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Hawai’i team represents USA at the 2022 Canoe World Champships

Local Hawai’i water athletes are representing the islands and the nation on the world stage this week at the 2022 ICF JUNIOR AND U23 CANOE SPRINT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS held in Szeged, Hungary. Ten local paddlers will represent Hawai’i and the United States on the US National Team for Sprint Canoe & Kayak at the World Championships this week August 31 through September 4, 2022.

September 19, 2022

NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release

Hawai’i team represents USA at the 2022 ICF JUNIOR AND U23 CANOE SPRINT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS in Hungary.

 

HONOLULU(September 2, 2022)

Local Hawai’i water athletes are representing the islands and the nation on the world stage this week at the 2022 ICF JUNIOR AND U23 CANOE SPRINT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS held in Szeged, Hungary. Ten local paddlers will represent Hawai’i and the United States on the US National Team for Sprint Canoe & Kayak at the World Championships this week August 31 through September 4, 2022.

The kayak team is coached by two-time Olympian Shelley Oates-Wilding who has been supporting Hawai’i ’s youth watermen to become the nation's best for over twenty years. She founded the non-profit Ikaika Hawai’i ten years ago to provide a pathway for children to develop physically and mentally as champions through water sports training. The Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation (ODKF) supports individuals and organizations who perpetuate Duke’s legacy through watersports with aloha; ODKF is a multi-year funder of Ikaika Hawai’i.

“We start teaching our 6-to-14-year-olds ocean safety, water skills, and stewardship and then provide a safe, fun learning pathway right through to the Olympic Games. I’m especially honored to be the USA head kayak coach to lead our local champions along with the rest of the team to follow in the footsteps of Duke Kahanamoku. I know that they are very big shoes to fill so I focus on the life lessons and positive benefits for each of our champions to inspire them to work hard and perpetuate the Hawai’i waterman culture,” says Oates-Wilding.

It's no coincidence that Oates-Wilding is also currently the Head Coach of the U.S. National Kayak Team which will train right here in Honolulu for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The local athletes competing in Hungary on the U23 Team, Juniors Team (18 and under), and Olympic Hopes Team (15-17 years) are: Sean Talbert (St. Louis grad), Cole Jones (St Louis/UH), Mehana Leafchild (Punahou/Chaminade), Emma

McDonald (Punahou/UCLA), KaliWilding (Mid Pacific/USC), Knytly Sybounmy (Mid Pacific), Abhi Erukulapati(Iolani), Cole Schwake (Mid Pacific), Kila Silva-Ewan (Hawaii School for Deaf & Blind) and senior team athlete and Olympic Hopes TeamCoach Nick Whitcomb (UH doctorate program).

U23 Team Member Mehana Leafchild is a multi-year scholarship recipient of ODKF. As an Ambassador of Aloha scholar, she must maintain a 3.0+ GPA, demonstrate aloha through community service, and compete in watersports or volleyball. K1 kayak racing is a passion discovered after high school by Leafchild, who has also participated in outrigger canoe paddling, sailing, surfing, and volleyball. In a Duke’s OceanFest speech last week about her scholarship, Leafchild said, “Duke is one of the only Hawaiians to make it to the Olympics multiple times…as an aspiring athlete it’s really inspirational because…as a Native Hawaiian and someone who has grown up here in Hawai’i, going out into the world … and competing at this level is really special for me…  I'm blessed to be awarded this scholarship, to go to school, and train, and go to these competitions… Thank you Duke for paving the way for Hawaiian athletes and people from here.”

Operating out of the Hawai’i Yacht Club in Honolulu, Ikaika Hawai’i's mission is to perpetuate aloha and waterman culture through positive watersport activity for the youth of Hawai’i. The non-profit educates keiki as young as six years old in ocean safety, skills, and stewardship and provides a pathway for them to holistically develop into great young watermen.

In October 2022, ten high school athletes from Ikaika Hawai’i will also travel to Boston, Massachusetts to compete in the prestigious Head of the Charles Regatta, the world's largest 2-day rowing event. The Head of the Charles, which hosts over 11,000 athletes and tens of thousands of spectators each year from all over the globe, has never had a crew from Hawai’i represented. The last time that any crew from Hawai’i competed in a mainland rowing regatta was over 50 years ago. The crew team will raise funds for its regatta trip with a Row-A-Thon on September 17th, 2022 on Magic Island at Ala Moana Park from 6 am - 6 pm. Learn more at https://www.flipcause.com/secure/cause_pdetails/MTU3NzMw.

The mission of Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation is to financially support the development of the individuals and organizations which perpetuate the spirit and legacy of Duke Kahanamoku – Hawai’i’s esteemed global ambassador of aloha. With active stewardship from generous donors and the waterman community – ODKF has gifted more than $3.3 million in grants and scholarships since its inception in 1986. Scholarships support Hawai'i scholar-athletes competing in watersports and volleyball in reaching their educational goals. The ODKF grants program supports teams and events that perpetuate Duke’s legacy in Hawai'i through athletic competitions and water safety.

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CORRECTION: Shelley Oates-Wilding is the USA National Kayak Coach. In a previous version of this story she was incorrectly listed as the USA National Canoe & Kayak Coach.

 

Photos:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1UV_HhL007UUgLMZDVLyvEtcI5qk1fx_M?usp=sharing

 

 

For more information:

Ikaika Hawai’i: www.ikaikahawaii.com

Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation: www.DukeFoundation.org

2022 ICF Junior and U23 Canoe Sprint World Championships: www.canoeicf.com

Head of the Charles: www.hocr.org

 

Media Contacts:

Sarah Fairchild, ODKF Executive Director, 808-292-7694

Rylie Hager, Ikaika Hawai’i Director of Operations & Head Rowing Coach, 413-835-1889

Shelley Oates-Wilding, Ikaika Hawai’i President & USA National Head Kayak Coach, 808-388-3207

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