This oral history interview is a project of the Historical Committee of the Outrigger Canoe Club. The legal rights of this material remain with the Outrigger Canoe Club. Anyone wishing to reproduce it or quote at length from it should contact the Historical Committee of the Outrigger Canoe Club. The reader should be aware that an oral history document portrays information as recalled by the interviewee. Because of the spontaneous nature of this kind of document, it may contain statements and impressions that are not factual. A full transcript of the video may be found below.
An Interview by Marilyn Kali
June 15, 2018
MK: Today is Friday, June 15th, 2018. We’re in the boardroom with the Outrigger Canoe Club, and I’m Marilyn Kali, a member of the club’s Historical Committee. One of the Historical Committee’s projects is to do oral histories of long-time members. Today, it’s my pleasure to be talking to one of our best water women, Paula Crabb. Good morning, Paula.
PCC: Good morning.
MK: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself, when and where you were born, and where you grew up?
PCC: I was born and raised in Connecticut. I grew up there, and moved out here in 1974, so did my high school and college years back in Connecticut.
MK: Where did you go to high school?
PCC: It was small town Waterford down by New London, the end towards Rhode Island, and I went to a college at Southern Connecticut State University, and also did my master’s there too.
MK: Do you have any siblings?
PCC: Yes. I come from a family of seven. Two boys and five girls, and I’m the second oldest.
MK: Did you play any sports in high school?
PCC: I did. I was fortunate that my physical education teacher really pushed it because from 1970 to 1974 was when I went to high school, and I actually competed in track and field, gymnastics, field hockey, and cheerleading, whereas Title IX was just signed in 1972, so it was really good that we did have quite a few sports for women while I was in high school, and I was fortunate on that.
MK: That’s great. What did you do in track and field?
PCC: I did hurdles, long jump, high jump and sprinting.
MK: What did you do in gymnastics?
PCC: I mostly focused on uneven bars and vaulting, but did all-around just basic in high school, and then went on to college to compete. I competed one year in track and field in college because I then had a knee injury, and then that limited my competition to just basically do uneven bars during college and vaulting.
MK: Wow. That’s a sport we don’t hear too much about here in Hawaii. We hear about it every four years on the Olympics. Were you really involved in gymnastics?
PCC: Yes, I was. I also did a lot of judging, so it helped me because I made my money through college, and I ended up coaching when I came out here. That’s actually part of how I got out here at Punahou. They needed a gymnastic person during the summer, so during my junior year of college, I came out and taught summer school at Punahou, then went back, graduated. They kept in touch and offered me the job, and I ended up coaching at Punahou for gymnastics, and also club level at the national and regional level for over twenty-three years.
MK: Wow. I didn’t know Punahou had a gymnastic team.
PCC: Yes. As a matter of fact, I think it was after the 1972 Olympics. The President then, Dr. Fox was really big on it, and that’s where there were quite a few teachers hired really for gymnastics, and that’s how I was hired at Punahou, which I was fortunate.
MK: Did you teach as well?
PCC: Yes. I taught physical education.
MK: To what level?
PCC: I had all levels. I had fifth, sixth and high school level, and later on, they dropped the gymnastic program because there weren’t that many schools involved in the ILH (Interscholastic League of Honolulu) here, so when they did that, I started, I called it ‘Elements of Movement’, which was basic gymnastics and movement for K-4, so I ran that program for over twenty years, and it’s still going now.
MK: Are you still teaching?
PCC: I’m still teaching.
MK: You’ve been at Punahou since 1974? When are you planning to retire?
PCC: That’s the question everyone asks. I have to say when the time is ready.
MK: When you stop having fun.
PCC: Right now, it’s not. Yeah. I love what I do, so I might as well do it while I can.
MK: Do you coach boys or girls?
PCC: We had a mixture then of coaching boys both, but basically, I coach the girl’s team.
MK: Any outstanding gymnast that you-
PCC: Yes. That’s actually how I got involved here at Outrigger. Kerry Baird, Gay Balding, Teri Linn 00:05:01], Tyler Dacey, all members here of the Club. I was coaching them, and they would bring me down here, and that’s how I got involved with the Outrigger, the family ties there, and that’s what kept me here too in Hawaii rather than going back home, so I have to thank those families for introducing me here to the Outrigger.
MK: That’s wonderful. Then, you became a member in 1977?
MK: You decided to join because of the family ties or-
PCC: The family ties. I thought that it would be a great place to bring my family when they came out to visit me, so that’s when I joined.
MK: That’s wonderful. Had you been a water sports person before you came here?
PCC: Connecticut, you have about three months of the year, so basically, we grew up, I was right on Long Island Sound, so we had motor boats and jet skis, so basically, that was really all I was involved in. We’d set our lobster pots, things like that, but otherwise, that was all I ever had as far as my water experience.
MK: How did you get started in the water here?
