Hikianalia Update by Todd Yamashita
In the Redondo Beach area it’s impossible to go without noticing how Hawaiians here have made this community a place of their own… that is a home away from home filled with multicultural mix of people who share the common element of aloha.
Indeed, in the early years of 1907, well before the heyday of Duke Kahanamoku, the Hawaiian waterman George Freeth, greeted Redondo Beach with the gift of surfing–they promoted him as “the man who walked on water.” Freeth stayed in Redondo and would soon thereafter invent the first rescue board and create the practice of modern lifeguarding.
Sat, Oct 20, 2018
When Hikianalia sailed into King Harbor at Redondo beach this week, they were greeted by dozens of outrigger canoes from Lanakila Canoe Club led by a man who could be seen as Freeth’s modern day counterpart, Al Ching. Al’s been a mentor and coach to canoe paddlers here for nearly 50 years–many of his paddlers are champions in the sport including Al himself, who just this month led his masters team to first place at the Molokai Hoe in Hawaiʻi.
Al and the club were instrumental in helping us setup and celebrate Hikianalia’s arrival to King Harbor where over 400 people showed to take part in the historic arrival. Al shared that he has wanted for years to host a voyaging canoe and that he was grateful to have us sail into port.
The incoming leg three crew of Hikianalia began their busy weekend right next door to the the Lanakila Canoe Club at King Harbor Yacht Club. Our 8:30am start on Saturday began with providing a private tour to Hālau Hula Moaniʻaʻala Anuhea with Kumu Hula Nani Aiu-Quezada. Over 90 members showed up to tour the canoe and later presented a fine performance for the crew and staff at the King Harbor Yacht Club.
From 10am to 4pm, crewmembers hosted roughly 350 people including Mayor Bill Brand who arrived via standup paddle board.
We finished out the day ending up at Al’s house just up the street. There, we were treated to classic Hawaiian music in back-yard kanikapila fashion. Also, on hand was local style potluck island food that crewmembers enjoyed while mingling with paddlers from the club. In return for his immense hospitality, Captain Mark Ellis gifted Al with a photograph signed by the crew, as well as a kahili sporting colors that match those of Lanakila Canoe Club.
Sun, Oct 21, 2018
A later start Sunday morning afforded the crew some time to get on the water using one of the Lanakila outriggers that the club loaned us. A handful of crewmembers, including Mālama Honua Patagonia book author Jennifer Allen, took to the water to enjoy a gorgeous sunny morning.
When canoe tours fired up again at 10am we were surprised with a generous gift of 26 dozen (312) doughnuts from Malaea and Charles Coleman on behalf of the Pacific American Community Center. Malaea wanted to make sure the crew and visitors had a treat and indeed every doughnut disappeared by the end of the day.
“We need to return to our ancestors and connect… this is why we came today. Food is always a great way to make new connections and bring people together,” said Malaea. She wanted to make sure to thank Mr. Kʻs Doughnuts of Lakewood, CA who donated every single tasty delight–mahalo!
Word must have gotten out about the interesting tours and friendly crewmembers as there was a roughly 75% increase in visitors over the day before… around 440 people showed to Sunday’s canoe tours including the City of Redondo Beach council-member, Todd Loewenstein.
But the day wasn’t over, at 5pm we headed a short drive away to the Hōkūleʻa Brewing Company where the crew presented a thirty minute recap video of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage and had a lively question and answer session that brought both tears and laughter.
Finally, we ended our day with friends, including Mark Hansen, from the King Harbor Yacht Club who, with the staff, has so graciously hosted us here for nearly a week. For dinner, we were afforded nothing less than the best that included steak and lobster.
Besides helping with logistics, getting the word out to media and club members, Mark also tracked visitor numbers for us… grand total over our stay: over 1550 people were engaged throughout Hikianalia events this week!
From all of us here aboard Hikianalia, we would like to thank each and every one of our hosts here in Redondo, as well as all the enthusiastic visitors who came to see Hikianalia and talk story with crewmembers. We are all reminded that Hawaiʻi is more than a place, it’s the embodiment of aloha that extends far beyond the boundaries of our island home.