Photo Courtesy: Makai Ocean Magazine
Outrigger Paddling Junior Champ/Waterman/Keola’s Younger Brother
Passion: Outrigger Paddling
Philosophy: "Pain is temporary, Quitting is forever"
Kekoa made a name for himself by winning the Outrigger Molokai Solo Junior Championship on his first attempt in 2010 when he was 17. But, he jokes that he’s better known as “Keola’s Younger Brother.”
Kekoa got his feet wet, hanging around the racing scene , looking up to his older brother and role model Keola Wright. Kekoa was 7 years old when he started paddling in a 6 man outrigger canoe and began his long journey to the podium. As Kekoa explains, “I finished last place in every event that I participated in but the camaraderie and friendship I built with my teammates trumped the placing.”
Kekoa branched off to one man paddling at age 15 and the rest is history. Now 22, he's ready to tackle the Molokai to Oahu race again this season and aims to place in the top 10 of the circuit. Pride and respect for the sport inspire Kekoa. The humble Hawaii waterman says “I would love to travel around the world and experience and compete in races held in their respective waters.”
3 QUESTIONS with KEKOA:
What do you love best about your sport?
It’s on the ocean! Growing up on the west side of Oahu, the ocean was second nature to me. Whether surfing, fishing, diving, jet skiing, or boating. It just seemed to fit in that I take on paddling. And picked up a knack for it. The ocean is where I go to relax and get away. Hardly a better feeling than paddling down the coast and taking in the beauties of Hawaii.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Stay humble, never forget where you come from, and let your actions earn you your respect.
Do you have a ritual to get pumped up for competition?
My new ritual is to drink a Gr3en energy, and mentally visualize how I want to race. My reward or “guilty pleasure” would be beer. In my mind it's a great way to end a hard day of work and working out.
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