Archive for July, 2010

LCC to the rescue!

Posted in Rescue, Training with tags , , , , , on July 28, 2010 by Laura_Greene

It’s not every day you get to save someone’s life, especially in a canoe, but today Lahaina Canoe Club did just that.

I was paddling as part of an open four boat -  with Spud steering, Aviva in seat four and Amy stroking.We were heading home, almost finished with our long-distance practice when we started nearing Black Rock, at the north end of Ka’anapali Beach. There were a couple of people standing on the rock, waving their arms and whistling. “Oh,” I thought, “they’re really encouraging our paddling. That’s cool.”

Black Rock and the Sheraton at Ka'anapali Beach.

But it soon became clear that they were trying to get our attention, they weren’t just waving hello… They started shouting for help and pointing to something in the water. We paddled towards two people in the water and saw that one of them was motionless and being held up, by his chin, by the other swimmer. He was very pale and I wasn’t sure that he was even alive.

Spud called for us to lawa and we were soon alongside the two men in the water. “He’s exhausted,” the guy in the water told us. Spud wasted no time and jumped right in “We’re from Lahaina Canoe Club” he said “and you’re going to be fine.”  Great line Spud!

I think the adrenaline was pumping for all of us as we managed to haul him into our canoe. We also took the other guy who was rescuing him into the canoe – lucky that we were an open four. One of the people on Black Rock was the drowning man’s wife, who I’m sure must have been frantic watching all this happen.

Once in the canoe, the man was okay. Very shaken, but more importantly alive! We took him back to the beach where a small crowd had gathered and there were some very appreciative and relieved employees from the Sheraton, who had been watching from shore and waiting for the lifeguards to arrive.

(L-R) Aviva, Spud, Laura and Amy. Well, kind of...

As we paddled back out, we passed the lifeguards who were arriving at the scene on a jet ski. “He’s on the beach,” Spud told them, “he’ll be fine.”

Snorkelling at Black Rock is one of the prime tourist activities at Ka’anapali Beach – it’s a busy beach, it looks pretty serene most of the time and there are normally plenty of other snorkellers around. What people don’t know, or perhaps don’t get told, is that this spot can also be treacherous. A number of people drown here or have near misses - exhausted by swimming against a rip tide, or taken out to sea, or simply out of depth in water they have no experience of.

Luckily today it was a near miss, but you have got to question the logic of people who are perhaps not used to the ocean, yet get themselves into a situation like this…

Thanks to Spud, Amy, Aviva and myself we were able to help. It was quite the experience and I’m glad we were there, representing LCC, to be a part of saving someone.

IMUA Lahaina!!!

Lahaina’s Keiki O Maui Regatta 2010

Posted in Keiki O Maui Regatta, Regatta Races 2010 with tags , , , , on July 19, 2010 by Laura_Greene

The first race wasn’t until 8am but Lahaina Canoe Club’s regatta started around 4.30am for its members. The day started with getting coffee ready at Livewire – Carlee’s cafe provided much needed caffeine supplies for the regatta so a few of us helped to get her set up. When we got up to Canoe Beach everyone was pitching in – it felt a bit manic at first but once the tables were set up, coffee was being served and breakfast service had started, everything started to fall into place.

Molly - serving up breakfast and coffee at LCC's food tent. Pic courtesy Carlee Sutherland.

The Novice B teams had organised a raffle and it was incredible to see the response we got from local businesses, who very kindly donated some amazing prizes. Erin and Kenny worked wonders in organising it all and it turned into a huge team effort, of which everyone played their part. It was last minute and there were some frayed nerves but it was seriously impressive. With just under $1600 raised it was also a great success. Imua to everyone involved!

Carlee - on much-needed coffee duty at the Keiki O Maui Regatta.

With discount card selling, raffle organising, breakfast service, giving all our keikis candy leis and more, there was little time for us to get nervous about our first race. Unlike other weeks we didn’t warm up, we didn’t have a pre-race pep talk and when we got out to our lane we didn’t have boat holders to hold us in place at the starting flags. Strangely, it seemed to work for us…

Lehia - our beautiful koa canoe. Pic courtesy Joe Morgan.

