It takes quite a lot to annoy me but I must admit to feeling a bit irritated a few weeks ago at the responses some people had when I told them that I paddled for Lahaina Canoe Club. “Aah, the lazy club.” I was told. “Oh, the club that doesn’t win anything.” they added.


Now, I don’t know if these people said this because they were trying to put my nose out of joint (the ama already took care of that thank you very much…) or if perhaps they feel a little bit threatened by LCC or if they just don’t know what they are talking about but I can tell you this – Lahaina Canoe Club is definitely not lazy.

Not only do we practice as much as possible out on the water but we also cross-train with swimming, running and abdominal exercises on the beach. We do this a minimum of three times a week. We also incorporate running, swimming and paddling time trials (see last Saturday’s post) into our training. Plus, there is all the extra exercise we do on our own away from the club. Now call me crazy if you want, but that really doesn’t sound lazy…

The three hales at Canoe Beach (L-R) Napili, Lahaina and Kahana.

Take Saturday’s practice, for example. It was hard. It was long, testing and tough. We started off with a warm-up to Black Rock and then two twenty minute pieces up north. Perhaps this felt a bit harder in our boat – we had six girls and also Barry, who was sitting behind Jenny on the hump (which I think is called the pale kai?) to give her some tips on steering. Sitting in seat one, I could really feel the extra weight on the canoe and by the time we got back to Canoe Beach I was starting to feel quite tired.

But we were nowhere near finished at that point. The Novice B girls did four quarter-mile sprints – the first two felt great. It was really good to go hell for leather and to practice our sprint starts. When we thought we might be nearing the end of our session, three more Lahaina canoes joined us – for more sprints. If my memory serves me correctly, we did four more quarter mile sprints and two half-mile sprints before doing a three-quarter mile warm-down.

It may not sound like an overwhelming amount of paddling but, believe me, it was tough. Every time we did a new sprint we would start off well before dipping in speed at around the half-way mark. I think it was as testing mentally as it was physically, maybe more so. We didn’t know how many sprints we would be doing and, personally speaking, every time Barry said we had to go again, there was a big struggle between my brain and my body about whether I could actually do it.

From our conversations afterwards, the other girls in my boat felt the same way but we were all in agreement that the more long, hard days like this that we have – the easier a quarter-mile sprint will be on race days. Well, in theory anyway… For all the grumbling that our shoulders may have been doing, it felt fantastic and by the time we got back to the beach we were totally wiped out, in a good ‘I have worked my ass off’ kind of way. It’s a positive sign that we are putting 100 per cent into it.

I have to mention Cynthia at this point – she is a Novice A paddler and was sitting in seat three with us on Saturday. She was a great example of how the right words of motivation at the right time can make a world of difference. For example, I was really struggling at certain points in our last few sprints and, just as my mind was beginning to tell my body that it couldn’t go on, Cynthia would say “Don’t get tired on me now. Stay with your team.” or “We’re all here behind you.” It’s amazing how much these words can lift you up. Sometimes, in seat one, you feel like you are in your own world as you are so focused on keeping the right rhythm going, so it’s wonderful to hear some positive words from behind you. It really worked. Thank you Cynthia!

After paddling, we helped out with some work around the hale. We are going to have some showers installed at the back, so we needed to build a drainage area/rock walkway. A few of us girls helped out by collecting porous rocks from Canoe Beach and taking them in a wheelbarrow up to the hale – where some of the guys were constructing the drainage area and laying water pipes. After lots of paddling, lifting loads of rocks and heavy wheelbarrows was harder than normal, but it was good to help out. We definitely deserved a few beers that afternoon. 


Working hard at the hale.

Spud, JP, Mark and Adam working at Lahaina's hale.

That’s all for today, I’ll be back soon with news from Monday’s training session. Thank you for visiting, aloha for now, Laura.

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