PCC: I think that was in 1978. Everyone I think … I don’t know. I just started paddling. They needed a paddler, so I started, and I actually … Bill Mowat was my first coach, so I actually started as a Novice A that year and continued paddling, then wanted to do the distance season. It was canceled in 1980, and 1981 was my first year that I did distance.
MK: You’ve been doing it ever since?
MK: Have you missed in years?
PCC: I missed, I think all but three. One with Trevor in 1989. I was pregnant with him in September, and then I went back to get my master’s, I think it was 1983, 1984, so I think I’ve missed maybe four just between.
MK: You’re amazing, you’re still out there. You were part of the dynasty of the Club in the 1980s and the 1990s. What do you remember about those years?
PCC: They were just fun, exciting. It was like I really was a novice in my first year not knowing what to really expect, and sometimes, that’s even better because you just do what you’re told rather than questioning anything, but those years were great. There was a lot of support. The Club was supported. We’d have even our … Yeah, I remember our team dinners together, paddling, and everybody just worked together. The Canoe Racing Committee was, it was like one big family.
MK: It was good times.
MK: All the after-parties back here?
PCC: Yes. There were many of those.
MK: Those were really good times. I don’t know if they’re still doing that. It doesn’t seem as much.
PCC: No. It seems that like everything, people are busy with their time. We’d have great fun days with Club Day. They’ve tried to bring that back, and some of them, they’ve done a good job for the little kids, but before, it was both the young and the old all together, working together. We’d have races even at the Ala Wai with Lōkahi, potlucks and working together too with other clubs.
MK: Yeah. Good times. When you paddled Novice, were anybody else, are they still paddling now that paddled with you?
PCC: Yes, my novice year was … Ann Buck, who’s still paddling, Darcy Ames, and then Cindy Foster was on that crew. That was my first Novice A years, and then I moved right up actually to sophomores. Keone Downing coached us, so I was with Kaiulu (Downing) and Leayne (Downing), his wife, and that’s when I also had been steering, so I knew that I had to paddle because it was also hard to make it as a steersman here, but then, I was able to do both.
MK: Who taught you to steer?
PCC: I kind of learned a little on my own, but Billy Mowat was my Novice A coach, and then I’d have to say Keone Downing, and just working, Mike Holmes. Also, coaching would help, and then again, Tommy Conner.
MK: You really had some real good instructors with all of those people.
MK: Wonderful. What do you like about paddling?
PCC: Obviously, it’s a great workout, but just to be on the water is something special. You’re able to just clear your mind away, being out in nature, but the biggest thing too is the friendships and the social aspect too of paddling. It’s great because I’m able now to paddle with many of my students. Many of the women that I’ve paddled with, I’m now paddling with their daughters, so it’s great because it’s for any age, gender, and no matter what ability. It’s a sport that whether you want to just be at the social level or highly competitive, so it’s such a big range that way.
MK: What’s it like to be a paddler at the Outrigger when you’re dominating the sport?
PCC: I think in anything, people obviously look up to you or look up, maybe it’s just to the Club in any sport. I see that with volleyball, even with my husband and my sons. Outrigger was just a … When they dominate, they’re just noted by the name, not necessarily you as an individual of just how well they are, and so going to California, going to other countries, Outrigger has established that dominance in all over the world.
MK: What happens when you’re paddling for a Club that’s not winning as we have been doing in the last few years? Is it the same?
PCC: They’re still known as the Outrigger, or else, they’ll then look … Then, that’s where I think they look more at the individuals too of the set crews of how they’re doing because even though we’re one Club, now we’ve got different crews, different people there, so they’ll still look out, and you’re still representing Outrigger, and I think it’s still known even though maybe we’re not winning a state championship. They still are always looking behind their backs that we can sneak up on them.
MK: We can. In regattas, do you paddle for all of the upper division crews?
PCC: I, in the last few years because I … Family is a little more important to me since I’ve been paddling a lot. I’ve just basically been here where I’m needed. Last year, I ended up steering more the Senior Women’s Race, and since you could race twice on that, I ended up paddling in the 60’s and won all our races last year, so it’s the opportunities there, and wherever I’m needed, I’ll go, whether it’s Open or Masters.
MK: Have you won any state championships?
PCC: I have. I can’t … Back in my novice years and back in the 1980s, in 1990s, I don’t remember the dates, but I have won.
MK: Are there any regattas that are more memorable than others?
PCC: I think it’s always the Fourth of July or with Open Steersman. I’ll never forget because as a steersman, a lot of times, they’ll want you to sit and maybe in five seat to help out, and I think the one was where Walter (Guild) was steering us. Kamoa (Kalama) was steering Kailua, and we actually collided and crashed into each other. Everyone was safe, but those are the ones where you watch to see the excitement of you can be far ahead, and then get swamped, or a wave hits you and you never know who’s going to win the race no matter how you’ve been doing that season.
MK: That’s big surf or no surf usually. How many years have you been paddling distance?
PCC: 1981 was my first year.
MK: That’s thirty some years?
PCC: Close to that.
MK: Oh my goodness. How many Na Wahines did you do?