We were in lane six and Elisa was stroking, I was in seat two, Lindsey was in three, Aviva was in four, Erin was in five and Jenny was steering. It was a good crew and the boat felt great. We had a strong start and we were leading for most of the quarter-mile race. You have to keep looking straight ahead when you are racing but we could tell there was no-one out ahead of us. Three boats started to catch us up as we neared the finish line and we started to fall back near the end. It was really unfortunate not to come first and we finished three seconds behind first place. We were milliseconds from winning a medal – Hawaiian came in third with a time of 2:07.11, we registered a time of 2:07.91, Lae’ula O Kai were second with 2:05.96 and Kihei came in first with 2:04.84. We were so close! So, we won one point but we had a great race and enjoyed every second of it. It was definitely an improvement from the previous week where we came in last. If no warm-up worked for us it’s tempting to imagine what else might work? Hangover perhaps? Caffeine buzz maybe? No sleep?

The Novice B girls and a hanger-on, pictured before their race at the Keiki O Maui Regatta. Pic courtesy Joe Morgan.

In Kihei last week, our Novice A men smoked all the opposition – they had been consistently impressive all season with their wins but at the Moki Kalanikau regatta they were outstanding. They finished with a time of 7:55.04 – over 25 seconds ahead of their nearest rivals. Great work! This week things got even better for the Novice A’s. They built on the previous week’s result and finished in first place again with an even better time of 7:24.69. This was the fastest time in the state for their division all season and for the second year running they’ve sealed their place and first seeding at the state championships on Oahu – well done guys it’s an incredible achievement!

The Novice A men - they're going to states!! (L-R: Jordan, Seth, Michael, Mone, Eric, Luis and Kenny) Pic courtesy Carlee Sutherland.

More points were won from a variety of crews – our Keiki 12 A Boys won third place in their race, our Womens Juniors  took fourth place with a time of 8:45.20, the Open Four Men won two points with a time of 4:11.13, the Open Four Women earnt a point with a time of 5:19.00, the Men’s Juniors won three points in their one mile race, as did the Men’s 40 crew. Congratulations to all!

The whole day was amazing – we had face painters, magicians, food from Lulu’s, great races, a superb feeling of team spirit and so much more. We even had a pod of swimmer dolphins make an appearance during the Mixed novice B race - how’s that for entertainment? Adam – where did you hire the dolphins from? It was a masterstroke. What a great idea for the Keiki O Maui Regatta… ;-)

Lahaina's Eli Montoya and Nakai Young. Pic courtesy Carlee Sutherland.

When the races were over and the sun went down we had some lovely music from Marvin (who paddles for Napili) on the ukulele and Souley on the drums – it sounded gorgeous and fit the atmosphere perfectly. Beer flowed and flowed some more and Lahaina’s hale had a bit of remodelling in the shape of a stripper pole, flashing lights and a fog machine. Yes ladies and gentlemen, you read that correctly, a stripper pole. Ahem… I think the boys enjoyed dancing on it more than anyone else! I’m sure some embarrassing pics will start surfacing soon, so watch this space.

Daniel and Elisa - they will be missed! Pic courtesy Carlee Sutherland.

It was an amazing, unforgettable day and I think LCC did themselves proud. The only part that was not so good was the departure of two much-loved members of our team – Elisa and Daniel. They had a fantastic opportunity to move to Santa Cruz in California, to work on a NOAA research vessel and we all wish them well. We miss you already guys – you are great paddlers and even better friends. I am sad to see you go but so glad we could give you a send off with the Keiki O Maui regatta. Imua Elisa and Daniel, come back and visit us soon!

Many mahalos to all of you for reading and commenting on my blog – last week I hit the 2000 mark for page impressions and it’s building all the time. Thank you so much!

Aloha for now, Laura

Paddling and your body

Posted in Health, Training with tags , , , on July 8, 2010 by Laura_Greene

Bruises, callouses. aches and pains are all par for the course when it comes to paddling but so is one other thing – you will get fit. Not only does your overall fitness and stamina improve considerably with the right amount of practice but you will also see noticeable changes in your body shape. You may find yourself flexing in front of the bathroom mirror at your new-found muscles or comparing biceps with the rest of your crew. I know this for a fact as us Novice B girls have done it on more than one occasion. Normally after a couple of drinks. I hope they don’t mind me admitting it…

Don’t get me wrong, you don’t turn Schwarzenegger-esque overnight but you do start to see changes in your physique that are definitely caused by paddling.

Ha ha. It's not this extreme. But we haven't started long distance season yet...

Your shoulders and arms change a lot. When you’ve been paddling for a few years I’m sure you get used to it but, being in my first season, I am still delighted with the new definition in my shoulders that was never there before. Your lats, shoulder blades, biceps and forearms also feel stronger than ever. When comparing the benefits of paddling as a workout to the other girls we all confess to feeling ourselves up and loving the new definition in our upper bodies. We’ll be arm wrestling next, just you wait!

