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Women In Paddling

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ohana Spirit by Karen Wrenn

Karen Wrenn and Dave Chun

This years Battle of the Paddle Hawaii was all about Ohana. The Hawaiian word ‘ohana literally means family. The Hawaiian family or ‘ohana can also consist of others not related by birth. A valued friend can be a member of your ‘ohana. An entire group of close friends or in our case paddlers can be their own ‘ohana. KIALOA taught me what this was all about and they are the reason I am so involved in the sport now. At this years BOP Hawaii everyone was happy to be there, to be together and compete and celebrate their shared passion for the ocean and paddling.

There was different ‘ohana’s going throughout the weekend for me and the best part was in the end we were all part of one big family. KIALOA’s tent was definitely strong in the ‘ohana spirit. The KIALOA tent was full of Hawaiians and Tahitians and they were happy to have everyone stop in, hang out, talk story and share a cold drink. Every time I see Dave Chun I just want to give him a big hug. He is the greatest and the best paddle
maker. Meg Chun was definitely missed.

The Naish tent this year felt like a huge family as well. Everyone looking out for and helping each other get prepared. We compete out on the water but we take care of each other as well. Matt Willett has become like my brother and is always there to help and support me. To be in the same tent with Robby Naish, Dave Kalama, Michi Schweiger, Harold Iggy, Jerry Bess, Jenny Kalmbach, Edmond Pestana, the up and coming groms Tucker Ingalls and Bern Roediger and
realize that I am part of a team and family of amazing athletes is an honor.

Everyone that has ever put on a pair of Kaenons knows how amazing the sunglasses are. I was on a Maliko run before BOP while I was in Maui and lost my favorite pair ‘Delites’ that I wear everyday. I was so bummed. But, literally the first person I ran into on Oahu was Chris Wyman,
the Sports Marketing Director and good friend, and there he had another pair for me in his back pack. I was so happy to have them back on my eyes! “I could see clearly now the sun was gone!” I have formed a bond with Kaenon and Chris from my experience during the solo Catalina crossing and when I see him at an event I feel safe. I can’t explain it, other than that I trust him and know that he is watching out for me.

My secret weapon… actually not so secret On it Pro! You should have seen the On it Pro tent and all of the boards lined up for an Xtreme Cream buffing. Erik is the greatest guy. He is always there and ready to help. He makes sure to take care of you like you are family and I love his enthusiasm.

My direct family was with me this year and included my husband John, 7 year old Cooper and 5 year old Naya. It was amazing having them there. To have your family cheering you on and hear there little voices yelling, “go mom”, it doesn’t get much better than that. As all of you with kids and family know, it is a balancing act, but the best one in the world. I couldn’t do any of this without their support, patience and love.

Andrea Moller and I formed a special connection at BOP because of being moms and athletes. Andrea had her daughter, Keala, with her and was competing. Anyone that knows that name knows Andrea is an amazing water woman. She understood my husbands role in all of this, and thanked him, which he thought was really cool. Andrea and I were talking about how hard it is to train and compete with young kids, but rewarding too and that we couldn’t do it without supportive husbands and families.

The women at standup paddling events have become closer and closer. Women are so competitive with each other. If you are a woman… you know what I am talking about. But, I feel like at BOP this year we were all a big family. We competed against each other but encouraged each other. The women in SUP have really been doing amazing feats and showing how strong we are and with women supporting each other, there is no limit to what we can do.

Karen Wrenn and Gerry Lopez
Gerry Lopez and Sparky did an amazing job of putting the event together. Bringing together some of the best paddlers in the world and making everyone feel at home and feel important. I hope to see it continue on this way through the growth of Standup paddling. We all do this because we are passionate about it, we are competitive and we are athletes. We can’t do it alone. ”We are family, all my brothers sisters and me!” Lets keep it fun, fair and keep the stoke going.

Keep Paddling,

Karen Wrenn

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday Night SUP Races in Bellingham

We just had our first weekly Tuesday Night SUP Race and Demo yesterday here in Bellingham, WA. We had a demo fleet of SUP’s from BellinghamSUP, a quiver of paddles from Kialoa – (thank you Kialoa!), and about 20 folks there to either race or demo boards and paddles. I can’t wait to see our little Bellingham SUP community grow!!!

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Post Pregnancy Family Fun

So I just had my beautiful baby girl Hinatea in January. I was so worried I would not get back in shape soon after birth. But with the help of self determination and commitment I have been feeling great! I have been having so much fun with Hinatea at the beach. We have been having family beach days weekly. She loves the ocean.
Thanks to paddling and kialoas awesome paddles I am almost at my pre pregnancy weight :)
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