PCC: All but four.
MK: All but four, and that Dad Center is the same?
PCC: Dad … Yes, probably about the same. The first Dad Center I think was just from Marshall’s (Rosa’s house), and then all the way from Lanikai. I didn’t paddle that one, but that was my first year as far as getting involved in distance.
MK: Were you on the winning Na Wahine crews in 1981, 1985 and 1992?
MK: Those were great years for the women, and we’ve been coming in second the last couple of years, so maybe we’re going to be back up there.
PCC: Yes. In that, we’ve done … We’ve always now too in the last few years, I’ve steered the Koa, and we’ve represented Outrigger by coming in first there, so that’s good too just being out there.
MK: That’s really an interesting point because there’s many ways to win in the Molokai race. You can be first overall, you can be first in Koa, or you can be first in age divisions. What do you think of all of that instead of just having one winning crew?
PCC: I think it’s great, the divisions that win. It’s the opportunity and like I said, sometimes it’s not just about winning. It’s just getting out there and doing it. Every crossing that I’ve done, conditions are always different. You never know what to expect.
They’ve talked even in the men to have an Elite division and Open division. Now, they are still trying to get the Ultralight division. This year actually for Dad Center, I’m going to be having a 60’s division for women, so I think any division. I’ve paddled 40’s, 50’s, and Koa, and won. I’ve actually won in every single division.
MK: That’s wonderful. I guess people who aren’t necessarily first crew have an opportunity to win in another division, which is I think a wonderful experience besides just being out there. What was your most memorable Na Wahine?
PCC: I’d have to say probably winning in 1992 because we actually broke Off Shores’ winning streak of I think they won twelve in a row of something like that, so that to me to know that they were behind us this time.
MK: They were a very strong crew?
MK: They’ve stopped entering. Do they no longer have a crew or-
PCC: They don’t have a club, but a lot of their paddlers will paddle for Newport Aquatics or other clubs too, so they’re still some of those gals on that team paddling with other clubs.
MK: They certainly did dominate for quite a while, and they had Olympians on their team too, didn’t they as I recall? Yeah. Who are some of their coaches that you’ve admired?
PCC: I’d have to say Tommy Conner, my first distance coach. Walter (Guild) of course is always there, knowledgeable, coaches from other clubs, Kamoa (Kalama), Bruce Blankenfeld, Kala Kukea who’s no longer with us and Tommy, also Mike Holmes. There’s a lot of great coaches now. Of course, Johnny Puakea, and it’s nice to see the younger people stepping up like Pat Dolan this year.
MK: He’s, has a lot of experience, but not a lot of years, so it’d be interesting to see what he does.
MK: You’ve gone up and down and cruised from as you’ve mentioned going from Sophomore Women, all the way up to the Masters, and you’ve been doing it for such a long time, thirty-five plus years. What’s your secret to paddling longevity?
PCC: I think the secret, and this is what I tell my students that I teach is to just find something that you enjoy to be active, to be active and stay active. That’s what’s important for your overall health.
MK: Do you prefer paddling regattas or distance?
PCC: I like the challenge of the different conditions that you have out in the open ocean rather than just the short sprinting mile.
MK: It takes more decision-making when you’re in the …
PCC: It’s just not just decision-making, but there’s more of a team cohesiveness because you really have to work on a lot of different things rather than just the stroke. There’s other things of getting in and out of the boat. There’s all the logistics going on there, but to be out in the open ocean, that’s why sometimes like Nanakuli, Kailua, Waimanalo, those are fun regattas because you are in open ocean, but not for very long.
MK: What seat do you usually sit in the canoe?
PCC: One or six.
MK: Who taught you to steer?
PCC: Those are the people that I mentioned, Tommy, Billy.
MK: Which do you prefer, which seat?
PCC: I think in distance, I really like the challenge of steering, trying to take the canoe in the best path for the paddlers finding and working the ocean, but I enjoyed both. There’s not … I enjoyed them all.
MK: Anything exciting ever happened during a distance race that you can share?
PCC: There’s so many right now. I just can’t think on the top of my head, but there’s … I think some of the challenges are actually getting there. For instance, on Molokai, just trying to get down to Hale O Lono, we’ve had our challenges there with the dirt road, the mud, maybe even not even making it down with that road that was kind of treacherous then. There’s, hasn’t … Off the top of my head, I just can’t think of anything that …
MK: Do you meet any sharks or-
PCC: There was one. Actually, we were filmed in Sports Illustrated, I think it was 1991 or two, somewhere around there, and they’d actually have a picture of I think a whale shark in the water near our boat, but otherwise, I don’t … Some people may say they see it. I don’t. It doesn’t phase me.
MK: Any stories relating to changes?
PCC: I haven’t seen them. Oh, yeah. People have missed changes, or else, as a steersman, when they drop a change and it’s off my line, I’ll just go right by it, and they have to re-drop.
MK: Have you done that as a steersman?
PCC: I’ve done that. Yes.
