Na Wahine O Ke Kai

Sabrina Schwanebeck -Jericho

Longing to race Na Wahine O Ke Kai again this year I found myself absolutely miserable. The race date was coming closer and I came to the resolve that I would not be there. Jericho was not attending this year and I had been replaying the past years’ races in my mind.

Then as if by magic, the sun came out. One minute I was reading emails and
the next minute I was booking a flight to Maui. Oh my God!! Zoe
Norcross (formally from False Creek) now from Hawaiian Canoe Club was
trying to recruit paddlers to race! All of a sudden I knew I was
going to race in the World Outrigger Championships again and what
elation! Oh joy!! Oh rapture!!! Email to airport was approximately 5
days and so off I go…

The moment I got off the plane, the heat and smell of plumerias
filled me with excitement and relief that I was finally there. One
practice with the crew (mostly surfing) and I feel like I have always
paddled with them. They were all so nice and welcoming. Aloha
permeates our practice. Day before race day we ferry over to Molokai
and it is nearly flat!! Oh no, don’t tell me I’ve come for a flat
crossing! Apparently the trades weren’t due till Monday. The race is
Sunday. I had been missing the girls from my home club and was frantically
on email to Jericho women asking them to whistle us up some wind.
Well…it worked!! The trades actually hurried over for Sunday. The
Channel gave us solid 4 to 8 foot seas and averaged 15-20 knots.
Don’t know how that worked, but the paddling Gods were smiling on us.

We finished the race with a battle to the last second with Healani
and ended with a time of 6:38:32. Great finish to go with a great
race! I give much Mahalo to Zoe and the women of Hawaiian Canoe Club
and Coach Jonny Mac. They welcomed me into their paddling family and
I loved getting to know them all. Hopefully I will see you all again
one day.

Mahalo,
Much Aloha,
Sabrina Schwanebeck
Jericho

A Rookie’s Perspective On Molokai

by Shauna Halferty – Jericho

I’m home sweet home and getting back into the swing of school. I try to concentrate but I think I’m still in shock of what we just accomplished. Think about what we just did together- I know this isn’t the first time for all of us but it is a pretty amazing feat.

This race definately has changed my life, and the physical, mental and emotional limits I have put on myself and on people in general. We have all trained very hard to build our bodies into paddling machines; early mornings, solos, the gym, cold water changes, you name it, pushing ourselves and each other to be the best we can be.

I was prepared for the physical aspect and I knew I had to be mentally focussed- (As a wise, and large I gather, Hawaiian told Teresa and Gung-Ho “It’s all up here” tapping the head). I thought I was ready and all I had to do was race. That day changed the way I think about outrigger and about what we as people can do and overcome, physically, mentally and emotionally.

I am fairly new to this sport and to athletics in general, I have never experienced the emotion, the overwhelming emotion of love and support that I felt and still feel from all you girls, and I thank you for that. Keskula- You are a machine, and I know with your determination you’ll go where you want to go. Karen- you smarty pants with the huge lats(we newbies did it!). Sabrina- you are so focussed and thoughtful- with studying and paddling, awesome. Miss Bell- you’re friendship and warmth and laughter have been a true happiness in my life. Jenn, I’m so glad to have had your strength in the boat and cheerful support- thanks also to Ken who supported you. Wendy- you tough cookie! Your bruises truly prove the dedication necessary in this sport- thank you for your work organizing over the year and your little pushes of encouragement to me- I felt them. Colleen- your experience and leadership is greatly appreciated, your calm and spiritual side has woke me up and thank you so much for your faith in me race morning! Sandra- you are amazing- your indispensible energy and positive encouragement are inspiring. Your children are very lucky. T- your words are always thoughful and full of insight, thank you so much for your calm and soothing visualizations, advice and physical dedication you are an inspiration and I can see firsthand, a good mother.

I now know that paddling is about more than the sport, the training and the physical aspect, I think that the big wise Hawaiian might have sent the message clearer if he had said- “It’s all in here” (tapping the heart)

Thanks to all of you and hope to see you all soon, my family,
Love, Shauna

Safety Lesson Learned

Jan – Jericho

Hello paddlers:

Well, it seems that Jericho made the news Apr. 23 – on many radio stations, including CBC. In case you haven’t heard, we had a bit of a mishap the previous night – Apr. 22.

12 of the Jericho women went out for a paddle that night. The wind was up (30+ knots) and the water was big (6 foot and bigger waves). We debated for awhile if we should even go out. The boats didn’t have spray skirt as they had been removed for repairs. We finally decided to go out, head to Kits and stick close to shore.

With the wind and waves behind, paddling down to Kits was a blast, big surf and all. Then we had to turn around. At first, it was just a slog. The boats were near each other and we got hit by a big wave. 2 people were bailing in each boat. We got hit by another big wave. The boats were swamped.

We did our safety checks. PDF’s went on, heads counted and as much as possible, paddles collected. We did lose a couple of paddles.

We then did everything we could to try and turn the boats so that we could huli them or point ourselves downwind to start again, but the water was too big. Bailing was futile as more water poured in for every bucket out. Both boats had the same problem. We were slowly moving them towards the Vancouver Yacht Club as that was our closest point of land. We had a couple people paddling and a couple swimming and pushing boats.

After about 15 minutes of this, the docks guys from the Yacht club came out in their rescue boat. It wasn’t easy for them to get near the canoes as we were getting bounced about so much. But, they got 6 of us out of the water, and back to their Yacht club. By the time we got on the dock, the Coast Guard had come up from Burrard and got the other 6 paddlers. Paddlers had been in the water 20-30 minutes.

We were all huddled in the Yacht Club shower room, soaked to the skin and the paramedics came to check us out. We were all fine, in a shivering sort of way. We were provided with heat packs and lots of blankets, and checked out to see that no one had hypothermia. We were lucky to have been in that water for as long as we were and come out with nothing but crazy shakes. It was quite the production to get a few people warmed up, then back to Jericho to pick up bags of cloths and gear, and then to get everyone dry and on their way home. The dock guys from the Yacht club pushed the boats in and tied them up there.

Anyway – obviously we should have handled things differently. We could have stayed off the water, but of course from shore, it didn’t look that bad. We should have headed west first, to test how bad the water was. But, as we had stayed near shore, we were spotted quickly when it was obvious we were in trouble. Unfortunately, the boats did suffer some damage and that hurts our club.

The paddlers were all great – no one panicked and everyone did what they could. We were all in good spirits, if not feeling incredibly silly. Imagine having the docks guys, the Coast Guard and the ambulance service coming out after you….. All these people were great. They took care of us and no one called us a bunch of twits for being out there.

A few thoughts for outrigger safety that clubs may want to consider. ALWAYS have enough pdf’s on board. A safety kit may be in order. A dry bag stowed on the boat could include a flares, a throw rope, lights, flags and a marine radio.

Thanks to everyone for remaining calm. Thanks to the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, the Coast Guard and the paramedics.

We’ll be back on the water, lessons learned and safety in mind.

Jericho Women