Kamehameha Men’s Canoe Paddling Team Gives Back to Polynesian Voyaging Society


Courtesy of Richard Williams

Paddling athletes and managers give back to the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

With canoe paddling season in full swing, athletes and managers of the Kamehamehamen’s canoe paddling team have the opportunity to volunteer with the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS).

Every Tuesday and Thursday, a group of men takes a break from paddling to give back to their community, specifically an organization within the community that correlates with their sport directly.

On volunteer days, students walk from the Kamehameha practice area across the parking lot at Sand Island to PVS, where the world-famous double-hulled canoes, Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia are currently housed along with other voyaging canoes.

Senior paddling athlete Evan Padilla said, “the value of volunteering was that we got to learn about some of the roots of voyaging and how it works… it is an important part of our culture and it was a cool experience talking with the experts.” Students assist with varying tasks that the PVS members need help with such as moving large pieces from the canoes and sweeping the workshop.

Freshman manager Zoey Brum said, “I think that us volunteering showed how much everyone is passionate about paddling/voyaging, including the managers. I think that by everyone going and showing how much we care will encourage not only us to go again, eventually, but encourage other children to go as well, with or without school.

Head coach Richard Williams emphasizes the importance of this community service, saying that “Partnering with the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) as a canoe team community service project is an important life lesson for our team to experience: to work and support something without receiving any recognition; connects us with another Hawaiian cultural lifestyle (open-ocean sailing); builds community with ocean-minded people. Community Service with the PVS exposes our young men to other Hawaiian cultural opportunities that are connected to the ocean.”