Anela has been paddling for over three years. During the summer months she paddles with the Waikiki Canoe Club and going into Fall she paddles long distance with Kamehameha Canoe Club. During the Winter Season, she competes with Pac-5 Athletics. While it is not uncommon to paddle for various clubs, she explains, "The paddling world is one big family".
To prepare for the 26-mile stretch, Anela showed commitment to her coaches' months before the race. She made sure that she was physically and emotionally ready to cross the channel. "I had to make sure that I was eating nutritious meals to sustain me through practices and gear me up for day of the race." The longest distance she completed was from Hawaii Kai to Nanakuli and the course from Molokai to Oahu would be her toughest race. Anela's crew, Kamehameha Canoe Club – Gold, finished six out of seven in her division and 56 out of 59 overall.
"Since I was 12 it has always been my goal to paddle in Na Wahine O Ke Kai. I never knew I would do it at age 16", said Ruby. Along with teammate Emma, they placed second out of seven in their division and 29th out of 59 overall with their Hui Nalu crew.
For Kuali'i, "What drove me is that my aunties were among the first to ever cross the channel." Kuali'i along with her fellow crewmembers Arianna and Carly, finished third of out seven in their division and 30th out of 59 overall with the Kamehameha Canoe Club – Red.
For all six paddlers, it was one of the hardest goals they ever achieved, but all of them said they would do it again.
For veteran paddler, Academic Dean and College Counselor, Dr. Angie Dolan, the 2017 Na Wahine O Ke Kai race was her 5th crossing. She paddles year long in a one-person canoe from November to May and then a six-person canoe from March to September. As a paddler for the Outrigger Canoe Club, Angie has been a competitive paddler for over 15 years.
Q: What is it like to cross the Molokai Channel?
A: It's different every time, which is why it's so special. It challenges you in a different way each time you cross. There is a level of being prepared and a level of having to handle what the Ka'iwi Channel throws at you that day.
Q: What is the most memorable thing about the event?
A: It always comes down to the relationships you have in the canoe. You have trained for so long with your crew, gone through many successes and challenges, but on that day everybody is doing it for each other. No one wants to let down the crew and no matter what the conditions or the circumstance; it is such an accomplishment to go through that with your teammates.
Q: What was it like to see the youth participate in the event?
A: It was incredible and inspiring. When I was in high school, it was always my dream to cross, but you had to be 18 and I missed it by two months. Looking back, there was no way I would have been physically or emotionally ready to cross; thus, seeing our students take it on is so amazing! So many youth paddlers stop after regatta season and never get to experience distance. It's so exciting to have a whole new generation come up that will already have Molokai Channel experience.
Q: Why do you like paddling?
A: Practices and races are both mentally and physically challenging, but it is also relaxing and centering to be out on the ocean. It grounds me and allows me to escape from reality at the same time. What keeps me coming back is the fact that I attribute a large part of my life skills to the lessons I've learned out on the water, both about myself and with how to cope with challenges. Even with my recent race in Tahiti I learned so much about myself in regards to my physical and mental limits. No other place in my life creates the space for me to do that.