March 31, 2018

It was Molokai Hoe Sunday 2017 and I was intently following the progress of Lanikai Canoe Club as they raced across the Kaiwi Channel. I have been a fan of LCC men since they began using KIALOA Paddles in 1991. Five Molokai wins and seven different paddle models later, Lanikai was racing across the Kaiwi Channel with a new KIALOA paddle, the Paea.


The saga of the Paea started with an end of season request for a more rigid blade from coach Karel Tresnak. The timing was perfect as I had just completed production tooling on the Paea. Named for the town in Tahiti where I did the final testing, the 120 square inch surface area blade, designed for an aggressive catch, was a perfect match for the fit and fast crew. Response time expectations in the digital age are immediate and while it might have appeared to the crew that I had conjured up their "perfect" paddle in a weekend, the reality was the Paea was a culmination of a year of work spanning numerous prototypes, molds, and field test locations that included The Deschutes River, Oahu, and Tahiti.


As I stood alone on Duke Kahanamoku Beach and watched Lanikai paddle through the finish line in third place, I celebrated like the introvert I am. Emotionless on the outside. Choking back tears of joy inside.  After a quarter century, I am glad Lanikai and my paddles still can evoke so much emotion.

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