluKai Ho’olaule’a, we welcomed  SUP paddlers, prone paddlers and Heather our OC1  paddler; joined us from Paia Bay to the lifeguard tower at Kanaha Beach Park, in preparation for the New Ohana Fun Paddle @ 9AM, May 14th, 2011.

Peter Swanzy and the kids!

This paddle was our second practice paddle since our first April 2nd, 2011 was such a huge success. Click here to see the video. We wanted to share again and encourage families, new paddlers and those who’ve never done a down winder, to come and build their confidence.

Peter Swanzy and Julianna Prater from Paia Youth and Cultural Center had five youth from 13 to 14 years old join in the practice paddle. The youth have been training with Pete and Julianna over the last month and their training paid off as this was the first time that these youth had paddled this 3 mile distance. A huge sense of accomplishment and pride way to go! We also had paddlers from Sweden, Nevada and England participate.

For some, this was the first or second time ever experiencing a coast run. After everyone signed in, had a little morning coffee and juice, we all gathered as Matthew Murasko, OluKai Hawaii Ambassador,  announced our 3 mile course.

Stretching and Jumping Jacks!

Then the ice chest was turned over to me, and I stood up and asked everyone to join me in some warm up exercises and jumping jacks to shake off any pre-paddle  jitters or butterflies!

The conditions were perfect and inviting. The trades were light at about 10 knots that provided for some fun glides.

copyright Ron Dahlquist

The first group of paddlers arrived to Kanaha in 30 minutes and the last group arrived in 60 minutes. Upon completion paddlers were treated to water, juice, granola bars and Whoopie Pies, a chocolate cake-vanilla ice cream confection handmade by my boyfriend Tommy Callan.

The Finish! Kanaha

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Mahalo to the Maui lifeguards ( Tony Colletta ) from Baldwin Tower and Kanaha Tower for PWC saftey…and special mahalo also to Milton Martinson of Haiku for PWC water safety as well as SUP water safety guards, Chris Pagdilao, John Smalley, Joshua Kjorven, Randy Royse. Also lending a hand and expertise, Deb Driscoll and Blair Thorndike.

We’d also like to thank the crews at the Naish Maui Pro Center and Second Wind for providing a few extra boards for the kids from the youth center.

I know this paddle provided many an amazing, life-changing ocean experience. I was touched to see everyone supporting one another out there and on the beach. For others it was a chance to encourage their loved ones and friends to go to the next level. Well done.

Keep up that that training!  The real OluKai Ohana Fun Paddle is May 14 at 9am, same place, same course. Arrive by 8am and Register at OluKai.com. Entry Fee for the 3 mile OluKai Ohana Fun Paddle is $20 and includes one luau dinner wristband.

Aloha and thanks for supporting in community.

Suzie Cooney, CPT  Suzie Trains Maui    SUP Clinic/Director/ Instructor   SUP Team Rider for Naish

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