Author Topic: 50 Years of Paddling in California- PART 4  (Read 7442 times)

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Chris King

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50 Years of Paddling in California- PART 4
« on: August 18, 2009, 02:48PM »
So what now?

 

         Visionary, canoes, crew members and the race. What do you want to do now? I don’t know. What do you want to do? Stop! Toots and Louie had a plan. On Monday after the race, they took Blue Makua to Santa Monica where they met with Joe Massaglia, who owned the Mira Mar Hotel. Joe was no newcomer to the sport because he also owned the Waikiki Biltmore Hotel which was across the street from Hale Au Au Surfboards and Waikiki Tavern. Remember those two sites, they are where the statue of Duke Kahanamoku is now in Waikiki. So, Joe wants an event happening like the Catalina race in his area, Santa Monica pier. That’s what got us the Malibu to Santa Monica race and the Santa Monica Sea Festival and the canoe clubs of Santa Monica, Kai Nalu, Argonauts, South Bay and Cal-Hawaiians (but not all at once). Joe also was involved in the Hawaiian races, but because his hotel was across the street on Kalakua Ave, he never put a bid in for the beach events or Molokai event.

         Okay, you got another site and sponsor, what about equipment? Well Toots, the visionary, has an answer for that. In 1954, Toots had some fiberglass “surf” canoes made from a surf canoe that the beach services used from where he worked at. Toots worked for Outrigger Beach Services which was a beach boy concession hired by the Outrigger Canoe Club. Tom Zahn, Joe Quigg, Tom Moore, Matt Kivilin, Woody Brown and other surfer-lifeguard types lived there (Waikiki Taverns) and worked the beach also. In 1958, Toots and Louie went to the HCRA convention in December and asked for two items to be on the agenda. One was to help spread the sport to other areas nationally and internationally and to accept the use of fiberglass canoes, so the sport could expand. Both recommendations didn’t go over very well. Probably money was a big factor and this new plastic stuff was still too new and/or the traditions of the past would get set aside and the leaders didn’t want to be thought of as too contemporary which was already eating away at Hawaii’s traditions daily.  Toots obtained some funding from the Hawaii Visitors Bureau, USO Airlines and because Hawaii was now a state and tourism was on the upswing, Matson and the Lurline cruise ships were also contributors as was Toots’ benevolent group the Masons. This is Toots’ knowing who’s who in Honolulu.

         Well the equipment factor was next.. Toots knew fiberglass canoes were the answer, but how. Enter Tom Johnson, at the time Tom didn’t know of this event that was taking place in Newport (workout of weekends at the Dunes from early August until the race). Nothing about the event was really in the papers. Tom just moved to Costa Mesa from LA. Tom had just been selected as VP of the Southern California Canoe Association (flat water canoe and kayak). What comes next is what you coaches might call “timing is everything.” So picture this, Tom and his very supportive wife, Virginia, are coming back from Laguna Beach one Sunday afternoon down Pacific Coast Highway. She looks to the right as they pass that area above the Dunes where you can actually see the Dunes lagoon. You have that view, traveling at 30 mph, for about 10 seconds. So she sees the long canoes with pontoons beside them and mentions that to him. He immediately finds his way to the Dunes water area and that’s the start of our Malia history. Had he chosen a different route that day or had she looked the other way, who know when or what canoes we’d be paddling or if we would because everything was predicated on that sighting. I’ll leave the details for Tom to elaborate on when you see him. Oops, you now know who we are honoring to be the Grand Marshall at the 50th Anniversary of canoe paddling in Southern California. He will be on hand Sunday as our most honored guest.

         His expertise as a fiberglass genius can’t be stressed enough. When I started, he trained us in the art of building our own paddles and canoes. I went on to work for boat building companies which furthered my experience, but it was Tom’s taking the time to train the youth which made the difference in being a paddler and someone who could carry on the sport from all aspects. Back to Tom and the race. The Wednesday after the first race there was a luncheon at Berkshire’s Restaurant in Newport. The main topic of the gathering was to perpetuate this event. Influential persons from the communities were invited. Toots talked about how paddling gave the youth of Hawaii a sense of belonging and taught them life skills and how Hawaii, the new state, felt that they would like to share this team sport with others. Pledges were given to this new group to help send a team to Hawaii for the next Molokai race in Oct. `59. After more fundraising took place, each paddler had to come up with $50 to go if he made the team. The team got the royal treatment in Hawaii, seeing the new state’s governor and legislatures, Iolani Palace, a ride on a float in the Aloha Week parade. In the race, they flipped big time and couldn’t right it so they took a tow.. Waikiki Surf Club won its 5th time along with the Malia.

         So ends the `59 season. Well, not quite yet. Two articles in late October, in Newport, suggest that there is interest in Hawaiian canoeing in Atlantic City and Florida and that the Newport Harbor Outrigger Canoe Association would be holding meetings in the near future. Now begins the Southern California expansion with fiberglass copies of the Malia being the only canoe until late 1970s.

         Again, the Historical Committee members wish to thank Tom Johnson, the Kalama family, the Kahanamokus, and especially Toots for having that vision and drive to succeed.

 

Many Mahalos,

Bud Hohl and the historical gang

cho

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Re: 50 Years of Paddling in California- PART 4
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2009, 03:59PM »
chris,

here is the compilation on our site:
http://www.marinaoutrigger.org/content/view/376/1/

can you email bud and ask him to take a look.. there's a couple photos that i got from chris okieffe who got it from bud, so ask him to give us a caption and maybe point out various people in the pictures if he remembers (there are obviously some kahanamokus in there but he can be more specific)

also chris mentioned that he had a old zip drive full of classic images.. we should see if we can get a hold of that and convert it so it can be made available.. we can add some more images to the story from that i bet

maybe scora can do this, but knowing scora, not holding my breath.

it was a cool story.. thank bud for us.
A ship in harbor is safe - but that is not what ships are for.

cho

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Re: 50 Years of Paddling in California- PART 4
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2009, 10:34AM »
chris o'kieffe has some of bud's archive photos here:
http://reachforthestars.smugmug.com/gallery/9335976_cpUTf#624460226_q3NEM

old marina photo

A ship in harbor is safe - but that is not what ships are for.