A measure of success

09/15/2021 02:03 AM By sales

Some people measure success solely by “winning the race.” If life was that simple, there would only be a few winners and a lot of so-called “losers.” Hardly the case.

Success is measured in many ways, including how well you access your inner strength or display resilience and perseverance. It entails learning more about yourself and what it takes to do better next time. As the axiom goes, “You only fail if you fail to learn the lesson.”

So what are the lessons here?

The Catalina Crossing

A team of paddlers—very good paddlers, mind you, but paddlers who hadn’t all practiced together in a V6 Matahina—paddled in the Catalina Crossing this past weekend. This coveted race, from Avalon to the Newport Dunes, is one that West Coast paddling clubs don’t want to miss, least of all Joey Alvarez, head of ARE Outrigger World. He was eager to see an ARE Tahiti V6 Matahina in action, come hell or high water. This race provided both. 

A Challenge Like None Other

The Catalina Crossing was just the sort of challenge Alvarez welcomed—one that tested paddlers and canoes alike. The V6 Matahina, from Kai Wai Northbay, had a crew of Hawaiians, Tahitians, a Brazilian, and Californians, led by Kimo Garrigan, paddling for the first time competitively with his son, Kaleo Garrigan. It was a dream come true for the elder Garrigan to paddle with his son.

Kai Wai’s V6 broke out fast and was in the top five for the first hour, until they experienced some rough currents and high swells and did a huli—Hawaiian for “taking a drink in the Pacific.” It might have been the perfect baptism for Kaleo, but it was a setback for the Kai Wai crew—at least temporarily. They got back on their canoe in minutes and pressed on. Not long afterwards, however, their iako snapped. But thanks to the foresight of paddlers Nanu Maurae and Kaimi Kealoha, they had brought a spare iako. In minutes, they swapped iakos. Suddenly, a group of individual paddlersKimo, Kaleo, NanuKaimi plus Tyrone Heiura, Tamatahiarii Mama-Teuira, Thiago SilvaNephi Tehiva, and Kekoa Kau—became a team. And a damn good one.

“We went hard and fast!” said Kimo. “We were going for it!” They reached deep down, threw caution to the wind, and steadily made their way back into the race, coming from dead last after re-rigging the iako to passing 19 canoes before finishing in the top 12.

Tom Fischbeck, captain of the chase boat; his wife, Dana; plus photographer Hussein Sayre; Alvarez and his wife, Marian Mejia, all witnessed this “awesome race” and truly appreciated the tenacity of the Kai Wai Northbay team. 

An Amazing Experience

“It was an amazing experience—one I’ll never forget,” said Kaimi. “It tested everything I know about paddling. And it wasn’t just about being competitive, it brought everyone together.”

Nanu concurred. “We were all able to work it out together. We may have had very little time to practice as a team, but we made up for it in those 26 miles, overcoming one obstacle after another.” “It definitely tested our resilience,” added Kimo, “and I’m proud of the whole team.”

It also taught everyone something echoed by outrigger legend, Kimokeo Kapahulehua, of Maui, that there are three elements to having a winning outrigger: a great canoe, a great team of paddlers, and the ocean itself. To win, you need all three to be in sync. Next year, Kai Wai will no doubt be back—in sync, more experienced, and ready for the race.

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