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.
Interview by Marilyn Kali
June 1, 2018
MK: Today is Friday, June 1, 2018. We’re in the Board Room of the Outrigger Canoe Club. 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 past presidents and longtime members. Today, it’s my pleasure to be talking to past president, Tom McTigue. Good morning, Tom.
TJM: Good morning, Marilyn.
MK: Would you tell us a little bit about yourself, where and when you were born, and where you grew up?
TJM: Well, I was born in 1953 and then I grew up in a small town in Iowa, Fort Dodge, Iowa. I actually was born in Pocahontas, Iowa. That’s where we lived at that time. But the hospital, the closest hospital was Fort Dodge which was 40 miles away. So, I was living in Pocahontas, Iowa, a town of about 3,000 people. And then my father moved to Fort Dodge, Iowa, about four years later. That is where I pretty much grew up.
MK: Where did you go to high school?
TJM: I went to high school at St. Edmond’s High School in Fort Dodge.
MK: Did you play any sports?
TJM: That was back in the day when during the summer, everybody played baseball. And then in the fall, everybody played football. And then in the winter, you either wrestled or you played basketball. I played basketball because it wasn’t as much work as wrestling.
MK: What did your family do in such a small town?
TJM: My father was a life insurer. He worked for Northwestern Mutual, same company that I worked with. He was the managing partner in Fort Dodge for many years as we lived there.
MK: It’s not a farming town?
TJM: It is a farming town. Basically, it was … it’s funny because when you look back, it seemed like everybody had the same amount of money. There were no very, very rich or very, very poor. It seems like everybody was kind of in the same caste system. So, we’re all kind of lower middle class, I’ll put it that way and all hardworking farmers except I did not farm. My grandfather had a farm, but I was a son of an insurance man.
MK: When you played sports, what position did you play in football?
TJM: Football, I played offensive end and then in baseball, I was a catcher. And then I played forward when I’m in basketball.
MK: Any good teams you played on?
TJM: We played on one state championship basketball team, my sophomore year in high school and we went to state championships, and we ended up getting fourth place. That was pretty exciting for a small town like Fort Dodge.
MK: That’s wonderful. Where did you go to college?
TJM: I went to college in Atchison, Kansas, another small farming community. It was at Benedictine College, run by the monks. I spent four years going through St. Benedict’s College where I played basketball in my first year and then my second year, I kind of blossomed. I went from about 160 pounds. My senior year of about 210 in the matter of about four months. So, the basketball coach kind of said, “You know what, you might want to try football because this basketball thing isn’t working for you anymore. After that, I went and I played small college football.
MK: You enjoys all those sports?
TJM: Yes. I mean, it was … when I said I played football, it was more like a glorified high school. College there’s only 2,100 kids. So it was a very small college, maybe 2,000 at that time. So, it was like division 16 football, I’ll put it that way.
MK: What was your major in college?
TJM: Major in business.
MK: What did you do after college?
TJM: After college I moved into … I went to Kansas City and I got a job, working with Northwestern Mutual in Kansas City. I spent four years in Kansas City basically selling (insurance). And then they came to me and said, “Hey, how would you like to come to Milwaukee and work in our home office?” So, I spent four years working in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in a corporate setting after that.
MK: Were you in the military?
TJM: I went to an Officer Candidates School in the Marine Corps during my college years. I spent two summers going through Officer Candidates School. And then in the end of graduation of … we graduated in May and in April, (President Gerald) Ford pulled everybody out of Vietnam. So, it was pretty much we were discharged after that. So, although I was technically in the Marine Corps, I never went to Vietnam and we’re on a Reserve status after that.
MK: So, how did you get from Wisconsin to Honolulu?
TJM: Well, when I was working in Milwaukee, my job was to travel around the country, and recruit, and train, and work with college kids to get them to come to work in the financial services industry. So, I’m supposed to go back on Friday night, I’m supposed to be back at a party, going away party for a buddy of mine in Milwaukee and I’m flying back in, and I get stuck in the Detroit airport in a blizzard, and I have to spend the night there. So, I’m killing time and I walk into this bookstore. In the bookstore, there’s kind of a coffee-table book that looks like it’s the Day in a life of Hawaii type thing. So, I’m sitting there and I’m kind of thumbing through it as the cold air is blowing through the terminal. I decided right then and there if I’m going to live some place for the rest of my life then that’s where I’m going to go.
So, I went into my boss, Larry LeTourneau, two days later and I said, “Larry,” I said, “It’s been a great experience, but I’m going to move. I think it’s time for me to get back into the … get out of the corporate life.” He said, “That’s great.” He said, “Where are you going to go?” I said, “I’m going to go to Hawaii.” He looked at me like I was crazy and he said, “We don’t have anything in Hawaii for you.” I said, “Well, then I’m just going to go and open up an office and just sell. I’ll just do that.” They told me not to go. The vice president of the company said, “If you’ll go there, you will go broke.” He was right, but it was the best decision, I think, one of the best decisions of my life.
MK: What year was that?
TJM: That was 1983. It was June of 1983.
MK: What kind of work did you do when you got here?
TJM: I cold-called (selling insurance) on a lot of businesses and got thrown out of a lot of offices, and then I started to concentrate on doctors and lawyers.
MK: This was for insurance.
TJM: Yes. Spent a lot of time in law firms and at one point, I think they thought I was an employee at Carlsmith. I spent so much time over there. So, it took me about three years of literally starving and then things started to come around. I have to say that it was getting in to the Outrigger Canoe Club. I came in as a special athletic member. I’m not sure what year it was, ’85, maybe ’86.
TJM: 1984? Okay. God, that was a year after I got here then. So, I came in as a special athletic member. The relationships that I developed through the Club, I would say to this day, had it not been for that, I don’t know if I would have made it in the business.
MK: How did you learn about Outrigger?
TJM: It’s funny. I knew Michele St. John at that time and a friend of mine, Linda Caresh, both of whom were members down here were friends of mine. I asked them, saw people always paddling up and down the Ala Wai. I said, “That looks like fun. I mean, do they enjoy paddling in the Ala Wai?” Linda said, “Oh, you’ve got to try this.” And then Michele said, “We’ll get sponsors.” And then I talked … I knew Bambi D’Olier at that time and Mitch D’Olier. Mitch was an attorney downtown and Bambi basically sponsored me. That’s kind of the route, how we got started.
MK: So you became special member in 1984 and then you actually became a regular member in 1988.
