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Top Ten All Around: Canoe Paddling Make Their OIA Mark

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By Taylor Ann Ono
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(Timothy Won | Trojan Times) The OIA race was a half mile sprint that consisted of only one turn. To prepare for the race, coaches had the team paddling for extended periods of time in order to work on their turning, speed and ability to work together.

The MHS boys and girls varsity canoe paddling teams competed in the Oahu Interscholastic Association (OIA) competition at Keehi Lagoon on Jan. 28; the varsity girls came in sixth place, varsity boys in second, the junior varsity (JV) Girls in seventh and the JV boys in fourth. The student’s hard work and determination has pushed them to be the best that they can be, with practice four to five times a week, they have been striving for this opportunity. But no matter the outcome, they have benefitted greatly.

“I think the team as a whole, they’re able to support each other. Win or lose, they’ll be there for each other. All the support that the kids are giving—I can see it this year, and it’s really good for the team,” stated Assistant Coach Jackie Kaya. 

The connection that each team member has with one another is essential to their sport along with the paddlers’ individual skills. “We’ve been training four or five times a week, just doing hard sprints and running (and) lifting sometimes. (If we win, it) would prove a lot. We’re juniors racing seniors and stuff, (it’s challenging) just to see who’s the best of OIA’s, but it’s mostly for fun,” expressed Junior Amadeus Kikila-Dedidar. “Overall (we just want) to have fun and do the sport, but if we win, that’s a plus too.” Kaya added, “The camaraderie that the students have with each other (is nice). It’s nice to see them outside of the school setting. They act a lot different.”

Paddling gives the students a new experience, especially when living in Hawaii. Being surrounded by the ocean gives them more chances to interact with the water. “The connection with the ocean and with paddling (is important) because everything is related to the ocean, especially in Hawaii. It’s good to get the kids out in the water and experiencing something different than just on land,” stated Kaya.

Coaches and athletes alike cherish the sport close to their hearts. “I’ve done paddling for around eight years. My experience has taught me what to do and what not to do, and I try and bring that into the coaching so the students have a better understanding of what we expect from them,” said Kaya. “I like coaching just to get to know the kids personally. Hopefully they (will) become passionate about paddling also, just like how I am.”

This moment has given the team a memory to look back on for the rest of their paddling experience. “I met a lot of people from paddling and it’s a good way to have fun and also work out. It’s a good way to relieve stress and just going out there, you have to put your head (on) the goal and focus on that. (I’ve been) mentally preparing myself, like knowing what’s going to happen, and knowing that I have to (give it) my full effort,” stated Junior Kamreyn Muramoto. “Everyone works hard and we all want to get the win, (but if we don’t) all that matters (is that) we get to the finish line.”

For the team, canoe paddling is all about two things: each other and the water.  Without either one, they wouldn’t be able to relish in the feeling that the sport gives them.

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Top Ten All Around: Canoe Paddling Make Their OIA Mark