Kauai youngsters win on TV show

KAPAA — Nate Sullivan, 12, and Kaile McKeown, 13, are thinking of applying for the third filming of “Paradise Run” by Nickelodeon.

“I’m a friend of Zeke Gamby who did the ‘Paradise Run’ last year,” Sullivan said. “I saw the show and thought it was pretty cool. We could do it.”

The Mystic Art Pictures talent team is back in Hawaii, auditioning teams of two for the hit competition show.

Deadline for young people between the ages of 11 to 15 years old is Friday, said Angela Tillsen, the casting director for “Paradise Run.”

“This is a great opportunity for young people to experience something different, challenge themselves and learn teamwork — all in such a beautiful setting like the Waikoloa Resort on the Big Island,” she said.

The series follows three teams racing across a luxurious resort in Hawaii, competing in a sequence of funny and adrenaline-pumping challenges with the goal of vying for the ultimate prize — a paradise vacation.

Contestants must not have appeared on a game or reality show in the past year and must be available for up to 48 hours to film on the Big Island on May or June.

Contestants must also be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States or Canada, and applications must be done by the contestant’s legal guardian under their own profile.

Nai‘a and Neva Burkart were selected to participate in the first filming.

“We had to work with three different scenarios,” said Nai‘a, a freshman at Kapaa High School. “On the morning of the filming, we were very nervous. It was surreal. Neva had to figure out a puzzle, but we didn’t know what we were doing so I kept yelling words. The second scene involved putting Styrofoam blocks together to form a tiki matching the picture. We were lucky because we know what tiki look like. The other teams didn’t know, and to make things more challenging, we had to match lines.”

The hardest challenge was the third one where teams had to fill a bucket of water to get the ping pong balls which were at the bottom of the bucket.

“It was so gnarly,” Na‘ia said. “We had to get the water from a waterfall using a paddle-boat. This was the hardest. Everyone else had the same idea — get to the waterfall and open everything to get water to collect in the boat. Turtles. There were turtles everywhere and we were scared we were going to hit them because the boat was hard to maneuver with all the water. But, it was fun, and I would do it again.”

Zeke and his sister Jackson competed in the second filming.

“Our first challenge involved sponge suits similar to the sumo ones,” Zeke said. “We had to fill it with water and to fill the buckets, we had to hug each other. That was pretty hard because the suits, when filled with water, get pretty heavy. The third challenge was hard. We had to swim around and get turtle eggs (represented by water balloons). We had to catch them without breaking and release them.”

Tillsen said this is the third year she’s representing Paradise Run.

“This has been very rewarding,” she said. “I get to work with young people and watch them develop teamwork and using their minds to solve problems. The good thing is that if selected, Nickelodeon takes care of everything, including flying the kids and a parent to the Big Island for the filming.”

Both the Burkart sisters and the Gamby siblings finished their episodes by winning first place.

“We got to choose between money or a four-day stay at the Dolphin suite at the Waikoloa,” Zeke said. “We chose the money since we had our own vacation already planned. “

Nai‘a said they selected the return to the Dolphin suite.

“This was so cool,” Nai‘a said. “Your room is right over the dolphins, and in the morning, you can have breakfast and just go down to pet the dolphins.”

Information: 635-3710.

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