TJM: It was funny. We had the special athletic membership, I believe it was for two years, and then they did away with it after that, so I had to go the next year. I sat out because I had never paddled for any other club and I still didn’t get in the following year. So, that year, I paddled for Kailua. And then the following year, my membership came up and I got in as a full-time member.
MK: That’s when we had a really long waiting list for membership.
TJM: Waiting was five years.
MK: For regular members and so, yeah. I remember that time.
TJM: It was a long list.
MK: You were a part of the canoe racing dynasty at the Outrigger in the 1980s and the 1990s? How did you get started in canoe racing? Was it because of what you saw on the Ala Wai?
TJM: Saw them on the Ala Wai and by luck, it was just … because Michele and everybody else were members here, I mean, I could have gone to Kailua and paddle over there or some place. But by luck, I ended up here and, yeah, the dynasty back then was, I mean, everybody wanted to be with the winner and I kind of locked onto that. That was the day when we had multiple Molokai wins. We pretty much dominated the sport in Hawaii. It was kind of like playing for the 49ers when Joe Montana was there because we had such a great run for so long and that’s the time that would be hard to repeat, I think.
MK: That was wonderful. But I noticed when you started paddling, usually at Outrigger, we start everybody that’s new in the novice crews. But I noticed you started with the upper division crews. How did that happen?
TJM: Well, my first year, I paddled novice.
MK: Oh, you did?
TJM: Yes. I paddled novice. In fact, it was John Basdavanos and Fred Fong and I think Chris Kincaid. I think those were all special members. Steve Van Lier Ribbick was another one. I think we all came in under special athletics. So, we started as Novice B and then the next year, we moved up to Novice A and then even our first year as a novice, I went out for distance and then I made the upper division crew who made … I was under (men’s coach) Steve Scott. So we all paddled Molokai. Yeah, I paddled Molokai second crew that year and kind of after that, it was just what it was, you know? I just paddled upper division after that.
MK: What’s it like to be coming into a Club that has such a paddling dynasty as a new paddler?
TJM: Well, unfortunately, I didn’t realize what a great thing it was at that time because paddling was such a … I’d never heard of it coming from the Midwest. So, for lack of better, it was almost like it was expected. I mean, this was just normal for me. Now, that I’ve seen the whole thing, I’ve realized how abnormal it really was. I mean, it’s kind of like you’ve never played basketball and, now, all of a sudden, you’re on the (Golden State) Warriors and the Warriors are winning four years in a row or five years in a row, whatever it is. You come on there and you’re part of Golden State and you just kind of take it for granted.
MK: What crews did you paddle on in regattas? You paddled … you said, Novice A and B.
TJM: Novice A and B, and then everything, freshman, sophomore, junior, senior.
MK: Then all the upper division.
MK: Did you win any state championships?
TJM: We won, I think, it was in 1991 or 1992 in Hanalei. We won the state championship then and we won, I think, it was the junior race. We raced junior-seniors. I think it was Hui Nalu and we raced the same crews. That was back when the junior race was two miles and the senior race was two and a half. We’d have the exact same guys in the junior boat. We won by a half a second, I think, in Hanalei, the gold medal for the junior race. And then we turned around and lined up again, and we did the two-and-a-half mile race for the senior race with the exact same crews, Hui Nalu and our exact same crew. In that race, they nipped us by about a half a second. So it was exciting race, it really was.
MK: Do you have any race that stands out in your mind for regatta seasons that were …
TJM: That had to be it.
MK: And then you paddled distance starting with your first year in 1984.
TJM: Right, right.
MK: How many years have you paddled distance then? Every year?
TJM: I paddled distance every year after that. Once again, we have to look at the records but I think I paddled almost every year up until I got married, I think. So, it was probably ten, twelve years maybe.
MK: How many Molokai races did you do?
TJM: Once again, I would have to count. Maybe, I think, I’ve done maybe eight Molokai races, maybe more, maybe less. Once again, I don’t really keep track of that. I probably have maybe five or six races across the channel and surfskis also.
MK: I count eight Molokai Hoes.
MK: What was your best finish? Do you remember?
TJM: I think sixth as a second crew. Yeah, I think it was sixth.
MK: And then you won some masters.
TJM: We won a couple Molokai Hoe’s as masters. Once again, I don’t remember what years it was or whatever. You just go and race, you know?
MK: It’s what you do at this Club.
MK: Tell me about your favorite Molokai race.
TJM: Well, I think my favorite had to be … probably my first Molokai because it was pretty exciting. When you’ve never done the channel and you’re basically from Iowa, as I was or Wisconsin or the Midwest. I mean, you’re out of the mainland. I came here and it was a pretty big sea that year. I mean, it wasn’t huge but there was plenty of action. I remember we’re about an hour into the race and Greg Rudin happened to be in five seat and I think Steve Van Lier Ribbick was in three. I remember Grady Bintliff was in the, I think, he was in the motorboat. The motorboat was coming up … they were coming up to make a change and they were yelling, “The seat change 1-3-5,” or whatever it was. He was getting out. I remember being at four seat and then all of a sudden, I got hit in the back of the head and it almost knocked me out. I mean, I remember seeing stars. I thought, “Why did Greg Rudin in five seat hit me with his paddle?”
Everybody on the escort boat is in hysterics. I’m thinking, “Why are they laughing when he hit me with his paddle?” I figured his paddle slipped out on the change of something, hit me in the back of the head. I literally saw stars. Well, then all of a sudden, I started to come to and I could smell this terrible smell. Well, it had been a flying fish about this big that got up and flew across, and it nailed me right in the back of the jaw. I thought, I literally thought I was going to get knocked out. And then the entire race, I smelled like fish. I got slimed and I couldn’t get that fish smell off me. So, that was my first Molokai race and it was, needless to say, memorable. Everybody in the escort boat to this day is it was … can remember me getting slimed by the fish. That was long before the movie, whatever it was, the … whoever it was got slimed, you know? Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters.
MK: Oh, my goodness. You also coached Molokai races.
TJM: Coached the women. Once again, I don’t know the years. I coached the women a couple of years and, yeah.
MK: 1998? 2001?
TJM: Could have been, yes.
MK: And then you started coaching the masters women in Molokai.
TJM: Coached the masters women a few years and then I never coached them in. I mean, I helped assistant coach, and drive, and that kind of stuff, but wouldn’t be more fun to coach them.
MK: Do you have a good story to tell about the women’s Molokai race?
