How To Paddle Fast

I am writing this post to share what I believe what makes paddlers fast and what we (Hawaii) need to focus on to beat Tahiti. I don't believe it is to late for anyone reading this post to become a champion, but it will take hard work and change. Here are a couple points.

1) Technique: There are a lot of different ideas on how to paddle. What is correct, and what are the Tahitians doing? To paddle fast, the power must be in the beginning of the stroke. There is only one power phase and that is when the blade is planted in the water. Many men love to rip the water because they feel it is making them go fast. The truth is that if you are ripping water you are not paddling your most efficient stroke. The best thing to think about paddling correctly is to put the blade in with out a splash. Think that your blade is going into cement. You then are applying power to pull your self past the blade. You are never pulling water to you, you are pulling yourself in the boat past your paddle. This allows you to paddle with the body and get the greatest lift. This also keeps all the power in front because if you don't get the blade out early or you pull to far back then the boat will not get a true glide. Once you make a good stroke and get your blade out of the water then it is about maintaining top speed with least amount of work. I think about spinning a basketball on my finger. To keep the ball going, you are tapping it. If you hold your fingers on the ball to long, then the spin (speed) is lost and the ball falls off your finger. So, to paddle correctly, its about putting the blade in the water cleanly and applying power ONLY in the front and repeating.
Okay, you are probably thinking, " Pat, we all know this." Of course you have heard this, but there are not many people that actually do this. The Tahitians do this. It is naive to believe the Tahitians are going fast just because their stroke rate. If everyone in the 6 man is paddling what I think is "correct," then they will be fast. For crews to pick up the stroke rate and believe they will go faster is dumb. In sprint kayaking, there are two world class 1000 meter kayakers that will make my point. One kayaker paddles at a 100 stroke rate, while the other paddles at a 120 and they both finish the race within a second of each other. They both are putting power in the front and getting it out before their hip. So it is about what works for the individual paddler or the crew. If people in Hawaii train properly then, paddling at a higher rate will come. But, I see Hawaii crews trying to do a high stroke rate, and all they are doing is slapping water and not getting a efficient DISTANCE PER STROKE. A high stroke is not good if you are not moving the boat further then a lower stroke rate would. It comes with feel.
I have watched video of Shell and what they are doing is they all apply the power up front together and move the boat each stroke. When it comes time to go for a bump, they all can bring up the stroke rate efficiently and get on easily. They have the greatest boat speed because they move the boat the greatest distance for each stroke they put in. I am not saying brining up the stroke rate is wrong, but Hawaiians, we need to feel the boat speed for each stroke. Not just bring up the stroke rate and believe we are doing the right thing. Each crew is different, you got to find what works for your crew.

2) Training: You must train properly. There are many different theories but what I believe is that to be a good distance paddler you must also sprint. As endurance athletes, all body systems must be worked from the O2 system to the creatine phosphate system. Don't get me wrong, most work will be done aerobically but all other zones of training will be worked in different proportions. No person can tell me that in a long surf race you are not sprinting at any time. Surfing requires short bursts of power and speed. How are you going to have that power and speed if you don't practice it. Endurance is easy, paddle long and keep it aerobic. What Hawaii is not doing, is learning to sprint. Look at world sprints, the Tahitians spank us because they know how to get the boat up the quickest and with the most speed. Again this comes with feel. To just bring up the stroke rate because you are sprinting is wrong. The crew needs to be paddling together correctly so the stroke rate can rise, and the boat speed will come up. Tahiti does this and that is why they get on any bump on a southern line in Molokai with a bad tide. They have speed to get on anything, and they do it with the least amount of strokes so they can rest and recover down the wave. The Tahitian stroke is the old Hawaiian stroke without the long pull. They twist and use the big muscles. Big muscles = core, not arms. And to change to all double bends is cool, but why are you doing that? If you like it and paddle better with it, good on you, keep on using it. But, if you get one because the Tahitians use them, maybe you should think about it what you are trying to do.

Alright I believe I have said enough for now. If you want to talk or have any questions, call me. I will be happy to talk to anyone about what I believe. I hope this makes some sense and sorry for my poor grammar. I am a kayaker, not a writer.

Submitted by PatDolan on Wed, 10/21/2009 - 8:05am

Thanks for sharing your wisdom. Having never heard of a creatine phosphate system, clearly I have a lot to learn. Tapping the spinning basketball is a good analogy.Where can we view the Shell video you mention?

#1 Wed, 10/21/2009 - 8:54am

Thank you Pat! That was awesome to read =) I believe in all that too. And you make me think about my stroke more carefully.... I'll be paying attention to that next time I go to the water!!! So thank you much!
I also think we need more coaches, good coaches, confident coaches!
Someone confident enough to make "us" follow the leader on whatever he says!
From what you just wrote, you can be a good coach!

#2 Wed, 10/21/2009 - 9:06am

Thanks Pat. Well said.

#3 Wed, 10/21/2009 - 9:05am

good to see you and Ryan home for the hoe. I only wish both of you continued success in the future.

I cannot agree with you more about what you just posted and your thoughts about going fast...agree 100%. Bottomline, its the 'feel'. The problem is, you cannot teach that. The feel comes with hours of time in the boat, time 'together' in the boat. That is why Team Hawaii struggles at Hawaiki Nui. Great paddlers, but what, maybe 2 or 3 practices together in the 6 man?? If Team Hawaii could come together in January, stay together all through paddling season through Molokai Hoe, then go up to Tahiti, I believe we would see better results.

Anyway, developing that feel....answer is one manning. Paddling our OC1's or V1's is the answer...hours and hours of one manning. One manners see the ocean developing in front of them, and will get on bumps much quicker than non one manners. Getting that feel for a bump before it happens gives any team an edge. IMHO, one manning is the single most important tool to help paddlers develop that feel.

Now, one manning in the V1's will help with the stroke technique, that short up front bursts that Pat is talking about.....hours in the V1. You HAVE to paddle up front with a short burst in the V1's simply because that is the stroke required to move it forward, yet be able to make quick grabs to correct your steering. Short quick grabs are needed to steer the V1 as you paddle. When you watch the Tahitians paddle 6 man, they rarely take more than 10 strokes on one side...they average about 6-7 strokes then change, quick changes, short bursts. This I attribute to their hours in the V1.

The last thing about the Tahitians is their timing...entry, exit...impeccable...truely beautiful to watch. Every single stroke is exactly the same, entry...pull..exit. I can watch video of them for hours. How do you develop that precision?? Hours of practice TOGETHER. Yes, having a job that allows the entire crew to put in the time. Tahitians refuse to say that they are professionals, but we all know that they are. I would love to have a job where I can paddle...pump gas...lift weights....pump gas...then paddle...then go home. Awesome gig....

Sermon pau, church is over. Good luck to Team Hawaii at Hawaiki Nui.


#4 Wed, 10/21/2009 - 10:30am

Well said, Pat Dolan.

#5 Wed, 10/21/2009 - 11:30am

Awesome to see someone at the high caliber of sports sharing on this forum and contributing information! Man, you had one heck of a surfski race in New York - that was some narly conditions - 4 degree celsius with 25 to 40 mph - whats the wind chill on that? Just to finish that race would have been an accomplishment but to come in 5th place is an impressive performance. I saw a picture of one guy wearing boots and plastic bag or something on his hands to protect from the cold.
How many miles do you put in a week of training?

