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Aloha Ke Kai O’Uhane family,

        It’s the start of another wild year, and we have a lot of things to announce! First, we want you to know how much we deeply miss you all. 2020 was a challenging year for everyone, and we are very hopeful that we will be able to interact more, either virtually or through socially-distanced activities (adhering to current guidelines). Your board has been brainstorming; here’s what we’d like to share in this newsletter:

We want to hear from you, our members, so please be sure to fill out a short survey at the end of this newsletter! We need your thoughts, ideas, and interests for this year’s activities.

New Board Members Introduction

New to the role of President is Grace O’Dell, a long-time paddler, and beginner hula dancer.  Grace joined Ke Kai in 2013 as a sprint paddler and then got into long-distance and OC1 paddling.  Her first position on the Board was as Secretary (2019-2020), which inspired her to start dancing last year.  Some of her favorite Ke Kai moments include paddling the Queen’s race in Kona, learning to make her first ilima lei, and getting out of the canoe after doing MBX in an iron crew!

The Board’s first decision of 2021 was to appoint Jaime Pilanca as Vice President.  Jaime will serve the rest of the 2019-2021 term (which was vacated by Sean Swing when he accepted a position on the NCOCA board). Jaime has been a member of Ke Kai since its beginnings and, as Alaka'i, currently teaches hula. She brings a wealth of knowledge of our history and traditions to the Board.

We also have a new Secretary, Sharon Wyatt. Sharon has been with Ke Kai as a paddler since 2018. Paddling and hula is a family affair as everyone in the family is involved in one of the two. Her husband Ian is also a paddler, although you’ll never see them together at practice as someone has to watch their tiny hula dancer Alice. As a database specialist, she is passionate about  information gathering, communications, and streamlining processes, so Secretary feels like a perfect fit.

These women are looking forward to continuing to work with the other members of the Board: Uncle Les (Founder), Nancy Neville (Treasurer), Bill Boosman (Sergeant-at-Arms), Mel Latham (Hula Advocate), Keanu La’a (Head Coach), Paz Rondez (Hula Rep), Rosanna Leighton (Paddle Rep), and Jason Fertig (Paddle Rep). The Board continues to work with Founders’ Successors Jaydee Joye, Marleen Bush, Heidi Woodward, and Dave Avilla.

Financial Update and 2021 Budget

2020 saw a lot of effort devoted to getting our financial management back on track and regaining our 501(c)3 status as a club. We are happy to report that, as of this week, we have been notified that Ke Kai O’Uhane OCC has officially been reinstated as a 501(c)3 as a public charity!! Many, many thanks to Treasurer Nancy Neville for spearheading this effort.  

We want to start 2021 with as clear a budgeting process as we can in the midst of a global pandemic.  You can request a copy (via Google spreadsheet) by emailing , which contains our actual expenses from 2020 and our anticipated expenses in 2021 and 2022 (with COVID and non-COVID versions).  

The strength of this 2-year budget plan is that Ke Kai’s operating expenses are relatively low.  We are lucky to have few fixed costs during this pandemic.  Our operating surplus from the 2019-2020 season will allow us to move into 2021 with assurances in our financial health.

The areas of concern in this 2-year plan are largely regarding revenue. The pandemic has impacted our club’s ability to hold our two largest fundraising events: the annual Ke Kai Luau and the Memorial Day races.  Without these events, our revenue stream comes only from membership dues and storage fees (from the 11 members who rent OC1 storage space from Ke Kai).  Membership rates for 2021 will remain unchanged, but we know how challenging this pandemic has been for our Ke Kai family. To help alleviate any drop in membership dues for 2021, we will be organizing some apparel offerings and fundraising opportunities in the coming months.  The 2021 membership application/renewal will be available in Feb/March.

Practice Options

Hula Practice

Regular hula practices will begin in February with both virtual and in-person options. These practices are projected to start on the second and fourth Thursday of the month via zoom and an opportunity for in-person classes on Saturdays. The Saturday practice will be limited to 12 people, outdoors, masked, and socially distanced to stay in line with the current state exercise class regulations. Please keep an eye out for more information from Mel on details and the RSVP system coming soon. (Interested in participating? Our member survey includes questions regarding this activity. So please respond so we can get a good headcount! Link found at the end of this newsletter)

Getting Back on the Water: Partnership with Monterey Bay Kayaks

Don’t forget, if you’d like some time on the water, we have partnered with Monterey Bay Kayaks (MBK) to provide opportunities for our members to get back at it! Below are the two options available to our members (hula and paddling members!). Check it out and get back on the water!

  1. Voucher Program
    This voucher provides three free SUP or kayak rentals from Monterey Bay Kayaks, for the Monterey location, during regular business hours.  No reservations are required, although wait times may be longer on weekends.  Only available to Ke Kai’s 2020 members and valid until Ke Kai can begin OC6 practices again.  Contact Paddle Reps Jason Fertig and Rosanna Leighton to request your voucher.  
  2. Supervised SUP Practices
    MBK has offered the use of their equipment (SUP, paddle, PFD, and wetsuit) for $20/person/use, under the supervision of Jim Dimke or Sean Swing.  Head Coach Keanu will coordinate practice dates and times for these practices (times likely to be similar to Ke Kai’s former practice times, weekdays 5:30 pm-7:30 pm and Saturdays, 7:30-9:00 am).  

Current Events

Ke Kai O’Uhane is continuing stewardship of the moana!

Big thanks to Lisa Phares and Alan Romero for planning an impromptu beach clean up on Jan 17th, 2021! Members gathered with buckets and gloves to give Del Monte Beach a thorough clean up.

Welcome to our new canoes!

On January 24, we welcomed the arrival of our new canoes, 'E Liki Nei i Lahou' (Arises for a new days journey/ challenge) and 'Hu Ka Makani' (The winds roar sounds fierce).

This was a big day for our club, with many emotions. President Grace O’Dell offered her reflection on Instragram, also shared below:

“We welcomed two new canoes to our club this afternoon.  These ladies are a new style of canoe, called unlimiteds. They are lightweight and very fast.

Our club's decision to invest in them was not easy; it was emotional, expensive, exciting, and - for many of us - equal parts overdue and too soon. These canoes represent a healing moment for some. You might remember that our canoes suffered extensive damage at the hands of a drunk driver back in October 2019. After a lot of repair work, legal proceedings, and planning - most of which was at the hands of Jim, our club's former president - we moved forward.

For others, these canoes represent change. And a move away from tradition. And it's true - the canoes we've paddled so far are literally referred to as "traditionals." I believe in change, and I believe in the wisdom of our past. And most importantly, I don't see them as opposites.

As we move into this new year, our greatest challenge as a club will be to bring our past and our future together.  And I'm really proud to belong to a club that has so much heart. However you view these canoes, they bring out our hearts and I'm happy they're home with us.”

Member Survey Link

We want to hear from you! We are planning a series of activities for members to connect, learn, and stay involved with our club.  Take this 5-minute survey to share what kind of activities and apparel you are interested in. Please respond by Feb 10, 2021, and make sure you hit submit at the end of the form to ensure your opinion is heard! We will be using the information gained from this survey to drive our efforts for the 2021 season.

Missing you lots, Ke Kai -

Les Charles, Active Founder

Grace O’Dell, President

Jaime Pilanca, Vice President

Sharon Wyatt, Secretary

Nancy Neville, Treasurer

Bill Boosman, Sergeant-at-Arms

Mel Latham, Hula Advocate

Keanu La’a, Head Coach

Paz Rondez, Hula Rep

Rosanna Leighton, Paddle Rep

Jason Fertig, Paddle Rep

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