Senior Kylie Yamauchi lines her canoe up with the starting line as her coaches and teammates watch from the black sand shores of Hilo.
With their eyes on the escort boat, everyone waits for the raised flags to signal the start of the race. The racers reach their arms out, getting their paddles in place, and then suddenly, the rows of boats jerk forward as each team takes their first stroke.
Yamauchi paddled for Kamehameha Canoe Club’s age sixteen girl’s team over this past summer break. Starting late in the fourth quarter of the 2014-2015 school year and ending only one day before school started this semester, the paddling season occupied Yamauchi and the rest of her team with practices and races every week. Though undefeated for the majority of the season, the crew placed tenth out of fourteen overall in the 2015 Hawaii Canoe Racing Association State Championships. Despite finishing tenth, Yamauchi says that she had a positive experience. “Personally, I have no regrets from this season,” she said, “and I feel like I’ve used every day to the best of my ability. This past summer season was an unforgettable and fun experience.”
At the end of each school year, students like Yamauchi leave their Pac-5 and HBA teams temporarily behind and join various clubs across the island for summer sports. For many, club participation filled their otherwise empty summer days. Others joined clubs over the summer to prepare for more competitive school seasons.[one_third]
“When a team plays a good game or even wins a championship, you can say, ‘I was a part of that.’”
Sophomore Micah Mitchell[/one_third]
Sophomore Micah Mitchell played for the basketball team The Honolulu Tar Heels over the summer. His team traveled to Las Vegas for a tournament after an almost undefeated season. Mitchell reports that he was happy with their placing at the tournament and their overall performance. He adds, “The best part about participating in a summer sport is that you can be a part of something and everyone has the mindset of working to be the best. When a team plays a good game or even wins a championship, you can say, ‘I was a part of that.’”
This summer season was not only filled with games and tournaments. Club participants bonded with their teammates through traveling or practicing together. Junior Kellen Takatsuka, a member of the Ku’ikahi volleyball team, says, “My favorite memory would have to be playing ping pong with a little desk as the table, a box of donuts as the net, and slippers as paddles.”
Although students have begun transitioning back into school as their summer seasons end, many student athletes are already looking forward to next summer. Yamauchi concludes, “Overall, any time spent with the girls in or out of practice is a great way to spend my day. I can’t wait for next summer!”