#6 Wed, 10/21/2009 - 10:58am

I'm looking for some tips for my crew to keep up training through the winter since our lakes freeze YAY! Not so much! Anyway we have access to gyms etc. but I'm wondering if Cardio or weights are more important in the off season or equal? Is it better to use static equip? or free weights better? it's a Womans team I'm focused on.. any advise would be great..

more info: I've been paddling DB for 12 years, started OC 2 years ago, paddled in the 5.5mile v12 at the Queen lili this year, raced in Vegas.... our goal is to race the 18 mile queen lili in 2010. We have everything from brand new paddlers this year (that caught on very fast and are very dedicated) to 6 yr paddlers not so dedicated.... any thoughts?

#7 Wed, 10/21/2009 - 12:12pm

Rowing ergometer w/ paddle attachment if you absolutely can't get water, in addition to the other things you mentioned.

#8 Wed, 10/21/2009 - 12:55pm

excluding all my posts, of course, that was the best has seen.

#9 Wed, 10/21/2009 - 9:23pm

Nice Pat ,,,you summed it up.

#10 Wed, 10/21/2009 - 4:50pm


Thanks a TON.

I only wish that more of the top paddlers - and especially the paddlers who are training (and being coached) in the way you are - would share the way you just did.

I really appreciate your writing this.
Thank you so much.

#11 Wed, 10/21/2009 - 6:00pm

What you are saying seems to make sense to me. I have heard some of it before. I think application is difficult unless you are starting a crew from the ground up. We are often too anxious to get out and start hammering away instead of taking the painstaking time to really break down the stroke and work technique. That will be my new goal.

I'm curious what mix of workouts you and your brother are doing. Weights/Cross training/paddling?

Also, if anyone has suggestions (in addition to a "Rowing ergo meter w/ paddle attachment") on workouts for those with limited water time please share.

#12 Wed, 10/21/2009 - 7:45pm

I agree with Pat. He has a good understanding of several paddling based sports. Not to mention on a competitive level.
To all the people out there thinking that we need to change our stroke because the Tahitians are beating us with their stroke, ... you guys are out to lunch. Your common sense needs some work. How are you going to use their stroke if you can't keep up with it. It's as Pat said, you need to do the same training before you go anywhere with their stroke. As a paddler ,I enjoyed watching several Hawaii teams try to paddle with a shorter higher paced stroke this season. It was quite entertaining, especially towards the end of the race when they couldn't keep up with themselves and the whole canoe looked like a bunch of spinning wheels. Comedy! Basically if you want to beat them you need to train like them. A large sacrifice for the most of us, especially if we have jobs and family. Our State doesn't give the same support to the sport as Tahiti government gives to it, Our federation isn't much of a federation and we don't have the big Corporations involved as they do. Hence we need to sacrifice a heck of a lot more to accomplish this goal. It can be done , but we need to have a bunch of good paddlers willing give a lot up and also believe in what we have. The biggest thing that kills me is that plenty Hawaiians want to be like a Tahitian. Brudda, there's nothing wrong with us ,but there is something wrong with believing in who we are.
Forget the V-1 and HVA, we need to get our kids into Kayaking and K-1, it will take them way beyond what any V-1 will take them. If our kids can make the US team in Flat water Kayaking , many dreams can come true. V-1 won't get you a college education but Kayaking can. NUFF said.

#13 Wed, 10/21/2009 - 8:58pm

I agree with Pat too. And nearly everything else said in this thread. Pat's two points are spot on with regard to technique and training. If you watch Shell, there's nothing really special that they do. They just put in the time that they can do it to a level of perfection not accomplished in by anyone else.

But, Kai Bartlett, to say that v-1 and HVA is a waste of time is hysterical. Organizing a group of young and upcoming paddlers, providing a well thought out training schedule, and chasing after funding for a trip to the world's most competitive outrigger canoe race is hardly taking away olympic dreams and college educations.

Yes, HVA did recently have a meeting for their paddling development program, and yes two of the attendees are kayakers with big dreams. But in no way is HVA going to interfere with what they are doing. There were 28 other young adults that were super excited about this program that as far as I know have no serious interest in kayaking. In fact, many of them are already college students and I'm sure are doing quite well.

So as someone who has helped bring paddling to a new level and as a role model for every paddler in Hawai'i, I'd like to think you would support a non-profit organization designed to raise the level of competition. But brudda, whatever you like. NUFF said.

#14 Wed, 10/21/2009 - 9:37pm

There is definitely passion and love for this sport that is unparalleled based on all thats been said - there is also much we can learn when we come together as one. Pat's definitely got a big heart and giving spirit

e kuhikuhi pono i na au iki a me na au nui o ka 'ike

I still wanna know how the heck did he kayak for 3:46 in what was possibly sub-zero temperatures with wind chill factored in - for a local boy, that is one true braddah!

#15 Wed, 10/21/2009 - 10:40pm

IMHO. If going by all the opinions and what could be read as 'excuses', Hawaiian teams should be even more proud of what they are accomplishing.

I applaud the HVA guys and every other coach + folks who volunteer their life + time and experience to help others develop and grow.

123 ... don;t know you at all, but that last paragraph does seem out of context to everything , and what people ( your fans ) might expect to hear from you ... like, what the heck are you talking about ??? If anyone is thinking college for sports, it aint paddling. To me it feels weird to hear one of the biggest guys in the sport putting up the same 'scripted' of sorts lines / excuses. Yeah, we know that already kine ... your passion is there with the "something is wrong in believeing who we are" line but it just reads contradictory.


edit ... forgot ... Maybe we need more of these

#16 Thu, 10/22/2009 - 12:07am

HYsterical, no just a distraction from what other things are out there to achieve. It's too bad that HCKT isn't pushing it as hard as HVA because there's more to offer with Kayaking. Don't get too wound up buddy.
All in all it's good what you guys are trying to do for the kids but it will only get them to race in Tahiti and be better paddlers ,possibly. Getting into Flatwater kayaking has a lot more to offer for their future as athletes.
Maybe i came off too hard, sorry boys for the pinch.

#17 Thu, 10/22/2009 - 7:03am

Fighters like boxers have passion and commitment to get to the top, and hopefully get a big paycheque to go with it. Only some succeed, but always there are those with the heart to try even though there is no college entry to go with the sport.
Football offers better prospects of college it sounds like 123 says to drop any ideas about boxing and stick to football...... This while he is supposed to be a boxer.

Some people are motivated more by money, and my guess is that Tahitian paddlers are motivated by something deeper than that.........interesting point is that 123 makes money from OC1 and not V1.

#18 Thu, 10/22/2009 - 8:09am

I can hear the Tahitians laughing at us all the way from Tahiti (Hiro, I can hear).....typical Hawaiians, always grumbling and cannot agree on anything. I agree with everything shared on this thread. This is a great thread. Yes, I wish more of the heavy hitters would put in their 5 cents as well. (TC, Jim F., Manny, Luke, Mike J., Pat E.,etc.).

HVA...maika'i, wish you guys continued success. Keizo and the gang...train our kids in the V1, get them going. I hate to see our kids regularly getting spanked at the World Sprints. Shoot, they cannot even make the finals at the sprints. I hope the V1 training helps.....and, BTW, hope Kamanu Composites sell a bunch of V1's. So, question is, are you guys truly concerned about Hawaii getting spanked or is this just a great promotional gig to sell V1's? That is a legitimate question, but I know you guys are concerned about paddling and how far back our kids are.

123...totally agree, Kayaking will open doors big time. Dolan boys are living examples. Nalu Kukea and some of the other pioneers in Kayaking are too. The Dolans are able to jump from one dicipline to another with no problems. Shock...Lanikai second best Hawaii finisher in the Hoe....beat out Outrigger, right behind Primo. No shock, the Dolan's and Jack Rooney came home for the weekend, and the crew goes from ho hum, to challengers. Kayaking can do that for canoeing.