TJM: I would prefer not to get into too much detail of that one. But we did have a little incident. I forget what year it was.
MK: Tiare (Richert-Finney) talked to us about it in her oral history.
TJM: Oh, did she? The golf cart incident? When we took a group of people over, kind of the advance team to help rig and do everything and that was on a Friday night and the race was Sunday. We had dinner and the whole thing, and we’re going to go out for a walk afterwards. I believe it was Katie McCrary. It’s just Katie McCrary at that time and Malia Kamisugi, and I think those two had gone for a walk. And then the rest of us were going to catch up with her, that was Mary Smolenski and, I think, Cathy Ho. Sara Ackerman was there. Anyhow, we go for this walk down the golf course and all of a sudden, we see … and we walked for a while, so we’re a ways away and we see Katie and Malia on a golf cart and they’re on their way back. They’re laughing and giggling. So they pull up on the golf cart and they’re, “Come on, hop on. We’re all going for a ride on the golf cart.”
So we all jumped on the golf cart and we’re driving back to the golf course where they got the cart at the clubhouse there. All of a sudden, a police car shows up. Lights are going and everything is going on, and the next thing I know, I’m like, “Girls, girls, relax.” I said, “We’re just out on the golf course. We got rooms.” I mean, two of them, Mary Smolenski and somebody else, they just took off and ran. They were scared to death. The rest of us just sat there. They arrested us all for stealing a motor vehicle which is a felony. It’s really kind of funny because they put us in two police cars to take us back to Kaunakakai Jail. They’ve got us zip tied. Okay, and Malia has regular handcuffs on. We’re all in the back of a car and Malia somehow gets her handcuffs off.
So we have two patrolmen in the front, and they’re talking to each other, and we’re looking at each other. Malia’s dangling the handcuffs, like this, in front of her being funny. We are all in hysterics thinking this is the most ridiculous thing. Well, needless to say, we get back to the police station. They book us for felony charges and we need $5,000 in cash to get us out, each person. Well, there’s no ATMs in Molokai and there’s no … that was back in the day when we didn’t have cards, didn’t have ATMs. So we have to call back to Honolulu and tell, “Could you bring like $25,000 in cash and get us out?” Steve’s (Coach Steve Scott) got a number of people and he got us out the next day. That was my …
MK: Do you ever go to trial on it?
TJM: Luckily, I mean, it’s so funny how fate happens sometimes. A client of mine in the building at that time worked for Carlsmith. He calls me up four days later and goes, “What in the world were you guys doing in Molokai?” I said, “Well, how did you find this out?” He said, “Well, I’m representing the Japanese man who’s filed the complaint.” I said, “You’ve got to be kidding.” He said, “Why did you steal a golf cart?” I said, “We didn’t steal the golf cart.” I said, “What is he so upset about?” I said, “The girls just took the golf cart. We took it back. Everything was fine.” Well, evidently two weeks before, they’d had a big wedding there and a number of people took golf carts and drove into the ocean. So, he was really upset. So, he said, “This guy is going to … we’re going to prosecute you, guys. And this is serious because it’s a felony.”
So I said, “Okay, can we … I’ll throw myself on the grenade,” I said, “Let’s see if …” what I did was I went to Domie (Gose in the OCC Maintenance Shop) and I had a paddle made, koa paddle. I sent it to him with all our names on it and I said, “As head coach, I’ve lost face and I want to apologize. We did not mean to be disrespectful in any way. The girls went for a ride and if there’s anything you can do to forgive us, this is a gift from the Outrigger Canoe Club. It’s how the Polynesians got to Hawaii by paddling. We’re giving it to you as a sign of goodwill and all the history of Polynesia, and the koa, and the whole thing.” I did the whole thing on koa and how it was made, and the whole deal.
Anyhow, what he basically did was he dropped the charges but he made … well, I basically had to make a donation to Molokai High School of $1,000. So I made a donation to Molokai High School of $1,000 and I had to promise that we would never go near his golf carts again unless we were golfing. So, he did add that part in though. “If you want to golf, it’s okay. But other than that …” So I said, “Okay, deal.”
MK: A memorable Molokai.
TJM: Memorable Molokai. What really makes me mad is that out of all the paddling I did, all the races we did, they came out with that Molokai book a few years ago of everybody who’d raced, and what race it was, and what event it was, and they had a story about them. I’m looking through the glossary, Tom McTigue, Tom McTigue, I want to see what they say about me. As I go through, it says 107, page 107. I opened it up and the only thing I’m known for is the night of going to jail. So I guess it’s all poetic.
MK: Oh, dear. But you still continued paddling and …
TJM: Still continue paddling, still continued with the Club. It’s one of those memories at that time that looked catastrophic because that was my first year coaching. I believe that’s the first year of coaching the women as head coach.
TJM: Yeah. So, yeah.
MK: Oh, no, 1998 was when the … first year you coached the women.
TJM: It was in 1998. Okay, so this was 1990. So, I guess, I coached a couple years. But it just didn’t look good, the head coach ending up in jail.
MK: So, the did the Disciplinary Committee come after you?
TJM: No. I think nobody ever really said anything. So it was more or less … I think they knew it was harmless.
MK: So, when you were paddling distance, what seat did you usually set?
TJM: Usually two and four.
MK: What about regattas? The same?
TJM: Same, yeah.
MK: Okay. Now, you served as head coach in 1990 and 1991. How did that come about?
TJM: Back then, head coach was more kind of a rah-rah thing. I mean, it’s … yeah, I mean, it was to motivate and keep heads up and so on, so forth, go organize some stuff. But it was, I mean, I don’t want to take credit for Molokai wins and state championships. I mean, that was really Walter (Guild) and Steve Scott. Those guys were the ones that were … I mean, that was the crew. Steve was the coach that year and they pretty much ran the upper division program. So, I was head coach but, really, it was more of a title position than actual coaching. The women I coached but the men not really … that’s Steve Scott’s deal.
MK: That’s primarily head coach for regattas?
TJM: Yeah, yeah.
MK: Making sure that canoes get there.
TJM: Yeah, yeah. It was more of a …
MK: How would you describe the job? We don’t have a head coach anymore per se.
TJM: We don’t per se because I think a lot of times, a lot of them … the head coach job after Guy Wilding left, everything kind of fell on Guy. There’s just so much, there’s so many moving parts now. I guess we had it then, too, but, I mean, I think you had guys like Walter Guild and Marc Haine, and Mark Rigg, and the Downings, and they pretty much ran the program. They were there every morning. They pulled boats every morning. They rigged. They broke down. They pretty much took control of the entire program and that was the upper division men. Now, you’ve got … it’s just not like that as much. So, it’s just a different culture now than what it was then.