PCC: Because it’s taking me off my line, way off, and again, it’s sometimes, that’s just what you have to do for …
MK: It’s not efficient?
MK: That’s what you’re looking for in a distance race, that line? Now, when you started, we probably didn’t have GPS.
MK: Who did the route for you?
PCC: The coaches did, or they’d line us up and tell us. As a matter of fact, one story was when we were in Catalina and it’s all foggy there, you can’t see anything, I’ll never forget my very first year that you couldn’t see from me to you, and you could just hear people around in the fog, and we had to follow this big escort boat that had this big [Coors 00:23:35] balloon on it, and finally, the fog lifted a little bit, but that kind of was scary when you’re out there not being able to see anything. We had this one little compass that we tried to keep on the boat, but then that got kicked off in the ocean. Another one, I think it was Malia Kamisugi’s dad had these walkie-talkies, and he was escorting us, so we tried to put one in the boat so he can tell me what to do, but that ended up not working. Now, they just have the GPS technology.
MK: Does that make it easier?
PCC: It does, but you still have to take a challenge because you could either follow your line, you’re doing, or do you want to stay with your competition and stay with someone, so sometimes we just have to make those decisions.
MK: How do you make those decisions?
PCC: The coach will make it.
MK: The coach does. Have you ever coached any of the distance races?
PCC: I’ve helped out and made some change charts when I had an injury with the ribs, so when we went to Catalina, I’ve done the change charts, and I’ve done them for quite a few of the races. The last few years too.
MK: That’s interesting. Then, you served as Chair of the Canoe Racing Committee in 1997, and again in 2001. What’s the job of the Canoe Racing Chair?
PCC: I think it’s changed a lot now. Before, it was pretty much organizing and making sure that you had all your leaders in all the different areas covered, and holding meetings, minutes, reporting to the Board, reporting to the Club Captain.
MK: Did you have to select the coaches? Who selects the coaches?
PCC: The head coach. We’d have a head coach, and we’d select coaches. We actually had to interview coaches too.
MK: How many people served on that Canoe Racing Committee?
PCC: It would just depend maybe twelve, depending on how many areas that we would have, whether it was registration, youth coach, adults, PR, and distance, and things like that, so I’d say about twelve.
MK: The Club actually puts on two races a year. Sometimes, we used to do three. We have the Macfarlane on Fourth of July, and we have Dad Center, and then we used to have the Skippy Race too for distance for a while. What is involved in … Does the Canoe Racing Committee put those on as well?
PCC: They do. Basically then, it’ll be more one or two people. Doing it then, it’s a lot easier sometimes to organize, which is two or three people rather than trying to have that out. Walter was running pretty much the Skippy Race, and then Hui Lanakila now runs that.
MK: You ran the Dad Center Race for how many years?
PCC: Close to twenty now.
MK: What’s involved in that?
PCC: A lot, making out the registration form, getting numbers for the canoes, getting the medals, the pareaus, which the women love. That’s the biggest thing. I think they all paddle for the pareaus rather than paddling, setting that, setting up working with our lifeguard staff here, setting up buoys, setting up the course, and then of course, working with our food and beverage, to set up for that, so it’s all organizing.
MK: Then, on race day itself, OHCRA takes over?
PCC: They do, and it’s sometimes coordinating with them, and entry fees, and also crew lists can be a challenge.
MK: The race has really grown. We used to have four to six crews in the beginning, and now, sixty, seventy.
PCC: I’d say probably fifty-nine. I’d say we’ve had maybe sixty.
MK: Yeah. That’s gotten to be a big race.
PCC: It is. The women love it. I think it’s one of the best races because you’ve got all kinds of conditions for it.
MK: It starts are Lanikai?
PCC: Kailua Beach.
MK: Kailua Beach. Does it have a Le Mans start or what do you do?
PCC: There’s different starts each year, so basically, the last few years has been the Le Mans.
MK: Do the women like that?
PCC: I think it’s a fair start because we have to have … We’ve started to have two heats, so my thing in anything is to just try to get a good fair start. OHCRA prefers that one. Sometimes, we have to do that because of a low tide through Lanikai when you’re coming through there.
MK: The boat is on the sand or the boat’s in the water when you-
PCC: It’s in the water with usually two people holding it.
MK: Then, everybody has to jump in and running start.
PCC: And go.
MK: There aren’t too many beaches that are wide enough to do that, so Kailua is one of them.
MK: That’s great. I know I’ve heard from so many people that it is their favorite race because there’s one kind of water going around Makapu’u, and then going around the cliffs there’s different conditions. Which of the conditions are the most challenging?
PCC: It depends on the tide and the wind, so basically of course, around Makapu’u or behind around Hanauma Bay.
MK: Yeah. How long is the race generally?
PCC: Usually about three … Top crews will do it in three hours, three and a half.
MK: Yeah. I’ve noticed that you’ve added a number of divisions as well, including a Youth division for the last few years. Is that a good idea for a distance race?
