Dave Chun gripped his paddle and made the precise, deep stroke he has honed on outrigger canoes in his native Kailua, Hawaii. But because he lives in Bend and it’s wintertime, he makes do with a cable-rigged paddling simulator until the Deschutes River is sufficiently thawed this spring.
“This is mind-numbingly boring,” Chun said with a laugh, replacing the paddle atop the machine. Chun, 60, retains his sanity — and his paddling physique — during Central Oregon’s frozen months by weight training in the workshop and office dedicated to Kialoa, the paddle company he co-founded with his wife, Meg Chun, in 1991.
“Our 45-foot-long canoes are trapped behind a berm of snow,” Chun said of the Bend Oregon Outrigger Canoe Club’s four six-person boats. “That’s not something you experience in Hawaii.”
Along with renowned surfboard-maker Gerry Lopez, Chun is one of the most well-known Hawaii natives in Central Oregon. The Bend Oregon Outrigger Canoe Club, whose season begins April 1, is perhaps the most iconic manifestation of our adopted Hawaii community, of which an indiscernible number call Central Oregon home.