So, punch...counter punch....Tahitians laughing at us. Let's all agree to across the board. Now, lets all put our heads together and put our talents together and figure out a way to kick Tahiti's a$$.

Love and Peace to all.....BEAT TAHITI!! GOOD LUCK TEAM HAWAII!!


#19 Thu, 10/22/2009 - 8:27am

OC-1 vs. V-1, what's the difference? Put a steering rudder on a V-1 and does it automatically become an OC-1? Paddling rudderless indeed puts more demand on the paddler. Therefore, more muscle groups are recruited, which helps in going faster. Once your rudderless technique is refined, you don't need a rear chine to help you in going straight. Cockpit boats have been around a long time beginning with the Canadian/Californian Sea Lion OC-1 (V-1?), which made its way to New Zealand and then over to Tahiti? Perhaps more interesting would be to take the rudder off the Scorpius XM and test it head to head against these new V-1s (out in the ocean and in the flats)? Maybe for the price of one canoe, you actually get two? And even paddle faster too?

#20 Thu, 10/22/2009 - 8:59am

it all comes down to what Nappy said- "it just depends on how hard you want it- anybody can be a winner." Different environments- different kinds of canoes or boats. Hawaii (Team Primo) did well as a throw together crew of good paddlers, Lanikai did well. If they could all train together as much as Tahiti Shell, it could have been a different story. If our State would support our states sport better, it could be a different story. HAwaiian's competing in V1's in TAhiti will be similiar to TAhitians competing in HAwaii in OC1's. Our conditions are different and so the environment dictates the type of canoe. It will be fun to get our kids who choose to, to do the V1 thing and get the chance to go to Tahiti- good fun. But what I love most about OC1 is getting out in high winds and good surf and go for an exhilerating run! V1 certainly is harder as is surfski (surfskis go faster) but I'm out for the pure fun so I'll stick to an OC1. HArd to teach an old dog new tricks!

I think a great way to promote V1 in HAwaii would be to do sprints in the Ala Wai, get the hotels involved as sponsors and tourists involved as spectators. It could become a great weekly event where everyone would be winners. And it could even help grow the entire V1/OC1/OC2/OC6 sport and help grow tourism, sponsorships of individuals/teams/events. Betting on the side! Those kayak, C1 races in Europe with bleachers, 1000's of cheering spectators etc are good examples. Gosh, Sheraton with their Tahiti hotels, Outrigger, Hyatt, MArriott, Hilton etc could have a ball with is and it would help the paddlers.

#21 Thu, 10/22/2009 - 9:25am

One way to get the youth involved, especially our football players is to get the ILH athletic directors to change the overly restrictive outside participation rule, which limits only three (3) participants from one school to be on a single outside canoe team. And if you are on the football team, you no can join or be part of the allowed three (3). Allow the ILH football players to paddle the Molokai, and gurarantee they going win!!!

#22 Thu, 10/22/2009 - 9:46am

Could be that the simple truth is effort and focus in one direction..........the best at any sport is a specialist in a particular discipline.
The very fact that V1 and V6 are essentially the same thing (of the same family) could well make the difference in winning performance. where the bar has been set by Tahitians.

#23 Thu, 10/22/2009 - 11:18am

Wow so much to comment on here.

  1. How does pursuing K-1 pay for college? I know several people who have pursued a K-1 career even up to the olympic level and have had no assistance with college. In fact at this point they are way behind their classmates because the chose K-1 instead of college.
  2. I don't think we should be pushing our kids into anything. We should provide options and let the kids choose. If HVA is getting kids involved that otherwise would not do any other sport then its a good thing.
  3. So far HVA has proven to be a well organized association. Its providing a service which was not previously available. Its a good thing.

#24 Thu, 10/22/2009 - 1:00pm

All this argument between HVA's V-1 program and HCKT is very fascinating. It seems that there are good points to be made on both side. However, I have to agree with 123 that kayaking will provide opportunities that are easier to access than V-1. When I say "easier to access", I am suggesting that V-1 might also provide SIMILAR opportunities but in sprint flatwater kayaking, there is already a "paved" road aka HCKT development program that allows the motivated athletes to be exposed to some of the training programs structured at the higher level, be around people with a deeper understanding of the technical aspects of what it takes to go faster, be in the presence and train with high skill level athletes that will push you to be even better. As an example, in the last year, HCKT athletes had the opportunity to train at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. Jim/John Foti's niece, Julia Anderson is one of those athletes that made the Junior Development team. The exposure to the type of training programs and knowledgebase afforded to these athletes are immeasurable, but you can be certain, once they come back to the islands, they will be even better athletes/paddlers because of this opportunity to learn and grow.
Aside from all that, look who is running the HVA youth program.... drum roll please .... John Puakea - former HCKT head coach, after Billy Whitford (the coach of Offshore Canoe Club that won numerous Na Wahine O Ke Kai races). "Johnny" has an innate understanding of the training structure and discipline required to succeed. You can bet he gained some of his knowledge while being apart of HCKT and USACK - the United States Canoe and Kayak Team. Much of HCKT's training programs come straight out of the United States Olympic development program.
Whether people will admit it or not, HCKT has been an important contributor to the local paddling community and vice versa. Paddling and kayaking go hand in hand but in the end, it really is about what you want to do and how far you want to take it. Kayaking will take you to the very pinnacles of competition.
E alu like mai kakou

#25 Thu, 10/22/2009 - 1:21pm

good post pat. it is amusing to see the arguing over ski, k1, v1, oc1 and how to go faster. so many people spend so much money on the latest fad trying to gain the edge, newest canoe, gps, heart rate, gym, nutrition, and on and on. these same people spend no time trying to better their technique, the absolute core of any paddling program. technique is hard, takes discipline, is boring, and results are often not seen for some time. too much work for the immediate gratification generation. maybe this is why so many don't kayak. hell the kayak is faster, surfs both ways the same and easier, less to carry, cheaper, potential for colledge scholarship or olympic dream, better for your back, actually your whole body, better workout, more compitition worldwide, including tahiti, but, it is hard to learn, takes commitment, discipline, a true work ethic, and desire to succeed. i have yet to meet the good kayaker who could not equally move a one amn or 6 man. i guess you can tell i like ski paddling.
anyways if you want to get better do technique drills every time you paddle, durring warm up and cool down. too many paddlers place the power in the middle to back of the stroke and this does not work. look at running or even waliking, your foot plants onto the pavement while traveling forward. try to walk and moving your foot back before it hits the groung. you go almost nowhere, try it while running and you fall. why do the majority of paddlers start their stroke before their blade ever touches the water? this creates the emphasis on the back of the stroke, bad. think of the tip of the paddle as the sole of your shoe and the road being 8 inches underwater. load, load, load your blade before you start to apply power. when the canoe is up to speed think of moving the canoe from your current speed to slightly faster. not from zero to full speed, zero to full speed thinking creates the ripping and the pain and the limited top speed. try paddling with a paddle that has a very small blade area, this will help with learning the feel that is critical to moving a canoe fast. unfortunatly some will never get the feel and therefore will never make it in a winning crew. it doesn't take very long to get into top paddling shape. it can take years to get a truly efficient paddling stroke.

#26 Thu, 10/22/2009 - 1:49pm

Our kids paddle because they are having fun, no fun, no paddle.

The original thread was how to paddle fast. We will take that information back to our training sessions and get our basics down so the kids can have more fun. We paddle kayaks and canoes on the river, best way to make sure these kids have a career path through college is to make sure they do not neglect their studies. Build a good work ethic at school by instilling the same values into the paddling program.