PCC: Yes, and I’m glad that we did because now, there’s a Youth division in Molokai.
MK: Do you think that led to part of that-
PCC: I think so. There was a push to show that the youth can do it.
MK: The Dad Center was the first to show that women could paddle distance, and then the girls too. That’s wonderful. You’ve also increased the Masters divisions in from just Masters and Senior Masters, and then we have age groups now. How many different age groups are there?
PCC: This year, we’re starting at 60’s, so we’ll have 40, 50, 55 and 60.
MK: You have enough women in those age groups to compete?
PCC: We’ll see. If we don’t, we also have the Ultra, but nobody’s been entering that. Actually, I take it back. Last year and the year before, there were two entries, so we have the divisions open for anyone.
MK: We have (perpetual) trophies for all of those different divisions now?
PCC: Yes. Yes, and Kawika Grant keeps those updated, and he’s the man on the trophies, so I thank him very much.
MK: There’s a trophy for the winning crew and the first Koa?
PCC: Then, for every masters and youth.
MK: Each one of the age groups. That’s really good. That’s, I mean … They’re all perpetual trophies so that we get to, people can come back and look at them and see their name if it happens.
MK: Do we put in the actual names or just clubs?
PCC: They started to try to put the names on it. They’re working on that.
MK: Yeah. That’s great. What year did Dad Center start?
PCC: I think it was 1978. I’m not sure. I think.
MK: Somewhere around, yeah. I think it’s great that Outrigger sponsors these races for the community and that we’re showing the leadership that we’ve had throughout the history of canoe racing that by being there, and supporting, and encouraging. How do you feel about Outrigger’s leadership?
PCC: I think that’s important to be out there in the community. I’d like to see us. We used to sponsor more OC1. We still do paddleboard swims and support with the kayak, so I think it’s great that we’re out there as a Club supporting all of the different water sports.
MK: That’s great. Now, we do sponsor the Macfarlane on the Fourth of July, and that comes under the purview of the Canoe Racing Committee. What are the logistics for putting on a race in Waikiki?
PCC: There’s a lot of permits, things that go on on that. Everything else that’s involved too as far as getting OHCRA their hotel rooms, making sure the permits, the flags, getting to set up on the beach, along with again medals and getting an emcee, and getting programs printed, all of that, everything that’s involved.
MK: Why does OHCRA need hotel rooms?
PCC: For the officials for their timing.
MK: That’s where the judges are and the timers?
MK: Wow. What hotel are they in?
PCC: The Sheridan.
MK: They look down on the race course? Is that what … The finish line. I noticed we’ve gone from a quarter mile and half mile flags to just quarter mile. What was the reason for that?
PCC: That was OHCRA’s decision. I’m not sure on that.
MK: Okay. Now, you were selected Club Captain and served from 1986 to 1988. What does the Club Captain do?
PCC: Back then, they were basically the liaison between the chairs and the Board.
MK: These are the chairs of the various athletic committees, subcommittees, and you have to keep your hand on all … Do you select the chairs, or how does that work?
PCC: Some of them, yes, so part of that. Back then, it was, all those people who were interested. You had a list of names, and then you could choose from them.
MK: You were in charge of registration for canoe racing for how many years?
PCC: Probably almost as many years. Probably at least twenty.
MK: Sitting at the race all day?
PCC: Maybe about fifteen of those years, yeah, filling out cards, and that was back when we didn’t really have computers.
MK: You had to handwrite entry forms for every race?
PCC: Yes, and type out cards instead of now, they just print out cards.
MK: The cards identify each paddler. Is that what it is?
MK: I remember the officials used to come down and compare the cards with the boat when people would paddle into shore.
MK: I haven’t seen them doing that for a while.
PCC: They’ll do that occasionally or definitely at the state races. They do that.
MK: Registration means … What all does that include? That was a tremendous job.
PCC: It’s taking all the people that sign up with their registration, organizing their t-shirts, organizing them in their classifications, making sure their classifications were correct from the last year they paddled, getting transfers. Now, everything’s done online where they can transfer online. Before, it was all handwritten and you have to get forms, and then making out their cards, so you used to have to take a picture, glue on their picture, type out their names, have them sign their names, have them sign waivers, and then getting that roster out and sitting there. To register them, you had to sit with an OHCRA official. One by one, they would go through the card and match up their birth dates with them. That was time-consuming.
MK: Wow. Then, they’ve now computerized that pretty much the last few years?
MK: Still, and you used to have to sit at the beach all day. I remember sitting at that table, and coaches would come up saying so and so didn’t show up. I’m going to paddle somebody else in their place.
PCC: Yeah. Then, make the changes.
MK: “Oh, we need somebody. We don’t have a paddler.”
PCC: That still happens a little bit now too.
MK: You’d have to run up to wherever the officials were and give them the change, and as I said, you sat there all day, but we didn’t have as many races back then, did we?
PCC: No. Not as many.
MK: Yeah. Now, we have forty-five or something. That’s amazing. Are you still helping with registration?