One of the girls' plank sessions at Canoe Beach.

A combination of ab workouts, swimming and time in the canoe really helps to shape your stomach and strengthen your core. Lower back pain (if you suffer from it) can be eased or even prevented by your new core strength. See! The benefits of this sport are endless. A combination of Clif bars, plate lunch and loads of beer after a regatta can also help to shape your physique but these reports are as yet unconfirmed. I’m willing to bank that they help.

It’s not only your upper body that benefits. You get a really good full-body workout in the canoe and I was surprised how much my bum and legs ached after the first few times I tried it. They still do ache actually, especially after long-distance pieces.

The cardiovascular aspect of paddling is also superb, especially in sprint races. When we first started training for this my heart would feel like it was going to burst through my chest but the more practice I got, the easier it became. Week by week you improve and you start to notice that it’s easier to breathe, your heart isn’t hammering away and your stamina gets better and better. The feeling that you are going to vomit starts to recede as the weeks pass as well. Which is nice.

Come and paddle, your heart will thank you for it!

As the endorphins pump around your body your worries disappear, a smile spreads across your face and you have fun with your team-mates – so paddling is good for your brain as well.

As for weight loss, paddling can definitely help. Of course, it depends what else you do outside of the boat but as part of a healthy lifestyle it can produce amazing results. Take Mardy RayRay for example. Mardy is an inspiration to us all – a dedicated paddler (who also follows a balanced diet and works out in the gym) he has lost over 130 pounds over the last year. A phenomenal achievement. There will be more from Mardy on here shortly, as he’s agreed to be interviewed about his weight loss. But seriously, he’s amazing. Imua Mardy!

Mardy, pictured at Kahana's regatta. Joe is pictured in the background. Pic courtesy Jenny Ashfield.

Ladies – you may drop dress sizes and you will probably drop bra sizes too. I can’t speak for everyone but I have definitely noticed that my size has decreased a lot since I started paddling. Bras that used to fit are now way too big. But I guess it’s part of toning up everywhere, it would be nice if your bust stayed the same but hey – you can’t have it all.

I thought it might make interesting reading to talk about the workout side of paddling on here, especially as a couple of fitness websites have linked and sent me traffic over the last few weeks. Men – if you have a spare couple of minutes I’d like to hear how paddling affects you and what changes you’ve seen in your fitness since you started. Ladies – I’d love to hear from you too, about your experiences, your injuries (hopefully not too many of these) and well, any agreements or disagreements about things I’ve mentioned in this blog.

Mahalo again for visiting, Laura.

A good bye week

Posted in Training with tags , , on July 6, 2010 by Laura_Greene

After getting into the rhythm of regattas it felt a little strange to wake up on Saturday without having to prepare for a race. It was a bye week, which means that it was a regatta-free weekend but it didn’t mean that we wouldn’t paddle. Far from it.

In fact, we’d been doing a lot of paddling all week and great sessions they were too. Our focus has been on long-distance training to keep us/get us into shape for the long distance season which is fast approaching. On Monday the girls took two boats up to S-Turns and back, as a round trip I’m told that this is about nine miles and it felt fantastic. Our new recruit Heather took to paddling right away and she did a really good job, welcome to the club Heather!

Canoes. Pic courtesy Jesse Brookes.

Wednesday’s session was in the other direction – we had just one boat and paddled towards Lahaina and the L Buoy. It was another great practice and, with a nice pace, we made good time. It was nice to get the opportunity to paddle with Amy and Molly who, as Junior women, are a few divisions ahead of us Novice Bs. We switched positions in the boat three or four times and it was great to see their technique and to learn from it. They’re both really supportive in the boat as well, and their encouragement really helps us all.

Lahaina's Junior Women. (L-R Leslie, Kelly, Arika, Molly, Amy and Kristi). Photo courtesy Adam Quinn.

As for Saturday… I loved every minute of it. The cramps in my bum, bruised body, blistered hands and aching muscles may suggest otherwise but it was excellent. Even before we got out on the water it was looking good as we had enough people to fill five boats. There were just four Novice B girls, so we were joined by Joe from the Novice B men.

The canoes set off at staggered times, to give each one a fair chance of not being left too far behind. Having a crew of five and being made up mainly of Novice B girls, we had to accept that we would always finish last and sure enough, in each section we were the last to arrive. This was fine but arriving last also meant that you had to leave first, so we didn’t get much rest time in between sections of our long-distance paddle.