Didn't someone famous in Hawaii say "Fun is mandatory" in one of their promotional vids.

#27 Thu, 10/22/2009 - 3:17pm

Great posts ! Watching the Tahitians practice I was amazed at how far they reached out in the flats and upwind. Check out seat #1. Strokers take note !

#28 Thu, 10/22/2009 - 4:36pm

Thank you HKCT for providing an excellent model of how a development program should run. Thank you for an excellent post, Pat.

#29 Thu, 10/22/2009 - 7:50pm


#30 Mon, 12/13/2010 - 9:22pm

So many paddlers are driven by egos.. its ridiculous.

So this thread brings up some phylisophical questions. One question I have... with the kids, what is the obsession? Is it sincere "giving back"? Or is it, because "I couldn't"? Would being a champion paddler truly enrich their life? Canoe has given me the chance to discover the ocean further. Competing has cost me my job, my wife and I have stage 1 skin cancer.

#31 Thu, 10/22/2009 - 9:05pm

Ratchet Jaws is right on point. The Tahitians are laughing at us.

Pat is right on point too. Hawaii has the talent and skill to compete with Tahiti. We're scattered all over the state in different clubs and teams. I think a big part of what holds us back from competing at that high level is motivation. I remember talking to Kekoa Bruhn about winning the Molokai Hoe. He told me it was the best feeling, to win it with his teammates and brothers. But, his wife still said hurry up and come home. His boss didn't care and wanted him to be at work the next day.

It just seems that our paddling community is too small compared to Tahiti. Paddling, although our "state sport", goes unnoticed to anyone who doesn't paddle. My co-workers don't know who Karel or Kai or Pat is. It's pretty sad. There's no incentive to train other than to beat your friends on the weekend so you have bragging rights at the after-party.

There's only a handful of individuals in Hawaii who have taken themselves to that high competitive level. They did this ON THEIR OWN. They trained and sacrificed to take themselves to that level. No one pushed them but themselves. And what do they get? Practically nothing. Bragging rights, maybe their race fees paid for, a little (really little) mention in the paper, or maybe a cool trophy. Bottom line, how do we get motivated to train, when the reward is self satisfaction??? In these times, I'd rather focus on paying my bills and feeding my family.

In Tahiti, paddling is everything. Kids are so excited to paddle. Everyone knows the who's who, and every kid wants to grow up to be like Lewis, Georges, Manutea, or Dubois. With that kind of attitude and motivation, Tahiti will be producing top notch paddlers for the rest of their existence.

So what do we do? I have no fu@#!ng clue. Bickering will get us no where though. HVA, it's about time someone stepped up to expose our youth to a different type of training and paddling, regardless of who you know or what club you paddle for. It seems that our top paddlers enjoyed winning in Hawaii so much, that nobody wanted to pass down the knowledge ( with the exception of Kai w/ Pat). I applaud your efforts and cant wait to see how these kids do this season. 123, you've led a charge against Tahiti in these past years and I believe you'll play a big role in our victory over them.

With the right people in the right places, I believe Hawaii can take paddling competition to the highest level. But if no one wants to, then no one will.

Okay, I need another Steinlager...

#32 Thu, 10/22/2009 - 9:18pm

the funny thing.....keizo calls out kai bartlett.......... well keizo im calling you out..... because someone has an opinon, has a suggestion you call them out? is that how this post works???? its not a battle field...... its an opinion post open for opinions and suggestions ..... so why dont we keep it that way....... have any of you talked to keizos " kai bartlett" ???? Well if you have this guy cares more about the youth paddling and paddling in general...... you cant find someone more passionate about the sport!!!! right on pat keep training and working hard it will pay off.... as in life

#33 Thu, 10/22/2009 - 9:42pm

This is the best thread I have read. Thanks everyone. for sharing. when I am honored enough to meet a great canoe puller I always try to remember to ask him this question . If you were to meet a young paddler who you knew were going to spend the rest of there life paddling what would you say to them. My dad would say run , and you can do any sport. Iggy said its a mind trick ,believe and it will happen. Wayne said If you want it bad enough you will get it. Nappy said be a skipper , from there you see everything. and my personal favorite from Hue , you must have a good heart in more ways than one.

I have recently taken on couching a kids group of paddlers and I have approached it from the angle that its all about the fun , and if they have a great time maybe they will grow up to be great paddlers . so we do everything from wondering to sprinting to fishing and if its raining we go to the pool to swim. although we are not knocking off the miles we are out on the water for hours and through that they get fast. and as they get older we will work toward the regular training regiments.

#34 Thu, 10/22/2009 - 9:56pm


Long time visitor to, first time poster. I wanted to follow up on the posts by Pat, Sean, and apparently Kai.

My frustration is this. I see people throughout the Hawaii paddling community kowtowing to all things "Tahitian": fast stroke rates, double bend paddles, V-1's, et cetera. The sense I get is that people here believe that the "Tahitians" are far superior to local paddlers, and we must radically change our way of paddling in order reach their level. This perception could not be farther from the truth.

Initially, let's stop referring to "Tahitians" as an aggregate. I often hear people talking about "the Tahitians do this . . . the Tahitians do that." The Tahitians don't act in unison. And in terms of dominance, we are really only dealing with Shell Vaa. In recent Hoes, local crews have beaten other top teams from Tahiti such as OPT (A and B), EDT, Erai, and Paddling Connection. Team Hawaii has been very successful in Havaiki Nui. Don't sell Hawaii’s paddlers short.

The question then becomes, how do we get closer to Shell? The answer, I believe, has been outlined by Pat: technique and training. In terms of technique, we have been cursed by the one-man. It seems that around 10 years ago, one-mans took over. If you were a fast one-manner, you were assumed to be a fast six-manner. Most successful one-manners have developed unique techniques that work for them. Over time, having better one-manners in your crew became more important than coaching the crew on technique. Technique fell by the wayside.

This approach worked for a number of years. In general, the crews that won the Hoes between 2000 and 2005 had the best one-manners.

Shell, after coming in second to Lanikai in 2004, came back in 2006 with a renewed emphasis on coaching. The Shell crew had some ringers, but was by no means the top Tahitian V-1 paddlers. But they had excellent coaching and were focused on the six-man. I think that in order to compete with Shell, a crew will have to be well-coached over a significant period of time (months to years). That crew will also have to train together; jumping in at the last minute will not cut it.

A crew of thrown together, fast one-manners will always be competitive. I just don’t think that such a crew can compete with Shell.

With respect to training, there is no secret. You need to put time in on the water. There should be a mix of long runs and sprint intervals, flat water and surf runs. Shell trains 2-3 times per day. That is a difficult proposition for working stiffs like me. But it is what we should strive for.

As I said above, Shell does not have the top 9 V-1 paddlers in Tahiti in its crew (probably because top individual paddlers are typically difficult to coach in team boats). All of its paddlers, however, train like the top V-1’ers and race with them. In Hawaii, on the other hand, there are only a handful of paddlers that train at a high level. There is thus a much smaller pool to select from. We have maybe 15-20 competitive paddlers in a given race in Hawaii. In Tahiti, it seems that there are 100’s. Get out and train people.

The type of boat that you train on, to me, is less important. I grew up paddling for Lanikai and Mid-Pac and doing the HCKT thing. I didn’t start one-manning until after college. As Sean points out, kayaking is great for cardio and developing good rotation and balance in your stroke. And traveling the world to race exposes you to different training methods. In general, you learn what it takes to race at a very high level. I am a big fan of kayaking (surfski and K-1) as a supplement to canoe paddling.

