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2020-11 Fall Board Newsletter.docx
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Dear Ke Kai family,

Goodness, doesn’t the world look different since our last Ke Kai newsletter in March?!  Please accept our apologies for our silence during the last few months.  So many things have been uncertain and in transition, that it made crafting a summer newsletter a bit of a challenge, but rest assured that the Board has been hard at work.  Let’s see what we can do to catch up now. :-)

Ke Kai Does Social Distancing

As we’ve all learned what it means to responsibly practice social distancing,  we’ve continued to find ways to stay connected and continue doing what we love.  

Of course, Zoom has played a large part. Your Alikai’ have begun hosting monthly Zoom sessions with hula dancers to continue to stay connected and practice together.  Your Paddle Reps have hosted a handful of virtual paddle meetups to learn more about paddlers’ concerns and interests during this time. The Board has been holding monthly meetings via Zoom.

We’ve also seen an increase in OC1s and OC2s on the water.  Some paddlers even competed in a virtual WaveChaser race in May.   Head Coach Keanu has been maintaining a spreadsheet of courses and times to keep our training up and healthy competition alive.  


Picture retrieved from Facebook, posted by Keanu La’a, September 2020.

Hula has continued to be present in our local communities.  Our hula sisters danced with love and sympathy to honor the passing of former Mayor of Seaside, Ralph Rubio, in July.  

Picture retrieved from Facebook, posted by Mae Ruiz Ignacio, July 2020

Updates on Repairs and New Canoes

In the last few months, Ke Kai has devoted much attention to our canoes and follow up from the October 2019 accident that damaged many of our canoes, personal craft, and equipment.  

Uncle Les, Uncle Hal, and the Board have made the hard decision to retire our beloved malia, Ke Kai O ’Uhane, who suffered extensive damage in the 2019 accident.  Uncle Les offers these memories of our Ke Kai canoe:

“Ke Kai is both the baby and mother of our club.  She started the club, we all paddled in this canoe.  When she was given to me, I was asked to bring back the life.  And it was a big learning experience.  I listened to the canoe, how it’s supposed to be formed and put together.  The work put into Ke Kai, I’d work on the canoe every day, just learning as we went.

I’m in great touch with the canoe, especially the malias. This is where I learned a lot, in terms of putting them together.  I built 5 malia canoes and it’s a part of my heart. The malia is, like, my canoe!  If I were to train, I would train malia.  It’s harder to paddle in it, and I’m gonna learn more and how to make it go faster and race in it.  This canoe, Ke Kai, she taught us how to paddle.  

This canoe taught me as much as I put into it.  And it’s not just what I want to put into it, but what the canoe tells me to do.  That’s how she had to be built. I had to let Ke Kai talk to me.  And now, after this accident, she told me that she shouldn’t be worked on.  That she didn’t want to be worked on.  Now I’m thinking about how we could keep the name of the canoe, keep it within the club, remember her by....  I’ll never forget how I learned from her, what my path has been.”

Ke Kai has also accepted the insurance settlement from the October 2019 accident.  Between the settlement and donations, the club received $96,675.00 to replace or repair these damages.  With this funding, we’ve been able to repair Elua and Malu; repairs to both will be completed this fall.  Many thanks to Kris Avilla for his excellent work on Elua, shown below.  She is now back home at the beach!

Picture taken by Malcolm Isely, Sept 2020

We have also been able to purchase Po’okela and Lopaka.  These are the two Sacramento canoes that Ke Kai has been fostering for the last five years.

The August Board meeting focused on the discussion of a single motion, brought to the Board by President Jim Dimke: to purchase two Malolos (unlimited class canoes) from Puakea Designs for a total cost of $45,901.50 (plus shipping from Los Angeles).  The Board heard from Alaka'i, coaches, and our hula and paddle representatives regarding their perspectives on this motion.  Deliberations addressed a multitude of concerns including: purchase costs, timing of the purchase, COVID-19’s impact on OC6 practices, Ke Kai’s general budget and resources, use of funds from the insurance settlement, and future investment in our club’s resources and commitment.  After lengthy debate, the motion passed in a 6:2 vote.  Ke Kai will be moving forward with the purchase of two unlimited canoes, to join our club in January 2021.  Canoe designs are in development, in consultation with Puakea Designs, and our coaches will be drafting a training/use plan for these new canoes.  This is certainly the largest purchase in our club history and you’re welcome to email us with any questions or concerns at

Getting Back on the Water: Partnership with Monterey Bay Kayaks

With social distancing in effect, our club has not been able to hold OC6 practices and many members have turned to OC1s and OC2s to get time on the water.  We have been actively looking for additional ways to support club members who do not own their own personal craft.  Such a search has led us to our long-time friends and beach neighbors, Monterey Bay Kayaks (MBK).  Ke Kai is pleased to announce two new paddling options, in partnership with MBK:

  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 required, although wait times may be long on weekends.  Only available to Ke Kai’s 2020 members and valid until Ke Kai can begin OC6 practices again.  Contact your Paddle Reps, Jason Fertig and Rosanna Leighton, to request your voucher.  
    If you need to renew your 2020 membership, complete your application here.
  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, week days 5:30pm-7:30pm and Saturdays, 7:30-9:00am).  

Board Meeting Summaries

We’ve been capturing short summaries of our Board meetings in order to share them at our General Meetings.  Since we do not yet have a General Meeting scheduled due to COVID-19, you can check out Board decisions and updates using this Google doc, which includes both 2019 and 2020 summaries.  

FYI: Upcoming Elections

This November will see the following positions up for election: President, Secretary, Hula Advocate, Paddle Representative(s), and Hula Representative.  The call for nominations will open later this month.  If you are considering nominating someone, please check with them that they are willing to accept the nomination.

Mahalo nui, take care, and stay well -

Les Charles, Active Founder

Jim Dimke, President

Sean Swing, Vice President

Grace O’Dell, 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