PCC: I got involved again this year. I am helping out because there’s a new system now too, so I’m helping out.
MK: What’s the new system?
PCC: It’s all now electronic where they’ll just have the cards, and they scan the cards, and they have them in the system. We still have cards, but they’re printed out now.
MK: You don’t have to put the individual cards together for each race?
PCC: You do for your crew. Once the coaches turn in their crew list, you still then put the six cards together, bring it up to OHCRA. They scan the cards to then see if that paddler is legal and everything.
MK: They’re scanning cards for forty-five races for eighteen clubs?
PCC: For clubs, yeah, and thousands of people.
MK: On race day? Wow.
PCC: Yeah. I give them credit because that’s all volunteer too even though sometimes we feel that we have a hard time dealing with them, but they’re doing a good job on that.
MK: That’s a thankless job because for everybody, for you and for them as well, but I guess if it wasn’t done, we’d have illegal paddlers and club’s taking shortcuts.
PCC: Which they still do, and they catch it.
MK: Are you going to stay involved in canoe racing?
PCC: Probably while I’m here. Yes.
MK: Why? Where are you going?
PCC: When I just go … When I’m here, I should just say.
MK: Yeah, when you’re here. Okay. What other sports are you involved in?
PCC: Right now? No other sports. I teach yoga, so I do a lot of yoga myself.
MK: You have been … Were you ever a volleyball player?
PCC: I played a very little … I think it was my first year out here. I think they needed someone to be out on the court so to speak, but that was about it.
MK: Did you get involved in running at all?
PCC: I did. I competed in a few of the local races, and then also, they had a track and field AA … I don’t know if it was AAU or not, but that was back in like the 1980s, yeah.
MK: The state games I recall was that?
PCC: I was in the state games. This was well before the state games.
MK: AAU Track and Field up at the university.
MK: Yeah. I remember that. Then, you’ve been very much involved in OC1 racing?
MK: You enter the races all the time, and you’re a regular competitor, and you win your division?
PCC: Since- Yeah.
MK: What do you like about those races?
PCC: I just love paddling, and like I said, that’s my workout. That’s my sport right now, so entering the races just helps push you a little bit more, so I think the first race I did was way back … Actually, the Molokai crossing started in about 1995. Maybe 1993 was the first race where they actually finished here at Outrigger. Walter (Guild) ran that.
Then, my first crossing was actually with … They had three women then. Now, they have the choice going back to that, but I did that with Kisi (Haine) and Kaili (Chun) in 1995, and I’ve been-
MK: That’s a relay or-
PCC: Yeah, that’s a relay, the Kaiwi Channel Relay, and I’ve done probably about fifteen of those.
MK: When was the most recent one?
PCC: I think about maybe six years ago or so. I actually did that with … I won the Masters Division with Jane McKee, but basically, I’ve always … Now, the time when they have it is always traveling time to watch my boys play volleyball.
MK: You’re not doing this solo?
MK: You enjoy that for just … That’s your fun?
PCC: Yeah. That’s my fun.
MK: That’s great. Now, your husband and your kids are great volleyball players, and you said you just played a little bit.
PCC: I don’t even call it playing.
MK: The Club has a new full-time Athletic Director, and she’s been trying to take some of the work off of the volunteers on the committee. How do you think that’s working out?
PCC: It’s working out now with the registration, but again, it’s a learning curve, so she’s learning how to do some of the things, which the committee people or people on the committee are still helping out to show her the ropes, so I think in a few years, it should be pretty good to take over some of that work, but first is to know what’s involved, and she’s got to learn.
MK: She’s been here about a little over a year now I guess, so yeah, it takes a while to, because there’s so many sports and so many people. In 1996, you were elected to the Winged “O” as one of our top athletes, the second woman to be inducted. How does it feel to be in the same group with Dad Center, and Duke Kahanamoku, Tommy Haine?
PCC: It’s a privilege to think that you’re honored at what, I think your accomplishments. Maybe I don’t feel as compared to them of how I am, but I’m honored that Outrigger has actually looked at I guess my accomplishments and has honored those.
MK: And respected everything that you’ve done. That’s a great tribute. What do you think your greatest contribution has been to the Club?
PCC: Probably the Canoe Racing Committee and organizing.
MK: I remember when you were Club Captain, you came up with like a manual or something for all of the different athletic committees, and procedures, and so I guess it was the first time anybody had actually put it all in writing, so that was a tremendous accomplishment, and I think they’re still looking at using parts of that now even though things have changed somewhat, but they’re still doing that.
PCC: Yeah. To continue.
MK: How do you think our athletic program is going to be like in about next five to ten years?
PCC: I think it’d be like anything in any company. It’s going to be the people involved and the ones that actually care and take pride in perpetuating the name rather than perpetuating their name.
MK: Interesting, and that’s … Do we care more about the Club or I guess ourselves? We have both around here, I’m sure.
MK: Did you compete in any other sports that I haven’t asked you about?
