January 13, 2017

In September last year Kialoa was a sponsor of the Singapore Paddle Club's (SPC) annual Singapore Ocean Cup. This included the top lucky drawer prize of a Nehu Single Bend paddle and bag that would be sized to the winner and shipped to the country in which they live. The Ocean Cup included paddlers from Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, the USA and Singapore - so the shipping got everyone excited and over $800 worth of $2 tickets were sold. 

The lucky winner was SPC\ member Katya Münze. 

While thrilled to win, Katya decided that because she already owned three paddles, including one for her surf ski, that she would donate the Nehu Single Bend as a silent auction item at a fundraiser being held to raise money to purchase a mobile ultra-sound machine for the early detection of breast and cervical cancer by Yayasan Rama Sensana - a free medical clinic that improves the lives of thousands of women living and working throughout the island of Bali, Indonesia. The 120 people who attended the YRS fundraiser on 21 November 2015 (at No. 5 Swiss Cottage Road, a private residence that was generously made available for YRS fundraiser) in Singapore raised over $35,000 (the goal had been $21,000). The lucky bidder of the Kialoa Nehu Single Bend paddle at the YRS fundraiser was SPC member Ann Verbeek. Ann was excited to both contribute to the work of Balinese doctor, Dr Luh Putu Upadisari, the founder and director of YRS, and to also have a spare Kialoa paddle at the boat shed on Tanjong Beach on Sentosa - where SPC houses their boats and runs OC sessions from several days a week, 52 weeks a year (at six degrees north of the equator, the average temperature in Singapore ranges from 24-32 degrees celsius 365 days a year).

To save Kialoa from sending the paddle and bag to Singapore in late November, Ann waited and had it delivered to her in Vancouver, where she was visiting with friends over Christmas. (first trip to Canada for Ann, who also made the most of the holiday with a week of skiing at Whistler) 

Back in Singapore and after months away from OC paddling due to training for the dragon boat Club Crew World Championships in April 2016, where SPC won medals in 11 of the 12 events they entered, including a gold, Ann finally had an opportunity to put the Nehu to use. There were about 45 SPC paddlers heading out on a sunny late April morning and fellow SPC paddler, Frances Alleblas, missed out on getting a club paddle from the shed. Without hesitation Ann lent her new "spare". The result was that Frances thought it was great, and asked for the details to order one direct from Kialoa…it happened to be Frances' birthday and her enthusiasm led to a secret discussion with between Ann and Steven, Frances' husband. The rest is history. Steven bought the paddle from Ann to surprise Frances later that evening over a birthday dinner. Since April, the Nehu has been to Hawaii and back, raced in a recent Stengah and the Singapore Country of Origin race - with Frances steering a triumphant Dutch crew. 

Story courtesy of Ann Verbeek

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