MK: Now, you are serving as Chair of the Canoe Racing Committee for the past four years. How has that evolved? I know you came in to try to change things somewhat.
TJM: Yeah. The Canoe chair, I mean, I guess, it’s kind of serving as kind of the head coach chair role. I came in to try to get more young people involved because it didn’t seem like we’re passing the baton. I can’t say …
MK: You’re talking about the different positions like registration and all of those parts of it.
TJM: And moving boats around, and equipment, and all that type of thing. It’s been a difficult process because you’ve got a lot of the oldtimers who’ve been around for years, and years, and years, and Alice (Lunt). She’s been around for years, and years, and years. They know so much, and you know they want to move on, and bring somebody else in, but the knowledge they have with dealing with OHCRA, and dealing with lane drawing, and dealing with registration, and all those things. It’s just it’s hard to pass that experience on and you’ve got a lot of young people that just … back in the 1990s, you pretty much did one sport during the summer. That was paddling. Everybody came out and paddled. The kids today, they’ve got volleyball, they’ve got water polo, they’ve got paddling. Paddling back in the 1990s, back in the day was pretty much all we did. Everybody loved doing it.
Today, it’s almost like the third sport for kids. So, the kids are spread so thin that I’m not sure paddling is a priority and with college costs as high as they are, if you can get a water polo scholarship, or a soccer scholarship, or a kayak scholarship, they’re going to put their time in those events because that could mean the equivalent of $40,000 to $50,000 in scholarships. So, obviously, you’re going to put your time into that thing. I can’t blame them but it’s just to the point where some of these sports are year round now where back in my day, as I said, you played three or four different sports. They just don’t do that today.
MK: Let’s just talk a little bit more about the Canoe Racing Committee. Have you been able to get new people to come in and take over those key positions?
TJM: We’re starting to get more and more of the younger generation to come in. We’ve got a new athletic director now, Shannon (Pelkey), who the Board hired two years ago, I believe. She has really … I don’t know how we got along without her quite frankly. She’s really come along and organized almost everything. So, it’s a lot easier to get volunteers now because in the past, you volunteered and it was pretty much all on you. Now, Shannon has done such a great job of … she has her hand in everything. So, you can get a volunteer to come in, and help, and they’ll, “Okay, Shannon’s going to tell you we need help on these days, but it isn’t all going to fall on you.” So, she has done a great job of basically coming to me and saying, “Okay, this is where I need help. I need an equipment person to do this on these days. I need this person to do this on these days.”
With her help, we’ve really been able to share the workload much, much more than we’ve ever done in the past. It’s much more organized. She’s just done a great job and now, you got people willing to volunteer because they know the equipment load is not going to fall on them. The registration isn’t all going to fall on them. So, more people now are willing to help out and that’s a huge step in the right direction.
MK: Who’s doing registration this year?
TJM: Well, Shannon is involved with it. Siana Hunt is helping with it. I mean, we’ve got two or three other people that are also involved with it but, once again, they’re not in it per se because they’re helping out on a … just kind of on an ongoing basis. Jenn Kilpatrick has done a great job with it. She did it last year, but it’s just … part of the problem is OHCRA, is so antiquated. I mean, there’s so much of the stuff we could computerize and do. Well, we don’t have to repeat it every weekend. But to get them to move is like molasses in January, you know?
MK: I remember when we try to get them to computerize the results and it just wasn’t happening and …
TJM: And it still hasn’t. They want to do everything the old-fashion way.
MK: Yeah. When you became head coach for Outrigger the first time, we were in the middle of a nine-year streak of state champions. When you came back in 2015, we were barely qualifying crews for the AAAA Division in states. What happened to us in those in-between years?
TJM: It’s funny, I thought about that a lot and you had such a concentration of guys, like I said, the Walter Guilds, the Marc Haines, the Mark Riggs, the (Keone and Kainoa) Downings that were in the program during those years. And then what happened was as they got older, and moved on, and got married, had kids, had families, so on and so forth. I don’t think that the upper division men then … they were such big shoes to fill and it was such a transition of that whole, it’s like a Super Bowl team left and, now, you had all these other guys kind of move in. It was such a huge void to fill that I just don’t think it was sustainable.
So, it went through a time of five or six different coaches. Steve Scott didn’t coach and Kala Judd came in and did a good job. And then you had, I think, in a five-year period of time, we went through five open men coaches or a seven-year period of time, went through five, something like that. So, there was a lot of lack of continuity. The strong crew was all different and I just think when Steve Scott was here, there was leadership and continuity, and we had the same with the upper division men’s crews. We lost all that. This is what we’re trying to get back together now where we’ve got somewhat consistent leadership. We’ve got a somewhat more consistent stroke. We’re thinking more, once again, Alan Pfluger brought his boys over for the Outrigger Ka Lahui Kai program.
What he wants to do is start from the beginning and get these kids in it at twelve, thirteen, and fourteen, and bring all that energy along and develop another dynasty. I’ve got to say we’ve got a tremendous turnout this year. The kids are all excited about it. There’s a tremendous excitement on the beach right now and I’m beginning to see the tide start to turn again towards a championship team. It will be interesting to see this year. I think we’ve got 357 paddlers out right now which is the most we’ve had in a long time. The girl’s crews which we’ve had … I think we scratched almost two races every year and the kids’ crews last year. I think we’ve got … we don’t have as many girls as we do boys, but I think if you bring the boys over, the girls will follow eventually. Once they start winning, people will come here because everybody wants to be a part of the winning crew. So, this is going to be a pivotal year to see how we end up, not only from a regatta standpoint but also from a distance standpoint.
MK: Well, this year, we admitted quite a few special members to be part of the new program that Alan is doing. How’s that going to affect canoe racing long term?
TJM: Well, it’s not only Alan’s program, where we’re doing it. We couldn’t fill enough novices. Liz Perry has done a great job with working with the novice crews going out and recruiting them. Once again, I think, two years ago, we didn’t have any Novice B, be it men or women. We didn’t have enough Club members coming out. So, a lot of those numbers and I think the numbers are twenty specials were novice. So, now, I think we’ve got another maybe twenty that Alan’s brought over, maybe it’s more than that right now. I have to get the exact count. I think we got forty altogether. But if we want to build … we’re not like a Lanikai (Canoe Club) where you can just go out and get as many people as you want. You’ve got to be a member of the Club, you’ve got to pay dues, you’ve got to do that. If we want to build and be a powerhouse then we can’t just rely on Club members.