I have only V-1’d a few times (I like paddling in big surf), and don’t feel qualified to speak on its usefulness. I am sure, however, that paddling V-1’s, alone, is not the key to beating Shell. If you have more fun paddling a V-1, then go for it. Whatever motivates you to train.

I fully support HVA’s inspired efforts to develop youth paddling. We started a similar program at Lanikai a few years back on one-mans, and it fostered the Dolans and Jack Roney, who are now able to compete at a high level at very young ages. My hope, however, is that HVA, in trying to reach its goals, does not inadvertently undermine our canoe clubs and HCKT in the process.

One final note. In my humble opinion, a poster’s desire to remain anonymous should be respected, especially if one of the purposes of this site is to encourage discussion.


#35 Thu, 10/22/2009 - 9:57pm

I'm just a little fish in a really, really big ego pond. But....
Ummm... Maui Dave and AC... he outted himself: (

you can scroll down to comment now...

#36 Thu, 10/22/2009 - 11:37pm

Someone shared a pic of Shell Va'a so I looked at some of the pics from the HVA race and damn, this looks pretty good to me - This is probably a bad angle but check out the torso rotation of the HVA around the hat winner, and Team Primo member, Mael Carey...Awesome paddling - from paris to hawaii to tahiti to hawaii - maika'i no

#37 Thu, 10/22/2009 - 11:11pm

I think that this type of dialogue is the first step for us in terms of bringing up our level. It's awesome to have everybody sharing their thoughts. Disagreement and heated arguments are a pretty necessary agent of change. And yes, I do think that we need to change. So let's keep arguing about it to ensure that good ideas keep on getting thrown out there and bad ideas get thrown away. That's the purpose of this forum. Let the Tahitians laugh at us.

One small point I want to make (you guys can throw it out if you like) is that Tahiti, as an aggregate, is much faster than we are. The average paddler there doesn't paddle three times a day, but they would still smoke the average paddler here. I think that there are a ton of factors that lead to their overall dominance. I don't think anyone thinks that it's just their stroke, or their funding, or their training, or their canoes, or their youth development, or their connection to the sport. It's everything. They are on top and it will be a long time before anyone can challenge that. I think that we, as the underdogs, have to look up to them. Isn't that what evolution is about?

People are picking up on different aspects of what they're doing and trying to apply it to themselves or their clubs. I don't know if it's working, but it led to this discussion didn't it? For example, until this year, I hadn't seen very many paddlers in Hawai'i putting much emphasis on their catch or on loading the front of the stroke. Maybe it's obvious for Kayakers who understand the more technical aspects of the stroke. But, for the average paddler in Hawai'i, it takes Tahitians beating us every year for us to say "ok, let's look at our stroke."

That's just the most obvious example, but I feel like it applies to every aspect of paddling in Hawai'i right now. A lot is changing because we're in the middle of a shifting paradigm. We're all going to fight and struggle along with it, but it's going to be pretty exciting to see how this all plays out.

#38 Thu, 10/22/2009 - 11:46pm

As a young paddler I'm stoked about getting to participate in HVA's program. After only a few years of paddling it's obvious that there are only a few paddlers per crew that are actually dedicated to training and getting to the next level (for "most" clubs). I think it's great that the young paddlers who have been motivated and dedicated to training have a chance to finally be with a group in where everyone is at the same caliber.

This summer I was fortunate enough for Hui Nalu's 18's coach to take me in, and coach me. This summer the level at which I paddle has increased drastically. But now that summer is over, he has other obligations such as his Kayaking team for Kamehameha. HCKT is a great way for the youth to train get exposure to kayaking outside of Hawai'i, but it cost money to be apart of it, and honestly, after paying my college tuition, I don't have much money to spend.

Since I live on the Big Island (and my canoe is there), but go to school here on O'ahu, it is very hard to find ways to get in the water, and I have had no one to help teach me once 6 man season is over. What HVA is doing is great. I have a chance to be in the water again, and get more experience learning from them. Let's face it, we're all young kids, and while we may be fit and conditioned that isn't enough. What we need is older more experienced paddler's and coaches to teach us, and we need the experience. I believe this is what we'll gain from HVA's youth training program, and I'm stoked for the experience we're gonna have.

#39 Fri, 10/23/2009 - 12:23am

I love this post :-)

On the catch topic.
Food for thought, when you plant your blade(FULL Blade submerged) in the water, its going to feel like your paddling really slow, and it feels really heavy, and like your not doing it right. Well, you are pulling more water than your used too, so keep it up and paddle smart. Focus on the catch for now, and keep asking questions.

#40 Fri, 10/23/2009 - 12:28am

Basically, it simply is the water pairing up with force exerted on it with your paddle blade, and shoving you forward with the same amount of force. So the more efficient your stroke, the faster you go. The choice is yours: move more water going backwards faster, or move the canoe forward faster, which is it?

#41 Fri, 10/23/2009 - 1:26am

In comparing the swimming stroke to the paddling stroke......It seems the Catch phase in swimming is similar to paddling. I am curious how the power or propulsive phase in the swimming stroke compares to the power phase in a paddlesport stroke. Can we learn from swimmers? Any thoughts?

#42 Fri, 10/23/2009 - 7:50am

Hysterical ..... BUDDY ............ lol.

#43 Fri, 10/23/2009 - 7:52am

we are really only dealing with Shell Vaa. In recent Hoes, local crews have beaten other top teams from Tahiti such as OPT (A and B), EDT, Erai, and Paddling Connection. Team Hawaii has been very successful in Havaiki Nui.

I don't want to spoil your fun Aaron, but I'm not sure wich races you're talking about...

------ Hawaiian Teams results in Hawaiki Nui since 2005

Hawaiki nui 2005
64th Kahana Canoe Club

Hawaiki nui 2006
8th Team Hawaii
46th Hawaiian Kamanu Outrigger

Hawaiki nui 2007
5th Team Hawaii

Hawaiki nui 2008
25th Kamanu Oiwi
26th Team Hawaii

------ And Tahitian Teams results in the Molokai Hoe during the same period.

Molokai Hoe 2005
4th Ra'i

Molokai Hoe 2006
1st Shel Va'a
2nd Hiti Toa / E Ra'i
3rd Team Raromatai

Molokai Hoe 2007
1st Shell Va'a
2nd Team OPT
5th Venus Va'a
9th Team OPT B

Molokai Hoe 2008
1st Shell Va'a
2nd Venu Va'a
4th Team OPT
5th E Ra'i
18th Banque de Tahiti

Molokai Hoe 2009
1st Shell Va'a
3rd Paddling Connection
4th E Ra'i

#44 Fri, 10/23/2009 - 9:17am

ouch burn

#45 Fri, 10/23/2009 - 9:48am

We should get back to the original post- PAt Dolan's. Hats off to Keizo, Luke and Kelly for the HVA thing and trying to promote and build their business. They are doing it right. IF you are going to expose yourself to all that wonderful toxic stuff it takes to build canoes at a very small profit, do all you can to promote your product and sport. Kai(who outed himself back in January) is right too in that kayak/surfski is more of a universal sport- Lewis Laughlin as a prime example can do it all - kayak, surfski, V1, OC1 etc. We participate in a niche sport -OC1- which has evolved from surfski because of our OC6 paddling style influence. We need to all work together toward building paddling as a state sport which is what it is all about in TAhiti. But I think only Keizo and the boys are the only group up to promoting the sport as everyone else is into doing their own thing. Those who are truly passionate at building, promoting, and/or competing at the highest level in this sport are few, in my opinion, and I can count Kai, Keizo, Luke, Kelly, Manny, the Balidoys, Foti Bros, Randy Botti and a handful of others who are willing to sacrifice the time, effort and money to support our sport. Lets do all we can to build our great sport together.

