It is with great privilege that we get to share the story of a stoked paddler 'who gets it'. Hard work, appreciation of our sport, and an understanding of how lucky we are to be paddlers. Ruthie was a part of the junior girls team from NorCal that awesomely raced the Catalina Crossing last summer. The future of our sport is bright. Please enjoy! ~CP
By: Ruthie Reyes
Having the honor to be on a Northern California paddling team was an experience I would have not believed myself doing in a million years. I've been paddling since I was seven years old, not knowing how much this sport would make me crave for it more and more. Growing up I fell in love with outrigger canoeing every time, every minute I was out on the water. Since then I had this determination, this dream to race in both Southern California and Hawai'i. So being asked to be on the first junior Norcal team was unbelievable. Knowing that outrigger paddling is growing and the next generation of keiki, are the next ones up for an exciting future, in long distance outrigger paddling competitions.
While training for the 2015 Catalina Crossing, which is a two day event; consisting of women, men, coed, and youth crews racing 27 miles starting from Newport Harbor and finishing at Catalina Island. Throughout trainings, it challenged me in ways that I did not know were inside of me. It not only pushed my limits but also my teammates, every time we were all out on the water. Going into this journey with the Norcal team, we became more than just a team. We are more like a family to each other. At our first practice we were all a pretty quiet group of girls, ages 16-18. But time passed along and by the time we knew it we all grew this one big friendship, and nothing will break us apart. Knowing we all had each others backs, we knew we could face all the challenges we had coming towards us and we would face it all together as a team, as sisters.
Going through the months, leading up to the big race it really changes you as a person and also teaches you so much more about how to read the waters, team work, and knowing your capability in a canoe. As a steers person I really had to get out of my comfort zone and be confident in myself. Being the loud and encouraging steers person, you really want your team to know that you are right there, right behind them the whole way. Also as a paddler, you really gain a lot of trust in each other. We told each other that we were going to work hard every minute in that canoe but to still have fun.
By crossing that finish line at the end of the Catalina Crossing, we were one of three keiki crews with a total of 68 crews overall. This experience allowed me to successfully see one of my two dreams I have for myself come true. As we approach a new season, I have been training on the oc1 for our time trials with aspirations to make the Nor Cal 2016 team in hopes of achieving other big races.
My words of encouragement is, no matter how young you are or if you are a group of girls, you can do it. It may be a lot of work but the pain doesn't last forever and in the end it's all worth it.
With the help of Brent Allen and Danielle La'a. There is a fundraiser, selling trucker hats to help Keiki ( kids ) of Ke kai O'Uhane Outrigger canoe club for the upcoming 2016 sprint season. Hats can be purchased through me at the next two upcoming events. Norcal time trials in Alameda the Encinal boat ramp, February 6th from 9am 11am. Also at the annual Ke Kai O'Uhane Annual Lū'āu, February 27th will be located at Keanu's crafts booth from 5pm 9pm. There are only 23 hats available. The first edition hat is black with a purple logo, only 3 left. Second edition, is a yellow hat with a blue logo only 19 left and also a grey hat with a yellow logo, 1 left. They are selling fast, get a hat before they all sell out. Thank you for the support.