Now, obviously, we don’t want to go out and just buy … in that case, we could go out and buy a Tahiti team and bring them over. That’s not what we want to do. We have a couple guys from Tahiti. They are moving here. They are helping training in the program and so on, and so forth, and I think that’s going to take this to a different level but if we want to compete on that kind of level, we can’t be training like we did in 1990.
MK: Are we thinking that these kids and all of these special members will become regular members?
TJM: Oh, yeah, yeah. That’s the idea-
MK: They’re all on the track?
TJM: They’re all on the track. I think last year, if I remember right, out of that special membership category, fifty percent of them after the first year or the second year joined as regular member. That’s not a bad recruiting tool if that’s the case. If you didn’t get fifty percent every year and that’s in that demographic, that’s hard to get because we want kids from twenty to thirty, twenty to thirty-five. Those are the kids that come back in financially. They can go join a gym for thirty bucks a month but they got to come here and they got to pay whatever the dues are, whatever, it’s one hundred bucks a month or whatever. So, you’ve got to get them into the sport, you got to get them liking it, and using the facilities, and training, and so on, and so forth. I think it’s working. I really do. I think it’s going to be … we need to continue to think a little bit outside the box to make this thing work but we could make this.
This Club should be the premier training club in the world for watersports and it could be. We just got to … we think of Newport Aquatics and all that kind of thing. We should be the Newport Aquatics of the Pacific. We can get there. It just-
MK: We were at one time.
TJM: One time we were, absolutely right.
MK: How many hours a week do you put in volunteering as Canoe Racing chair?
TJM: Once again, I didn’t even think about that. It’s just, it’s more some days, like last weekend, we did Molokai, you drive the boats up, you rig, you do all that stuff, and then you ride back, and you put the boats away, and you’re gassing, you’re doing a lot of stuff. I mean, I’m not gassing, the crew is or the Beach staff is. But some days it’s eight hours on the weekends and during the week, it’s maybe two to three hours, you know?
MK: A lot of time.
TJM: It’s a lot of time but it’s giving back once again, as I said, I don’t know if I’d be here if it wasn’t for the Club. So I don’t mind giving back. I love paddling. I love being around the kids, the sports, the people. So, it’s not like it’s a chore, granted there are days when you want to pull your head out or pull your hair out but, I mean, down deep, you got to love what you do or you don’t do it, you know?
MK: Well, I think an Outrigger is based on the volunteer system and we’re just very fortunate that we have so many people who are willing to contribute that kind of time and effort to make it a great Club.
TJM: I agree. I mean, I kind of have a fun part of the job because I get to drive the boats, and I get to do escorting, and I get to do a lot of that kind of stuff where the Paulas (Crabb) and the Alices (Lunt), they do all the grunt work that nobody wants to do, the registration part, the going to OHCRA meetings, the lane drawing and all that kind of thing. Those are the people that really put in a lot of time, and effort, and stuff that’s “not really fun”.
MK: Is there anything else you’d like to add about canoe racing or any of our ocean sports that you haven’t said?
TJM: Well, I think one of the things we’re trying this year that’s working pretty well that I like to see continue (is Outrigger Ka Lahui Kai) when Alan (Pflueger) has all these boys, we have a lot of kids, a lot of parents were concerned about the ten’s, the eleven’s, the twelve-year olds that don’t make the team. What are they going to do? All these kids are just … they want to paddle, but because you have so many numbers, a lot of that age just aren’t ready to paddle yet. I mean, physically, they need to develop a little bit more. So, what we’ve done this year with the help of Bruce Black, and Katy Bourne, and Ben Komer is we’ve started a kind of a Tuesday, Thursday program.
It was kind of a Monday, Wednesday, Friday kind of a conditioning program where we’ve got all the kids two days in a week doing at least push-ups in the park, doing exercises, swimming, beach drills, swimming out to the Wind Sock, paddleboarding. So it’s kind of a conditioning day. We’re going to continue that going forward and for the kids that don’t make Alan’s team or are just not ready, we’re going to continue the program on Tuesdays and Thursdays to help them develop themselves to move into a program maybe next year or maybe by the end of the summer, who knows. But a lot of the parents I’m finding are really excited about this because we’re not trying to make them paddlers per se, we’re trying to make them water people, comfortable in the water. We’ve got kids that that Ben Komer and Bruce have been working with that were afraid to swim out to the whaler three weeks ago.
Last weekend, they swim out to the Wind Sock and back. So, we’ve got them paddleboarding now, out to the Wind Sock and back. We’ve got them doing stand up paddling. So, we’re trying to introduce them, we’re teaching them how to do it … we sent them out in a four men canoe and made them get flipped upside down, flip the boat over, bail it, get their paddles, bring them all back in. Now, these kids are not only learning how to paddle but they’re getting comfortable in conditions that they going out in a six man in the ocean and never had experience in the water, you got a kid that could panic. Now, these kids are … all of them, all the girls, all the boys, they’re very comfortable in the water, and it’s created a real camaraderie and a bonding going on that we’ve never had before. So, I think this is our first year doing it. It’s worked out really well so far. So we’ll see what happens.
MK: That’s kind of like the junior athletic program we used to have back in the ’70s and ’80s for all the kids. I guess it went back even before that where they spent the whole summer together doing all those kinds of things together.
TJM: Well, and that’s kind of Dolan Eversole, he’s got the Ko Kainalu program, I think it is, that what we’re trying to do is take that program and not make it an every week deal but take elements of that and plug it in on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We’ve got a walk up to Diamond Head planned for those kids this year so they can study the reef looking down. So, it’s a conditioning drill they can walk up, run up in Diamond Head stairs, and look over, and look where the reef is, and look how that works. Bruce is teaching them how to bring a sailing canoe out, or Billy Philpotts is coming in, teaching them how to rig. So, these are all things that we really haven’t done in the past that we can kind of make it fun for them instead of just going over to the Ala Wai, and sitting on the wall, and getting in the boat for one time up and one time back because you got so many kids in the fourteen-year-old crew.
So then they have fun. The parents want to drop them off, and come back, and pick them up so the parents can go do whatever they want to do. But this way, the kids are … they’re learning something, they’re getting in the water, they’re not sitting on the Ala Wai wall, they’re having fun. I mean, these kids are coming back. They’re here at four saying, “Let’s go, coach. We’re ready to go.” So, that’s a good thing.