#46 Fri, 10/23/2009 - 9:52am

I am curious how the power or propulsive phase in the swimming stroke compares to the power phase in a paddlesport stroke.

What Pat discussed is consistent with what you will find when you look at the power distribution curve of both swimmers and paddlers during swimming or paddling stroke.

The comparisions that have been done between elite level athletes and novice athletes are very apparent when you look at how power is applied.
(1) At the entry of the stroke, a swimmer does NOT immediately start pulling water. When the hand enters the water, there is a deliberate stretch/extension of the arms to grab as much water as possible with a torso rotation before the pull begins. Youtube an Ian Thorpe video for reference - thats the best ive seen on stroke analysis

(2) The hands are relaxed to allow the feel for the water as the swimmer moves his arms and hands in an s pattern to grab still water throughout the stroke. In paddling, hands are also relaxed so as to allow the larger muscles to do the work and feel for the blades contact with water so over pulling does not occur that may cause more turbulence and drag.

(3) Peak power comes very early on in the stroke for an elite paddler as compared to a novice paddler. In a novice paddler, peak power comes from the middle portion of the stroke in what resembles a bell shape curve.

(4) Coming close to the end of the swimming stroke, the hands angle of attack is still 90 degrees to provide maximum forward propulsion and minimize unnecessary drag. As the hand exits the water, its like pulling the hands out of pocket. in paddling, the blade upon exit does not past the hips where the blade can pull the hull down if pulled too far back.

Read Pat's post, and you will find its all consistent with what people find when comparing elite versus novice - and dynamics of propulsive force similarities between swimmers and paddlers.

I'm sure theres more but thats what I can recall at the moment.

#47 Fri, 10/23/2009 - 10:41am

Paddlefast... In order to honor our Kupuna I would really like to expand your list.
Those people who are visible today are visible because they are standing on the shoulders of others who have allowed all of us to be where we are.
Kala Kukea
Nainoa Thompson
Pinky Thompson
Uncle Nappy
Kalani Irvine
Tommy Connor
Blue Makua
Sammy Mokuahi
Mike Atwood
Mike Tongg
All the High School coaches...
Regatta coaches...
Distance coaches...
There are scores of people who have worked for DECADES to make paddling possible in Hawaii and SCORES of people who dedicate themselves to coaching youth.
There are and have been a lot of people who 'came before' and who 'are now' that...
"are truly passionate at building, promoting, and/or competing at the highest level in this sport"
Most of these people who are still with us today are too busy coaching and developing youth and have no business reasons to be on this forum.

Thanks and Mahalo to ALL the people whose lives are paddling, and coaching at what ever level. From the coaches, bless their hearts, who coach our 7-11 year olds, to those who train top up and coming olymipc athletes.

#48 Fri, 10/23/2009 - 10:49am

Wright Bowman :-}

Bobby Puakea - Puakea Foundation

Check out uncle's website:

#49 Fri, 10/23/2009 - 11:12am

The question then becomes, how do we get closer to Shell? The answer, I believe, has been outlined by Pat: technique and training. In terms of technique, we have been cursed by the one-man. It seems that around 10 years ago, one-mans took over. If you were a fast one-manner, you were assumed to be a fast six-manner. Most successful one-manners have developed unique techniques that work for them. Over time, having better one-manners in your crew became more important than coaching the crew on technique. Technique fell by the wayside.

While I HATE to agree with this statement (as someone who LOVES paddline one-man) it is sadly the truth. We have to get back to this being a TEAM sport if we're going to compete.

#50 Fri, 10/23/2009 - 10:59am

Would it be safe to stay that Shell Va'a combined with all the training, coaching, technique and support. That they have just capitalized on a more crucial aspect of culture that we are just missing here in Hawaii, The ability to "work together as one". Hawaiian culture is abound in the aspect of working together as one from building a halau to doing the hula, everything I have learned in Hawaiian culture is that this has been the underlying force that is crucial to the success of the endeavor at hand. I may be wrong but it seems that the key to being a good OC-6 paddler is:
1) being conscientious about what you and your crew are doing, but more about what you are doing.
2) having a completely open mind to better yourself and your crew, and take critique.
3) being able to check the ego at the door.
4) and being a team player.
Yes I agree paddling with the same guys all the time is very beneficial to the success level and I don't believe the OC-1 can teach you how to work well with others, this entirely on paddler. IMHO the OC-1 ego train has derailed the key element of "working together" in OC-6. Not all competitive one-manners have egos, but individualism in team sports seems to be a stumbling block to success in all sports. Shell Va'a is a TEAM of humble individuals who probably subscribe to the idea that being an individual on a team of nine isn't in the best interest of their success, as a team. It only takes one mess it all up, but takes ALL to be successful. I also agree that "feeling" is a greater element to learn, and "feeling" goes deeper than just feeling the ocean. Clear the mind, be aware and focused, and don't forget the cultural aspect of "working together". If you watch Shell you can see this in the way they paddle, it is a beautiful thing. We should all take this into consideration when we are together in Hei Hei Wa'a.


#51 Fri, 10/23/2009 - 11:01am

I agree with Kauai52. There are a bunch of people out there passionate about the sport and helping it along, on each island and in many other places. Let's keep it fun. Luke's comments are right on too. So let's see where we can take this sport to. Good luck Team HAwaii in Tahiti! Another throw together team and we know everyone on that team gives it their all.

#52 Fri, 10/23/2009 - 11:36am

In the spirit of unity and reconciliation, I invite both Keizo, and 123, aka Kai, to sit down with me and have a conversation with each other over a beer, well, maybe many beers (let's be realistic, it just tastes so good).

Whether I were black or white, Pueo or Scorpius, I think that me commenting on this and hopefully contributing to constructive, as opposed to negative, understandings about the issue is part of my prowess on the web and the water (I own bodysurfing Sandy's shorebreak).

I hope this can be a “teachable moment” – where “instead of pumping up the volume” American can focus on how to improve relations between police officers and minority communities, and more importantly, relations between the Pueo and Scorpius conglomerates.

Place of Reconciliation: 939 Ke`eaumoku st.
Time of Reconciliation: 4:20p.m.

Oh, and to maintain the continuity of this thread, I am calling myself out.

I love the ocean, I love Hawai`i, but most of all, I love unity on the water., I am Barack Obama, I am numerouno.

#53 Fri, 10/23/2009 - 12:58pm

I am not sure that you have spoiled my "fun" Mr. Hiro. How have the results that you cite disproved my point? Have Hawaii crews not finished ahead of OPT, Erai, EDT, Paddling Connection, Ra'i, and Venus Vaa in the channel? Isn't Shell the only Tahitian crew that has been consistently dominant in the recent Molokai Hoes?

Also, are you saying that Team Hawaii has not been successful? Why do you only refer to 2006 through the present? What about in earlier years, such as when they won the final leg in 2001? Considering that Team Hawaii hardly trains together, I think that they have done well.

We do not have the same level of participation as in Tahiti, so we do not have the same depth of quality crews. Nevertheless, top Hawaii crews have been and remain very competitive.

My point is that we do not need to reinvent the wheel. We know how to paddle and train. There is no need to try and imitate our brothers in Tahiti in order to be successful. I’m not saying we can’t learn anything from them; but let’s not go overboard. Get back to basics and we can compete with anyone in the world.

