OC1 Essay Contest Entry - Torrey Jackson

The following submission was made as an entry to win a OC1 from an amazingly generous donor, who wanted to see the canoe truly enjoyed, rather than turn a profit. Entrants were asked to submit an essay answering the following:

  • Part 1: “Describe how paddling has changed your life.”
  • Part 2: “How do you plan to use this canoe, and perhaps someday pass it along?”

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Torrey Jackson, California

My name is Torrey Jackson, I live in Oceanside, California and I paddle for Oceanside Outrigger Canoe Club. When I was six my dad joined a sport called paddling, I was curious as to what it was but didn't have the guts to try it. Soon I turned 8 and decided to give it a try, at this point my dad and my sister were crazy in love with the sport and couldn't get away from it. I remember being scared out of my mind starting this new sport. Throughout my childhood, I had played so many sports like soccer and water polo, and karate, but none of them fit for me, they were just never something I enjoyed or wanted to continue. I remember going to my first practice and It just felt right. I chose my paddle and got into the canoe and it was like nothing was in my way. I knew from then on this was my sport and there was no turning back. This sport gave me a purpose in life.

How paddling has changed my life, as I said before I never really knew what sport worked for me, until paddling. As an 8 year old, I noticed all of my friends were so dedicated to a specific sport but I just never was, so in a way, I paddling gives me purpose. Today I am 15 years old and still love it just as much and if not even more. I am the assistant coach to our Keiki program for the second year in a row which I'm so proud of. One of my favorite parts about paddling now is coming to practice and seeing all of the little keiki’s so excited to go out and paddle. I'm a steersman so watching the keiki’s finally get a hang of paddling is the most rewarding thing about it. Seeing that smile when you've been working with them and they finally get something. Being a steersman is such an amazing seat because you sit back there paddling and instructing your crew and after a while of getting everyone in their grove all the sudden the canoe is just gliding through the ocean and it is one of the greatest feelings in my life, and I just can't get enough of it.

Paddling has not only taught me patience but it has also taught me so much about respecting our ocean. Another thing I have learned is teamwork before I started paddling, I was never really a teamwork type of girl. I was very independent, but if you want to be a good paddler you must have teamwork. Overall paddling has not just taught me things about paddling but it has given me life long lessons.

Why I want to win this one man, as a coach I feel it is so important to give tips, overall that's how people learn from you. In the past few years, I've really been questioning myself. I'm always wondering if I'm good enough to be giving other people tips when I'm still learning myself. The past few years I've branched out and gone to some men and women's practices. But I would go to one practice and not come back out of fear. It was almost like I wanted to learn more but I also wanted to stay comfortable where I was at Keiki practice. But this year I just told myself, I must become a better paddler myself in order to become a better teacher. One thing I really struggle with is that every Keiki practice as an assistant coach I'm always in seat six steering and never paddling so if I'm never paddling how am I supposed to teach them. But this season im taking charge on my paddling career and going for it. I started going to women's practice and a few men’s and I'm learning so much and I take those small tips I hear and use them on the keikis. After I've started doing this I want to do more I want to win this one man so I can start practicing in it so that I can start to do time trials with our women's team and be able to get into top crews by next season. I know it will take lots of time and effort but nothing is impossible. Another reason why winning this one man would be amazing is that it would give me the opportunity to get out and be active and get more exercise in. It would also provide the opportunity to explore our ocean. I want to become the best paddler I can be and not let anything hold me back. Winning this one man would mean a whole new opportunity for me in the paddling world.

What would I do with this one man, I will use this one man to become something I never thought I could be. I want to use this one man and really become a better paddler, frequently people ask me if I have a one man so I would be able to go out with them and learn from them. I have been asking my parents for a one man for years but knowing we just don't have the money for it. But now is the time to start my paddling career as I'm a keiki. Keikis are the future of paddling if you think about it, as more and more pour in and get into the sport they grow up to love it just as I did. I would use this one man until I would be able to buy my own in a couple of years. Once I'm finally able to buy my own I would plan on donating it to the Oceanside outrigger Keikis. Every now and then they let the Keikis use one mans and it is the most exciting thing for them, so I would donate it to the Keikis for them to learn from it just as I did. In the meantime, I still would plan on letting the Keikis use the one man but especially our junior crew. Me and five other juniors from our club are traveling to Kona to do the Queen Lili’uokalani Race. I want me and my fellow peers to be able to cherish and learn from this canoe.

Overall, winning this canoe would mean the world to me because all I want to do is become the best paddler I can be. I hear crews from other clubs are going to race in Australia and I want to be open to opportunities like that. I have many paddling goals that I want to meet such as doing the Catalina race this summer with the women crew. Here at our club, you must have a good time trial to be put in our top crews. So as I mentioned before if I could start practicing on a one man and get better and better I believe I could grow and get in a good crew. I plan on paddling for the rest of my life and continue learning this sport. I hope you take my letter into serious consideration, as I could use it for an immense learning experience.


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