56 APRIL 2016 MARIN
Where do people meet? Most outrigger canoe paddling is centered
around canoe clubs. Marin has two: He’e Nalu Outrigger Canoe Club in
San Rafael and Tamalpais Outrigger Canoe Club in Sausalito. Both have
multiple six-person outrigger canoes and offer scheduled practices for
their men’s and women’s teams, along with club events. He’e Nalu hosts
an annual outrigger race on August 6 called the Round the Rock Alcatraz
Challenge, and Tamalpais Outrigger holds the Kula Anela Hoe Wa’a
Outrigger Canoe Race around Angel Island on August 27. For both clubs,
team members come from all over the county — Novato, Mill Valley, San
Rafael and Sausalito — plus San Francisco and Sonoma County. The outrigger community is rooted in tradition and friendship, says Amy Connell
of the He’e Nalu women’s team: “We all share a love for the water and the
friendships and a heartfelt love for the sport.”
What does it take to be a team member? Committing to practice and
your team are really what it takes to become part of a crew. Canoe clubs
have set practices on the weekends; then, as the days get longer, practice
moves to a couple of times a week after work, usually at 5: 30 or 6 p.m.
A typical workout takes an hour to an hour-and-a-half. He’e Nalu has a
men’s workout Sunday mornings and a women’s on Saturday mornings.
How does one become a team member? Considering that six paddlers
are needed for each boat, the clubs continually seek members. He’e Nalu
Canoe Club is at 101 Surf Sports on the canal in San Rafael, which opens
up to San Pablo Bay; contact the club directly for more information about
its new paddler program. The Tamalpais Outrigger Canoe Club, at Fort
Baker in Sausalito’s Horseshoe Cove at the base of the Golden Gate
Bridge, does its recruitment in March and April.
Why outrigger canoe? For athletes wanting a team sport that
involves the water, community and a great workout, belonging to
an outrigger club has great appeal. Travel is also a draw: races happen all over Northern California, including Sacramento and Lake
Tahoe, and some teams even go to Hawaii or Southern California.
Training starts in March for summer competitions; the first races
are Memorial Day weekend. “There is nothing that clears my mind
better than being out on the water after work,” says Michele Dermer
of Tamalpais Outrigger Canoe Club. “When I am paddling, all I can
think of is my stroke and how I can help my crew glide our boat
across the bay. When we’re done, no matter what, it’s all smiles —
we’re cold and tired, sure, but smiling.” m
The Tamalpais Outrigger Canoe
Club practices in view of the
Golden Gate Bridge.