MK: That’s wonderful. Well, I’m so glad that we’re seeing the revival of the sport and the whole water aspect.
TJM: Yeah, yep.
MK: That’s wonderful. Well, I do want to talk a little bit about committee work at the Outrigger and how you got involved. I think your first committees were actually when you ran for the Board of Directors in 2003.
TJM: I think I was on House Committee before that. And then I think I was at Canoe and Kayak Committee before that. But, yeah, after that, after I ran for the Board, I forget what year it was.
TJM: Yeah, 2003 and, luckily, I made it the first time I ran.
MK: Who twisted your arm to run?
TJM: Jeez, I forget, I think it was Vik Watumull.
MK: So, what was your reason for running?
TJM: Well, once again, I want to be able to give back and at that time, it was a way of not only giving back but being able to hopefully shape the future of what’s going to happen to the Club. It’s a great organization. I mean, it’s family, let’s face it. I would hate to lose that. So, I thought if there’s something I can do to give back and help shape the Club over the next fifty years then by all means, let’s do that. If I can be an asset then great.
MK: Well, you became President in 2008. That was a very, very memorable year for the Club.
TJM: That was our 100th year.
MK: We celebrated our centennial.
TJM: Quite an honor, I have to say.
MK: What do you remember about the Centennial year?
TJM: It’s interesting that we just had … there were a lot of events that year that we had. We had a great luau that year, I remember. We had a couple special parties that we had and a special events that we had. It was a fun year to be president. It was very special. I think I joked at that time that our original founder was, I forget his name.
MK: Alexander Hume Ford.
TJM: Alexander Hume Ford. I remember that year the year I was president, I did a little background study on him and, evidently, he was from Virginia or some place. He came here, and he’d never surfed, and he’d never been in a canoe, and he had never married, and he came here single, obviously, he was never married. I thought, “God, he and I have a lot in common because he’s from somewhere, not the Midwest, but he’s from Virginia, or South Carolina, or some place and tobacco farmer or something, and then I was a farmer and he was a farmer. He came to Hawaii and didn’t know anything about Hawaii. I came to Hawaii. I didn’t know anything about Hawaii. He looked at paddleboards, and surfing, and thought it’d be fun to do. I looked it and thought it’d be fun to do. So I said maybe this is poetic somehow that we both ended up here. He started the thing and I happen to be there one hundred years later.
But it was a great year and it was … I remember that year we had, I think, one of the best luaus we ever had. We had, I think, Beamer. Kapono was our-
TJM: Oh, the Cazimeros, that’s who it was, yeah, was the entertainment that year. We had a huge amount of hula, not only the grown-ups did hula but we had all the Keiki. We’re doing huge hula, too. I think it was one of our biggest events we ever had. It was really just a … that was a great year. It was all year round.
MK: Yes, it was. We had special committees that worked, that we had so many involved in things that year. That’s what was so amazing.
TJM: Yeah. The Entertainment Committee really stepped up that year and did a great job.
MK: You were also President during a landmark decision the Club made to purchase property out on Kalanianaole Highway.
TJM: My years on the Board were interesting because I think it was three or four years before that, we went through the lease negotiations. That was an interesting time to be on the Board because we went back and forth with the Elks. We had to get all the valuations and we ended up getting a very favorable valuation, but I think our rent went from $2,500 a month to like $75,000 a month. So, that was the time when basically the Elks Club had subsidized our rent for the previous fifty years. We never really raised dues to keep up with it where we probably should have in retrospect. So, it was kind of a shock that, I mean, we had to raise dues to pay for the increase in the lease rent.
So, I think it was Vik Watumull at that time, he was President the year before me, I believe, that started … we thought, “Let’s get somebody and start looking at other options just in case we may lose this Club down the road.” What options are there? So, Stephanie Sofos got on it. She started doing research on different waterfront properties that the Club might be able to use. She looked and basically her findings were there was really nothing from Sandy Beach to Ewa except this parcel of land that was going to be able to be used for a club site. So, I looked at it not really as a club site, I didn’t really think, I mean, the reefs out there, it was just never going to be a club site in my mind. But I did think it could be a good investment if we could turn it into something where we can have weddings or whatever, land bank the thing, have it making us money to basically pay the maintenance fees.
And then I thought given time, the real estate value of that would be nice to have to fall back on. I looked at it more as an investment than I did an alternative property. I think a lot of people looked at it as an alternative property and it was never really meant in my mind to be an alternative property. Looking back, it probably wasn’t the best decision to buy it if we weren’t going to hold it and given the fact that there were too many obstacles to turn it into a place where we can have weddings or so on and so forth. The Neighborhood Boards just weren’t going to allow it. So, the maintenance fees, the carrying cost got to the point where it didn’t make any sense to hold onto it if we couldn’t cover our cost. And then the decision was we need to unload this thing which that was the right decision to do, given the fact that we couldn’t do anything with it other than to keep it there and maybe rent it out for ten grand a month or whatever which wasn’t enough to cover the cost.
So, looking back, had I thought that we were not able … if I thought that was what we were going to do, buy the thing and not be able to make any money, we probably never would have bought it, but that wasn’t our intent going in. Who knows, I mean, forty years from now, thirty-eight years from now, whatever we got left on the lease, hindsight is always one hundred percent. So, we get out there, we’ll see. Maybe it would be nice to have that, maybe the Elks will be gone and we can take this property over, who knows. But there’s not another … we’ll never be able to replace this place. So if we can’t keep this somehow, I don’t know where we’re going to go.
MK: How big was the property?
TJM: I think two and a half acres.
MK: How much did it cost?
TJM: We paid $12,500,000 for it.
MK: Well, I remember reading in Club history that the Club had always decided never to borrow money. In this case, you did take out a loan.
TJM: We only took out a loan just to secure the property. It wasn’t a permanent loan. We paid it back, I think, a year later if I remember right. So, we took it out so we didn’t have to deplete, sell stock at that time. The market had gone down and we didn’t want to take a beating there. So, we called the bank and basically said, “Can you give us a line of credit for, I think, it was six months?” Hey gave us a line of credit for six months just to secure the deal. And then after that, we paid it all off.
MK: I know you said that we didn’t make any money off of it. Did member dues have to go up to pay for the cost of operating it?