From Mala we continued to the L Buoy, from there we continued to Puamana and from Puamana we continued to Launiopoko. This is about six miles all in all. When we got to Launiopoko our boat turned around and started to head back to Canoe Beach. The other four boats continued on towards Olowalu. I don’t know if they expected to catch us on our way back but they didn’t, ha! That pleased us…

I stayed in seat one for the entire paddle, with Lindsey (who is a great seat two) in seat two. Jenny, Erin and Joe took turns switching off in the steersperson’s seat and they all did an excellent job – especially Erin, whose steering allowed us to catch plenty of rolling waves on our way back to Canoe Beach – this increased our speed massively and was great fun to boot.

Lindsey demonstrates the benefits of long-distance paddling... Forest, Mardy and Daniel in the background. Pic courtesy Jenny Ashfield .

The final stretch was hard, really hard. At 12 miles it’s the longest paddle us girls have done yet and at times it felt really tough to carry on. That’s when your team-mates’ encouragement can really help and everyone was really supportive of each other and kept each other going. We all loved it and had a blast, despite the aches and pains.

Breakfast was on the cards in a big way after this session and a few of us headed down to Betty’s in Lahaina for as many eggs, pancakes, coffees, bloody mary’s, you name it, as we could handle. A nap was soon to follow, a great end to a wonderful morning.

Mahalo for reading, I’ll be back very soon with more. Laura

World Cup distractions and Novice A Men strike gold again

Posted in Regatta Races 2010, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 2, 2010 by Laura_Greene

I haven’t been blogging as much as I would have liked to over the last week or so. This may have a little to do with the fact that the World Cup is being played at the moment. Actually, it has a lot to do with that. But perhaps now that England have been so embarrassingly knocked out of the tournament I’m hoping to be more productive. My money and my hopes were then pinned on Brazil but after this morning’s game they’re gone too. Alas, I’m going to have to support Argentina at this rate…

Anyway… back to paddling. Last Saturday’s regatta was hosted by Na Kai Ewalu at Kahului Harbor and it was a beautiful day over on the other side of the island. The conditions were great, the wind wasn’t too strong and the harbor waters, which are renowned for being choppy and difficult to paddle in, weren’t too bad at all.

A gorgeous day at Kahului Harbor. Pic courtesy Michael Rains.

After our best time yet and placing fourth at the Kahana regatta, us Novice B girls wanted to push on and reach at least third place in Kahului. We didn’t. In fact, I was pretty disappointed with our performance. We finished sixth but officially got fifth place, after Kihei had been disqualified. Our timing was pretty horrendous and maybe I was to blame for this. I tried to go a little faster with my stroke as in previous weeks it had been a touch too slow, but maybe it was too fast and was hard to follow. Timing is the most basic of necessities when it comes to paddling and it can drive you crazy when it’s off. I definitely want us to have fun when we paddle and to enjoy every race but I’m competitive as well (in fact I had no idea how competitive I really was until I started paddling…) so if we don’t place then at least I want to know that we gave it 100 per cent. On Saturday I don’t think we did. The good thing to take from this is that we have lots to work on and an extra week before our next regatta, so hopefully we can improve in the areas that need strengthening.

And it’s not all doom and gloom as lots of our teams made us proud at the John Wilmington III Regatta. The Novice A men were outstanding and, again they took gold in their one mile race. They did so with a win time of  8:30.64. Imua Mone, Michael, Luis, Seth, Jordan and Eric, you guys were great! They made it to states last year as Novice Bs and it looks like they are close to making it there again. Well done to all of you!

Lahaina's Novice A Men, pictured after their first-place win. (L-R Jordan, Seth, Mike, Luis, Eric and Mone). Pic courtesy Michael Rains.

Our junior women’s crew (Kristi, Arika, Amy, Molly, Kelly and Leslie) won another well-deserved point in their one mile race. With a time of 9:51.00. Great work ladies!

Our Men’s Open Four won two points and our Men’s Juniors narrowly missed out on first place in their race, pipped to the post by Wailea by just three seconds, but earning a valuable three points for Lahaina Canoe Club. Our Men’s 40 team won first place with an outstanding performance, where they won with a time of 8:09.23, a full 21 seconds before Kahana who took second place. It was fantastic to watch from the beach, well done to Bear, Mark, Spud, Adam, Rich and J.P!

Ghana have just been knocked out of the World Cup by Uruguay and I’m off to watch some more of the highlights for that game but I’ll be back with more very soon. I promise!

A big mahalo to you for reading, Laura.

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