And don’t forget to put things in perspective. Tahiti has been coming here for 30+ years to race. They have been dominant before, and Hawaii has responded. For example, in 1993-94, Faaaaaaaaaaaa (helmed by TC) smashed local crews. I remember double bends being all the rage back in those days. Then, in 1995-96, Lanikai brought the title back home. Paddling supremacy is cyclical.

I was not aware that Kai had already “outed” himself. My apologies Keizo.

That’s enough for me. See you guys on the water.


#54 Fri, 10/23/2009 - 12:36pm

Aaron, the point I wanted to make is that EVERY tahitian team that comes to Hawaii does well... not just Shell... And that even when you send a "Dream Team" in Tahiti, there are many local crews in front of them... Think about it. Of course Shell is dominating, but there are a lot of teams just behind them, and those are not profesional paddlers... How come they do so well ?

#55 Fri, 10/23/2009 - 12:56pm

P. Dolan...crap, you created a monster. Thought I was pau with this thread, but gotta jump in and prop up brother Crepes. For some reason, many Hawaii paddlers believe Tahiti get plenty money. Wrong. Tahiti in general is not a rich (money wise) country. Rich in beauty, culture, and good looking women, but not so much economic wise. The youth in Tahiti look at paddling as a way out....job, financial security. When there are not many jobs to be had and you know that paddling skills can help you in the future, you better be sure you better get your a$$ in a one man and get going. Add economic gain to the country being paddling fanatic's, you have the ingredients to create good stuff. In america, pick up the basketball, baseball, or football. man.
Shell Va'a - Petroleum Company
OPT - Postal Service
EDT- Electric Company
Paddle Connection - Paddling Company/Business
Who are the top contenders each year in Hawaiki Nui?? Shell, OPT, EDT, Paddle Connection. On occassion a club team will break through...Pirae, etc. However, those club teams are breaking through way less than they did a few years ago.
In Tahiti...paddle to get a good job, then your job is matter what they say.

So, it is time for Hawaii to have team:
First Hawaiian Bank (Kamoa K.)
Kamehameha Schools (Nainoa, Kamoa K.)
Hawaiian Airlines (??)
Hawaiian Electric (??)
Oh yeah, BTW...HVA has a list of potential hires that would gladly work for you and paddle on your team. Now, wouldn't that be nice.

(gotta stop reading this thread and get back to work)


#56 Fri, 10/23/2009 - 1:20pm

Tahiti is fast. Can Hawaii beat them? I believe so. First, we need to create a little more passion in our sport. I don't mean the guys and gals of every club in the state but the businesses, classrooms, newsrooms etc. Our top dogs can go by the Alamoana shopping center on a crowded day and be lucky if somebody recognized them for their paddling acheivements. If you spear a couple of nice fish you probably get more press. In Tahiti everybody knows the top paddlers,. Karel,Dubois, Cronstead etc. Its like look there's Michael Jordan. Every person in Tahiti is interested on the accomplishments of their countrymen. Lets get behind our paddlers and cheer them. Secondly, I do believe at least partially that our technique could use a little changing. Its O.k. to admit it to yourself that maybe we can improve with a higher candence or bottom arm pull or more leg drive. The Tahitians learned from us, not to mentioned the Austrailans,New Zealand etc, when Hawaii was winning. Now that they are moving(a little faster) we can learn from them. After several conversations with the top paddlers in Tahiti I believe that the rudderless provides them with an advantage. The stroke is way up front and quiet. They don't want to disturb the waterline. They plant both legs and engage the stroke from the core(Pat explained it well). Most of us in Hawaii (in the last couple of years) , paddled a one beat thru the water and two beats on the recovery. this mind set would give you more rest and in turn provide you with more power throughout the race. The Tahitians do the opposite. Hence the term spinning the basketball. Strong thru the water and quick recovery. When we paddle our oc-1, you move forward and back(some more than others) or hump like hell to catch a bump. Not recommended in the rudderless. You will go slower. All the Tahitians understand steering in the 6 man because of the rudderless training. Now, I don't know if the rudderless is the answer but its working for them. Third reason, training. They put in some mad ours. Say all you want but we need to find time to match them. Sponsorships, grants, donations, business involvement whatever. Fourth, get the youths involved....all goes back to passion. Can we beat the Tahitians? I believe so. it will take a big effort and commitment but the Hawaiians will be back on top. I'm a diver not a english teacher. By the way dis is my humble opinion.

#57 Fri, 10/23/2009 - 4:11pm

Try to apply a little logic to the question about how to improve performance in order to compete with the best. All of the arguments have some truths and some misperceptions. It is not enough to specultate what Shell is doing that makes them so fast. Has anyone taken the time to live and train in Tahiti to see what it is like and how they approach the sport? I trained with and paddled in four Molokai Hoe with teams from Tahiti and I experienced first hand what the differences were. For what it is worth, we did not spend one practice session on a V-1, OC-1, K-1, or surfski. Every practice session was devoted to moving a 400lb. 6 man as fast as possible. There were no practices devoted to technique because everyone knew the proper technique. The primary criteria for making crew was EFFORT. The guys who gave 100% at every practice and never whined or complained were the ones who had the best chance to make crew.
The bottom line is that if you want to compete with the best you have to go to where they are and test yourself against them. That is why the Dolan brothers are going to Europe to compete because the top kayakers are in Europe. When Lewis Laughlin tried out for the New Zealand kayak team he went to Australia to live and train with the top kayakers. He knew he would never get to the highest level just traning in Tahiti.
You will only become as good as the people you train with and compete against. If a paddler is happy to be one of the top ten OC-1 paddlers in Hawaii then that is what he will be. If a crew is happy to win the sophomore men race at States then that is their destiny and they should not expect to beat Shell in Molokai Hoe.
If you want to be the best you have to put in the study time and the work time. Very few teams ever won Molokai because they were lucky. Most teams won because they worked harder than the competition, both in practices and in the race. You don't see the serious paddlers in Tahiti hanging out in bars after practice. It is a different culture than it is in Hawaii. I'm sure the Kenyan marathon runners don't hang out in bars either.
I'm not making any general lifestyle statements because each individual is free to choose how much effort they want to put into their sports. If I choose to hang out in the bar (which I have been known to do), I know that my performance will suffer proportionatly.
Shell Vaa are not gods but they do take paddling very seriously and do not take shortcuts in their training.

#58 Fri, 10/23/2009 - 7:55pm

Has anyone taken the time to live and train in Tahiti to see what it is like and how they approach the sport?

emili did. you can get first hand info from her.

#59 Fri, 10/23/2009 - 8:16pm

The above picture was taken in a mild moment.

There are three maybe four surfskis in this photo. I was there...okay, okay, on the sidelines. A steady NNE 25+ kts wind, with gusts 35+ kts, and freezing rain, grounded 80 percent of the registered participants for the 28 miles race.

The first finisher wasn't even wearing a hat. Of the first four none wore more than a watchcap, a long-sleeve shirt, bicycle shorts, neoprene booties, and sandwich bags over their hands.

As for Pat's training advice my club is taking it to heart.

#60 Sat, 10/24/2009 - 12:36pm

It seemed to me from the description of Molokai that Shell and Primo were pretty close for most of the race until they split and took different lines. I wonder what the result or time gap would have been had they both taken the same line? In addition to just speed, throw some tactics into the mix and we can have another discussion.

#61 Sat, 10/24/2009 - 5:20pm

Yankee, those conditions are basic conditions. Folks back east are less experience in that type of water. That's why they had to pull 90% of the field from the race. Heck, those are almost typical conditions for the US Surfski Champs race and they have over 100 Surfskis in the event. It's all perspective, you go to Hawaii and besides the cold, those would be an average downwind run, with no bumps...