MK: Okay. Let’s talk a little bit about your family. Your first husband was Ilmar Tarikas. He was a volleyball player on many of the Club’s teams. Did you meet him here?
PCC: No. That’s actually how I got out here. He was stationed here, so I came out to visit him that summer, and that’s when I worked at Punahou, and then decided rather than waiting for him to get out of the services, we got married, so that’s how I actually came out here. He played basketball for the service and volleyball, and then played volleyball here at the Club.
MK: Then, he became a member as well. Yeah. Did you have any children with him?
MK: Now, you’re married to Chris Crabb, and who’s another legendary Club volleyball player. When did you guys get married?
PCC: In 1988.
MK: You have two sons?
MK: What are their names?
PCC: Trevor and Taylor.
MK: Trevor is how old now?
PCC: 28, and Taylor is 26.
MK: My goodness. Tell me about what they’re doing now?
PCC: They’re now following their dad. They’re playing professional beach volleyball.
MK: Was that their dream?
PCC: I don’t know if it was their dream. Maybe Trevor’s dream was more basketball, and Taylor’s was indoor volleyball. He was with the U.S.A. Olympic team for many years too, and then they both switched to beach (volleyball) after college.
MK: Where did they go to high school?
PCC: Punahou, and then Cal State, Long Beach for college and played volleyball there.
MK: Did they play volleyball at Punahou?
PCC: Yes. Trevor did one year, but then stuck to basketball, and Taylor played all years.
MK: Then, they went to Long Beach State, and they played volleyball? How did Long Beach State do in the NCAAs?
PCC: One year, they almost made it to the NCAA, but that was still when they just had the MPSF League all with all the clubs, and now, they split to different divisions. Actually, this year they won it, so that’s great for them.
MK: Wow. What year did they graduate?
PCC: From high school or college?
MK: No. From Long Beach State?
PCC: Taylor in 2014, so then Trevor was I think 2012.
MK: I remember that he was MVP?
PCC: Yes. Taylor was.
MK: Taylor was. Yeah. That was great. They’re playing on the Pro Circuit now, the AVP Circuit, and you just came back from watching them?
MK: How are they doing?
PCC: They’re doing really well. For this one, they’re ranked up there for the top U.S. teams, so that’s really good. I’d say top ten, top five.
MK: Are they going to play long enough to try out for the next Olympics?
PCC: That’s their goal right now is to try out for the Tokyo Olympics, Japan Olympics in 2020.
MK: That’ll be-
PCC: Two more years.
MK: Where are the games going to be?
MK: That’s great. Do you have the opportunity to go watch them play now?
PCC: Yes. I’m off for the summer, so I’ll try to go watch them.
MK: Where have all have you traveled to see them play?
PCC: California, and then New York, so we’ll head out to an international tournament this year in Portugal, and then back to California and Chicago.
MK: Yeah. That’s great. Do they play indoor? They play on the Pro Indoor Circuit in New York?
PCC: No. This is a beach.
MK: Yeah, but they don’t play on the 6-man pro tournaments?
MK: Okay. Did the boys play on the Outrigger Junior teams?
PCC: Yes. They competed for Outrigger at all the JOs (Junior Olympics).
MK: Do they win any of them?
PCC: Second I think was the best that they came.
MK: Did you either you or Chris coached them?
PCC: Chris coached quite a bit, and then I’d help out as team mom organizing or things like that.
MK: Keeping the logistics in place.
MK: Yeah. Now, you’ve paddled for the Club, you’ve raised your children here, and you’ve been involved in giving back through the committee system. I’m sure you have a lot of perspective on what’s going on around here now. Are we on the right track both athletically and socially?
PCC: That one, I think we need to look back at whether we want to expand out or keep it more as a family club and working more together there rather than bringing … I know we’re bringing a lot of athletic members in who have the opportunity to become members, and they’re great. I think we still need to make sure that we hold up to keep this as I would say security of a private club.
MK: We have quite a few special athletic members this year. Are they really making the contribution to our teams?
PCC: Yes, some of them. Yeah, they are.
MK: Did we just handpicked what we needed for specific crews or did we just find some people that we thought would be good paddlers?
PCC: A little of both.
MK: When they become a special member, is it just for a specific period of time or-
PCC: Yes. Until their season’s over, so usually it’s either the end of distance season if they’re paddling distance or for regatta. At least that’s for paddling. I don’t know what they’re doing for other athletic teams.
MK: Yeah. That’s good. You think the Outrigger Canoe Club will still be here in forty years at the end of our lease?
PCC: I think they’ll renegotiate either here or find some place close to here on the water. I think there will be.
MK: It’ll still be around for our grandchildren to enjoy it.
MK: Before we wrap this up, is there anything else you’d like to add that we haven’t covered?
PCC: I think we’ve covered everything. Thank you.
MK: Would you share one of your favorite memories of the Club?
PCC: So many things popped into my mind like the Daddy Haine tournaments, volleyball tournaments, the Club Days and the paddling when we used to all paddle together and have steak fries after. Those I think are the memories that stand out for me.
