Canoe paddling offered at Hanama‘ulu Beach Park

HANAMA‘ULU n The Kaua‘i County launched this week the first session of Hanama‘ulu Hui Wa‘a, a new canoe paddling program for youth, at the Hanama‘ulu Beach Park, where participants learned the basics.

“By the end of this 10-week program, we hope that the students will be proficient at Hawaiian canoe paddling,” co-instructor Francis Takasaki, said in a release.

Takasaki and Francis Lopez are team teaching four groups of middle and high school students, covering all aspects of canoe paddling including historical and cultural, technical, navigational, water safety and training.

According to Lopez, an individual isn’t taught many of the skills and techniques associated with canoe paddling. Only the most senior and experienced paddlers are exposed to the nuts and bolts of the sport

“We want to share all that we know about canoe paddling with the kids,” Lopez said. “It doesn’t make sense for us to keep this knowledge to ourselves.”

One of the two canoes used in the program will have to be repaired by members of the program before it can be put in the ocean.

“The students will be taught simple repair techniques, and hopefully they’ll have the canoe seaworthy in a few weeks,” said Takasaki.

A highlight of the program will be each participant fabricating his own paddle using a template.

“Everyone will get to choose what style of paddle they want to make,” Takasaki said.

The main objective of the program is to offer positive activities at Hanama‘ulu Beach Park, where problems such as drug trafficking have kept the public from using the park in the past.

“We want to keep negative energy away from the park by having positive things for the kids and families to do,” said Takasaki.

Although the session has started, there are still a few slots open. However, enrollment is limited.

For more information, call Takasaki at 651-3655.

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