TJM: No, no. That was completely separate. Yeah, that came out of operating budget, didn’t come out of dues at all.
MK: So, in hindsight, would you have done it again?
TJM: Knowing what I know now, probably not, yeah.
MK: Well, during your year as president, you also had to deal with the big downturn in the economy that happened in 2008. How did the Club exist through those tough times?
TJM: Those times financially were challenging because we had our defined benefit pension plan that we needed to continue to fund because when interest rates go down, the way a defined benefit program works, you have to have a certain amount of reserves in there in order to pay out the promise benefits. If interest rates are going up then you don’t have to continue to fund your defined benefit plan. When interest rates go down, now, you don’t actuarially have enough money in there to pay out all the claims. So, we have to come up with an X amount of dollars every year that actuarially will fund all those claims. So, not only were we not making any money on our portfolio, Kalanianaole wasn’t making any money, interest rates dropped so we couldn’t make any money on, I mean, we ended up … I’m sorry, I forget what the exact number was. We had to come up with a pretty healthy chunk into the defined benefit plan around $600,000 or $700,000 if I remember right.
Dues were going up. So, it was a trying time and that’s when I kind of decided that at that time, we need to have people running this Club now that have some type of business sense because this is now a business. Before, I think, you could afford to make a mistake when your rent was $2,700 a month. But, now, we’ve got $75,000 a month. You can’t afford to make big financial mistakes. You have to watch your nest egg. You have to watch your expenses and we’ve got to generate revenue, too. We’ve got to get people to come down here and spend money. They’re hurting, too. They don’t want to go out to eat because they don’t want to spend money. So, it was a trying time financially all the way around and I think looking back, we had some pretty good people at that time and we’ve got some pretty good people now on Finance Committee and so on, so forth going forward. But from here on out, I mean, you need to have some pretty savvy financial people running this place going forward because it’s, as I said, it’s a business.
MK: But we did eventually recover. And so, a lot of the decisions that were made were right on.
TJM: Were good decisions, they were the right decision. We lost membership. I think for a while, we lost a lot of members because they got into that time period where their kids were going to college, dues were going up. We lost a lot of great members. That was a concern. And then we took on a lot of members that were wealthier that could afford to pay the dues, and so on, and so forth. So I think we had a bit of a demographic change here in the Club also but it is what it is, not everybody is going to be able to join an elite club and it’s just kind of a fact of life that costs go up and if we’re going to run the Club, the way we want to, the way Club members want to run then there’s a cost that comes with that. Not everybody is going to be able to enjoy it, unfortunately.
MK: Well, I know that there are some members who think we spend too much money on athletics.
MK: Others who think we don’t spend enough?
MK: In the old days, the receipts from the Bar used to cover the cost of athletics and the locker rooms. Is that still true?
TJM: No. It is all separated now. I mean, we have a general fund. We have an athletic fund. We have a maintenance fund and I think the bar is all part of food and beverage. We have to decide our athletic level and whether we’re going to be a restaurant. I think if we go back to what is the motto of the Club, and that is to keep Hawaiian sports at the pinnacle of what we do, Hawaiian water sports. I think without paddling down here, you’re going to drive a completely different demographic into this Club and it’s not going to be as much fun and it’s going to be costly, I think. I’m anxious to see how this works out this summer, but I think with all the excitement down here paddling that’s got to drive revenue. If we can’t drive revenue through membership, and through food and beverage, and so on, then we’re going to have to raise dues.
So, yes, there’s a lot of money that goes into athletics, but in return, we’re going to take a look at what are we spending on athletics and what that’s generating for us in weddings, in food and beverage, in all the stuff that we get from ancillary paddlers. All my dinners for Christmas and all, that kind of stuff, I come to the Club for, all right? There’s a lot of members that are paddlers, if they’re going to have an event, they’ll have it down here at the Club. It’s a world-class venue here. I mean, I can’t tell you the amount of people, the amount of business people I bring to dinner here. You don’t have to, I mean, I think a lot of times people want to know, well, the food in the dining room isn’t that great or whatever.
We’re not going to be a Roy’s (restaurant). I mean, I just don’t see us being a Roy’s, but we can still serve good food and have a world-class venue down here and where else are you going to sit on the wall at the foot of Diamond Head and literally five feet from the water and be served not a Roy’s or a La Mer, but a damn good dinner, damn good meal, good value.
MK: Yeah. I think value is the bottom line.
TJM: Value is the bottom line.
MK: You think Outrigger is still fulfilling its mission of continuing Hawaiian sports?
TJM: I do. I do. I think with different Boards, I think sometimes different Board members have different ideas on what they want the Club to be. I mean, I kind of feel bad for our managers because they have a tough job. I mean, they really do. They get a new boss every year. One of the things I’ve found out about this Club is fifty percent of the people are never going to be happy and the other fifty percent think you’re doing a great job. So, it’s just the way it is. So, you kind of that place where you’ve got to drive revenue, you’ve got to keep the Board happy, you’ve got to keep the President happy, you’ve got to keep the members happy. It’s not an easy job plus you have to run the restaurant, the staff, the beach. It’s tough job. I don’t think people who are not involved with the Club so to speak have any clue what kind of job that is.
MK: It’s a tough job and all of us who have watched all of this happen for years realize …
TJM: They know.
MK: What it’s like. I want to talk a little bit about your family. You were married to Jennifer Lowe and you have three children who are nearly grown. Let’s see, what are their names?
TJM: Liam just turned twenty-one. He graduated from Punahou, sat out for two years and kind of worked on the North Shore, Waimea Falls up there as a lifeguard. And then he decided that it was time to go to college, so he started as a freshman last year at Point Loma. Kaya, my daughter, graduated from Mid-Pac last year. Liam also started as a freshman also at Point Loma. So I’ve got two freshmen at Point Loma. Brock is my youngest. He just turned fifteen and he was a freshman last year at Mid-Pac. He will be a sophomore in the fall.
MK: They’ve grown up here at the Club. I know, I’ve seen them many times. Now, Liam didn’t paddle as I recall.
TJM: Liam paddled his first year and I coached him. That was the last year he paddled and he said he’d never paddle again. And then I did the same thing with Brock. He paddled one year and I coached him. He said he’d never paddle again. So-
TJM: I think I may have been a little bit harder on them than I was the other kids. So, that’s when I decided I probably won’t coach my kids ever again. But I think they didn’t take to paddling like I did. They both love surfing and are good surfers. So, they pretty much … all they want to do is surf. So, I don’t know, I don’t think they want to paddle whether I coached or not, but I know they didn’t have the greatest experience with me coaching them, so.