MK: Family activities, yeah. That’s great. I have one last question for you. You’ve been an Outrigger member for forty plus years. What has the Club meant to you?
PCC: It’s kind of like a second home really, to be able to come here, enjoy the water, watching my sons grow up here, watching actually all the kids now. As I travel, we meet and see all of the boys that started their careers up on baby court, the friendships, the people that I’ve met, the students, and the parents of who I teach, and members here and all working together in a different environment.
MK: It’s been a happy place for you.
MK: Yeah. It’s wonderful. Thank you, Paula for sharing your story, and it’ll make a great addition to our archives. Thank you.
PCC: You’re welcome.
1996 Elected to Winged “O”
Service to the Outrigger Canoe Club
Canoe Racing Committee
Dad Center Long Distance Race
2001-2018 Director & Organizer
Public Relations Committee
Na Wahine O Ke Kai
1981 1st Overall
1982 2nd Overall
1985 1st, Overall
1986 3rdOverall, 1st Koa
1987 2nd Overall
1988 2nd Overall
1990 3rd Overall
1991 3rd Overall, 1st Koa
1992 1st Overall
1993 25th Overall, 2nd, Masters
1994 14th Overall, 4th, Masters
1995 7th Overall (Umbi Gumbi)
1996 7th Overall (Umbi Gumbi)
1997 8th Overall
1998 5th Overall
1999 5th Overall
2000 4th Overall
2001 3rd Overall
2002 4th Overall, 1st Koa
2003 2nd Overall
2004 2nd Overall
2005 3rd Overall
2006 5th Overall
2007 14th Overall, 2nd Masters 40
2008 4th Overall, 1st Masters 40
2009 19th Overall, 1st Koa, 2nd Masters 40
2010 8th Overall
2011 6th Overall
2013 5th Overall
2014 13th Overall, 1st Masters 50
2016 17th Overall, 1st Koa
2017 14th Overall, 1st Koa
2018 15th Overall, 1st Koa
Dad Center Long Distance Race
1984 3rd Overall, 2nd Koa
1985 2nd Overall, 1st Koa
1986 4th Overall
1987 1st Overall
1988 1st Overall
1991 2nd Overall
1992 1st Overall
1995 14th Overall
1997 1st Masters 35
1998 5th Open
1999 5th Open
2000 4th Overall
2001 2nd Overall
2002 1st Overall
2003 1st Overall
2004 5th Overall
2005 3rd Open
2006 3rd Overall
2007 1st Masters 40
2008 1st Masters 40
2009 1st Koa
2010 1st Koa
2011 4th Open
2012 1st Masters 50 (Kailua Canoe Club)
2013 5th Open
2014 1st Masters 50
2016 2nd Masters 50
2016 1st Koa
2017 1st Koa
Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association Championships
1992 Sophomore Women
2003 Sophomore Women
2003 Senior Women
2007 Masters 40
2008 Masters 40
2012 Masters 55
2014 Masters 50
2014 Masters 55
2017 Masters 60
Macfarlane Regatta Championships
1984 Sophomore Women
1985 Junior Women
1987 Senior Women
1990 Sophomore Women
1993 Junior Women
2000 Masters 35
2002 Sophomore Women
2002 Senior Women
2012 Sophomore Women
2013 Masters 40
2014 Masters 55
2016 Masters 60
Kanaka Ikaika State Championships
1999 3rd Women, OC1
2000 1st Women 40, OC1
2003 1st OC2 Mixed Relay (Paula, Bruce Ayau, Cherisse Keln, Scott Jones)
2012 1st OC2 Mixed, Paula & Ken Bailey, Short Course
2017 1st Women 64-69 OC1, Short Course
2018 1st Women 64-69 OC1, Short Course
Kanaka Ikaika Oahu Championships
2001 2nd OC1, Women Open
2012 1st OC2, with Ken Bailey
Kanaka Ikaika Coastal Relay
1997 1st Mixed, OC1, with Chris Crabb
2012 1st Women 40, OC1, with Shelley Oates Wilding
2018 1st Open OC1, with Jaimie Kinard
Kanaka Ikaika Solo
2002 3rd Masters 50
Kaiwi Channel Relay
2001 8th OC1 Open with Megan Harrington
2002 3rd OC1 Open with Kisi Haine
2003 1st OC2 Mixed with Bruce Ayau, Cherisse Keln, Scott Jones
2004 1st OC1 Masters with Jane McKee
2005 3rd OC1 Masters with Mary Smolenski
2006 1st OC1 Masters with Jane McKee
2007 3rd OC1 Masters with Patty Eames
2008 2nd OC1 Masters with Jane McKee
2009 1st OC1 Masters 40 with Jane McKee
2010 1st OC1 Masters 50 with Jane McKee
2011 2nd OC1 Masters 40 with Shelley Oates
2012 3rd OC1 Masters 40 with Shelley Oates