#62 Sat, 10/24/2009 - 5:51pm

Evening guys! Pat, what a thread! Guys, great discussion. TC, arguably the only one who really knows what goes on with tahitian training. I commend all organizations such as HCKT,HVA,ILH,OIA,Na Opio and all the outside island high schools for giving the future watermen and women of Hawaii a place where they can be introduced too, and hone their particular disciplines. Without these individuals our keiki would be left to finding themselves trying to fit into the non watersport world of"MTV". "BIG MAHALO"!
I just returned from the ILH JV championships and Varsity Sprints, the varsity distance finals will be next week. After watching these young and very competitive individuals for the last two months,I can only say that as far as the ILH goes, this canoe season will be a good one. The skills and technique that these young people display will only enhance what they will do together as a team when the canoe season starts. Participants from jv to varsity displaying various skill levels will only increase as time goes on. After the boys and girls sprint finals, I turned to Stanley Dickson and said,"it is so great too see so much talent in the water"! he agreed. As with everything out there, our kids are our hopes and dreams of tomorrow. There is two things about ILH kayaking that need to be said. One not so good and one very good. Not so good: need to do away with the catastrophic liability so that middle school kids can participate in kayaking like other intermediate sports. GREAT: "EVERYONE PARTICIPATES ON RACE DAY! NO ONE DECORATES THE SIDELINES! THANK YOU ILH KAYAK COACHES!
A great big mahalo to Wally Aina(A.D. Damien H.S.) for his running of the ILH kayak races.Water cures all!
"Big Boys"Kick and Glide!

#63 Sat, 10/24/2009 - 10:09pm

  1. It wasn't a downwind race.
  2. The low temperatures and the cold rain made all the difference.

You can be cold. You can be wet. Wet and cold together make for something called hypothermia which significantly diminishes the margin for error.

#64 Sun, 10/25/2009 - 5:58am

Yankee is correct. Conditions that are average in terms of Hawaiian size/wind speed become much scarier in cold temps, where a huli or boat loss can quickly result in hypothermia. It's just completely different dealing w/ the cold.

#65 Sun, 10/25/2009 - 6:45am

This is a question for Hiro C.
I know the Tahitians are dominant now with the open guys, but what about their 40's, 50's, 55's Master paddlers. Would they be dominant in their divisions if they did Moloka'i??? Do they even have divisions like that in Tahiti?

Why don't they get those guys over here? Is it a money situation that they can't afford it or is it that they wouldn't be competitive? I'd like to see some of their older paddlers compete.

#66 Sun, 10/25/2009 - 12:16pm

two divisions
Seniors = 20yrs+
Veterans = 40yrs+

go to hawaikinuivaa website, there are some veteran teams
but basicaly most of the competitive veterans paddle in a senior team. hehehe

#67 Sun, 10/25/2009 - 5:26pm

cut2above, please explain the "catastrophic liability?" You mean the premiums for liability insurance would hit the roof if younger intermediate students paddle? Too bad and a crying shame. Maybe ILH should look into rowing instead where colleges give scholarships for this sport. Comparable ILH private high schools on the mainland even have water tanks, so students can row in the winter time. Crew is big time at colleges and universities where most ILH graduates matriculate, so maybe the ILH schools shouldn't duplicate what the many paddling clubs are providing?

#68 Sun, 10/25/2009 - 9:46pm

This discussion undoubtedly focuses on the quest to find the ultimate in canoe paddling. Thankfully, some of the best have shared invaluable posts. I am in no way physically at the level of some of you, and I admire and envy your capabilities and commitment. Pat Dolan’s commitment is as deep as it gets. He understands accurately that it comes down to technique and training.

I help run a small canoe club here in Hawaii. Last year, one of my fellow coaches had arranged for Shell Va’a’s escort boat and helped chart their line. He explained to me that what Shell Va’a’s coach told him (in Tahitian) what he teaches their paddlers is that before anything else is understanding how to utilize the Mana of the ocean to come through their blades and into their bodies and tap that power to move the canoe. I’m sure many Hawaiian clubs already have the same beliefs, but I’ve never heard that being addressed in any online discussion. What does Shell Va’a’ coach mean? Is this and intellectual concept or is it an actual physical experience?

Is utilizing Mana relative? If you have someone that can tap Mana and yet have no physical condition, the canoe ain’t going to move. Physical ability will move the boat without having an awareness of Mana. But, if you took two crews with identical physical power, and one crew knowing how to utilize Mana and the other not, which one would move better?

Canoe paddling is a sport. And for many as a sport its goal is to win races. In my humble opinion, canoe paddling goes deeper that just winning races. I was explained to by one of my great teachers that Hawaiians are a seafaring people. We would not exist if it were not for our canoe paddling. The essence of our culture can be found in it. How where the first Hawaiians able to come from the South Pacific or Indonesian corridor (depending on which theory you have) to go to a place that was not known, It was their intuitive perception, that is their ability to know the unknown, to see what could not be seen, to hear what could not be heard. They could not have known the future from the past, or the unknown from the known (or it wouldn’t be unknown). If those first Hawaiians, were off by one degree, we all would not be alive today.

So this intuitive perception is by essence in our nature, although we don’t always use it. It seems that in the canoe there is the opportunity to utilize it to feel and become one with your crew, for example. Not only that, it seems imperative to utilize it to feel the bumps, that you can’t even see, before they appear, so that it’s never too late.

I would think that the prerequisite to intuitive perception is the energy or Mana needed first before physical, conscious and unconscious ability. So, Mana comes first. What I’ve learned is that Mana is a physical sensation, not just intellectual. We have all heard about the Mana in our Koa canoes. So we have a sense that it exists in that fashion. If you held the shaft of a paddle like you would a wooden sword with the blade away from you, you can feel where the Mana in that paddle is centralized. It could easily be felt in the middle of the shaft. There is a way to move that Mana from the shaft to the blade so that if you held the same paddle again you would feel the Mana in the blade.

So, Shell Va’a’ s theory to utilize Mana might just be more than just a theory. To me this is what the Hawaiian crews need to discover. Physically, the best Hawaiian paddlers are already there. So that on the level or playing field of win lose they might have an advantage, with a direct understanding of Mana. On a deeper level, with the understanding of their true self nature, their would be no win lose so that they would be winning and losing at the same time before that even got in the canoe….but that’s beyond the scope of this discussion. Mahalo for your time. Aloha.

#69 Sun, 10/25/2009 - 9:49pm

Koacanoe, Thx for the interest. To make it simple, the catastrophic liability concern is centered around the fact that the ILH feels the middle school kids are too young. therefore are more at risk for a water hazard i.e. drowning.
There are alot of us who feel that this is not right and that middle school kids who participate in other contact sports such as football and wrestling are just as prone to suffer a catastrophic incident i.e. death or paralization. But in the world of legal matters everything and anything is possible. I myself, was looking for a venue for my child to continue his interest of watersports when the regatta season was over and kayaking was it. From a coaches point of view of which I am not, to start with the m/s kids would be great because of the fact that when they enter H/S they would already be able to race on a competitive level. It takes at least a year or two to be able to race competitively,by the time that comes you are already a junior with only a year to go. Like I said in my last thread, these racers do not decorate the sidelines, or in their case "the shore", they will race. If they don't make the rotation that day they will race the exhibition. This race is the perfect starting point for young kayakers.There are some young kayakers out there now. We know who they are, and yes they will be very good when their time comes. "Water cures all" "Big Boys Kick and Glide"

#70 Sun, 10/25/2009 - 10:59pm

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