Hanalei Canoe Club re-opening youth program

  • Photo courtesy Ka’ui Fu

    In this Aug. 2018 photo, memebers of Hanalei Canoe Club stop for a photo during the Hawaii Canoe Racing Association State Championship at Ke’ehi Lagoon at Oahu. From left: Emma Simmons, Leimomi Rosa, Lei Sitani, coach Ka’ui Fu, Ella Beck, Sydney Doi and Sarah Burrell.

HANALEI — North Shore paddling association Hanalei Canoe Club will re-establish its youth program and begin practices next week.

The club initially was not going to have a youth program this season because of limited access to Weke Road leading to the club hale, but it found a new location for the young paddlers to practice.

“In the beginning of the year, we were just going to wait until the construction was done. But they’re still fixing the road. It’s still blocked off a little bit past the pavilion,” said Sarah Zietz, Hanalei Canoe Club youth coach. “The men and women, we started on time. We just walk to the club, but it is pretty sketchy.

“There’s the road, and then there’s the drop-off on each side. We didn’t want the kids to be coming to practice until the parents can drive them in. We were told it would be done on this date and this date, but they’re still working on it. It turned into, ‘I guess we’re not doing youth this year.’ But then, we found a new spot to do it.”

While the adult paddlers will continue to hold practices at the club hale, the youth paddlers will practice at Waipa Beach.

“When I saw that (the road wasn’t going to open), I started looking into different locations,” Zietz said. “A lot of our paddlers, they either work or are a part of the Waipa Foundation in some way. Me and my kids spend a lot of time down at Waioli River right there. I was looking at it, and I was thinking about how perfect it would be to launch a canoe. A friend of mine from the canoe club asked her friend at Waipa, and they gave us the go-ahead this week. So, we’re starting next week.”

The youth program is for paddlers ages 10 through 18. The first practice will be held Monday at 3 p.m., and practices will run Monday through Thursday.

Zietz requests that parents contact her prior to Monday’s practice at 346-6865.

The Kauai Outrigger Association is currently in-season. The KOA Island Championship regatta is scheduled for July 20, and the Hawaii Canoe Racing Association State Championship regatta is set to be held on Kauai on Aug. 3.

“States is on Kauai this year, so it’s a great year to paddle,” Zietz said.

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Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or ncelario@thegardenisland.com.

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