MK: The marine came out in you?
TJM: I think I did better with other families’ kids than I did my own, I’ll put it that way.
MK: But Kaya did. She was a good paddler.
TJM: Kaya was a good paddler but then she got into the kayaking thing and did a lot of the … she went to the Junior World Olympics or not Olympics but junior tryouts for the Oympics with, I think. Shelley Wilding got her started kayaking. She loved that. So, she didn’t want to both paddle and kayak because that threw her stroke off. So she spent one summer in, I believe it was Hungary, paddling for the Junior Olympic team and then she spent one other summer in Budapest training there. So it was a great experience for her to go if she went away with her teammates when she was fifteen, sixteen years old and got to spend not a summer, I think they spent a month there or whatever. That was a great experience for her. She had a ton of fun doing it. Then she came back and she got a partial scholarship at Point Loma to paddle there also. So, she did that last year.
MK: Is she paddling or rowing?
TJM: No, that’s a kayak scholarship.
MK: Oh, wow.
TJM: Yeah, yeah.
MK: Wonderful. Well, now, you paddle for the Club for a number of years, you’ve raised your children here, you served as President, what do you think your biggest contribution to the Club has been?
TJM: Oh, wow. I think doing the Club Captain thing … actually, (President) Jeff Dinsmore came to me four years ago, five years, my fifth year. He asked me to step up and be a Club Captain for … he said, “Just do it for three years.”
MK: Head coach or Canoe Racing chair?
TJM: Canoe Racing chair. I said, “Okay,” because I went to Jeff Dinsmore, whatever it was, ten years ago and said, “Okay, it’s time for you to step up and go through chairs and go through and be President.” So, he was somewhat reluctant at that time and I said, “You’re the one. We need your kind of leadership on this thing going forward.” So he ran for the Board, and got elected, and went through the chairs and was President, and then he was President two years in a row. Now, he’s on Finance. Jeff’s been, I think, a key player here at the Club. I mean, he’s a good man to have as part of our leadership here. So he came to me then and said, “Hey, I want you to take over as Canoe chair for the next three years. Just do it for three years.” So I said, “Okay, I’ll do it for three years.”
So I’m starting my fifth this year and it’s been a lot longer process than I thought and I think that I wanted to do. I mean, we wanted to change some things and it’s a little bit like change at the Outrigger is like turning an aircraft carrier around. It just doesn’t work. It takes longer than you anticipate. But I do think that we’re on the right track these last couple of years and I think what we’re going to see this year is a major shift in the paddling program per se. I think we’re going to see … I’m betting on we’re going to see Outrigger start to win again. I think that’s going to drive not only a winning attitude for membership but I’m hoping it drives revenue, it drives excitement, it drives extracurricular activities down here, parties, so on and so forth because without that, we’ve got to raise dues. We’re going to have to raise dues anyhow.
MK: What’s the biggest change you’ve seen at the Club?
TJM: I think maybe the demographics. I think we’ve got more higher-income individuals coming in than we had twenty years ago. I think that’s just part because of cost, you know? It’s just the way it is.
MK: Do you think you’ll stay involved in canoe racing?
TJM: I think I will. I mean, once Brock is out of school, I want to do some traveling and do some things. So, he’s got a few more years here, but, yeah, my heart has always been with the Club. I love the water, and I love the kids, and I love being part of it. So, I can never see myself just walking away and not having some involvement. I don’t know if I’ll be involved as much as I am now, I’ll put it that way. I don’t think it’s good for me to stay here much more than five years. I mean, I’m kind of old school in a lot of ways. I think if we’re going to get young people involved here, we’re going to need young people in these positions. I’m kind of not a dinosaur but I’m … it needs young blood.
MK: Do you think the Outrigger Canoe Club will still be here in thirty-eight years?
TJM: I do. I mean, I don’t know, it might be here in a different form but, I mean, it’s an icon. It’s almost like Diamond Head from a historical standpoint. I don’t even think the city wouldn’t want it to go when you really take a look at the history we’ve got here and it’s almost iconic type of club. I think we’ll be here.
MK: Before we wrap this up, is there anything else you would like to add that we haven’t covered?
TJM: We’ve covered a lot, really have. I don’t know of anything else, I mean, that I’m sure I’ve forgotten a lot of names and people that do so much around here that I probably should have mentioned along the way, but to those people, I apologize.
MK: Can you share one of your favorite memories of the Club?
TJM: Oh, wow. I think some of my favorite memories were when we were novices, after every regatta, we would come back, the whole Club would come back and we had a piano, if you remember right, in the bar at that time. I remember Keahi Farden would sit down at the piano, and different people would play the piano, and we’d all sing around the piano, and laugh, and have the entire Club, the entire paddling community would come back to the Club after every regatta, and we would party down here till all hours of the night. I think those were some of my fondest memories as it was just we were all day together paddling, we win the regatta, we’d come back here and everybody would have their kids here, we’d eat, we’d sing, we drink and it was just a fabulous time.
MK: It was real family place.
TJM: Yeah, a family place and everybody had fun. It was good, clean fun. Those were great days. I liked it. I’d like to see that again that everybody comes back here after regatta, but it seems like everybody’s lives are so busy. You’ve got one kid going off to water polo, one kid is doing this, one kid is doing that, family members over here. It’s just, I don’t know, maybe it was simpler times back then.
MK: Well, I have one last question for you. You’ve been an Outrigger member for thirty-five years. What has the Club meant to you?
TJM: Oh, wow. Once again, I think I’ve said it before that, I mean, it has been kind of an anchor for me from the standpoint of my … it’s pretty much been the anchor of my social life. My best friends are here. As I said, had it not been for this Club, I don’t know if I would have been able to make a living here in Hawaii. As I look back, I have lived here longer than any other place. Although, they say, Iowa is home. Hawaii will always be my home and that’s where my kids were born. My mom and dad, when I first moved over here were always asked me, “When are you going to move back to the United States?” I would always say, “This is the United States.” To me, the great thing about Hawaii and the Club is you’ll love going away. I love going away on vacation. I love going snowboarding and I love taking the kids and doing stuff.
We’ve been to Greece. I took them all over Greece on a sailboat and we’ve been to Canada, Whistler, Alaska, had some really great trips. But when you live in Iowa, you go on vacation, you dread when vacation ends. When you live in Hawaii and you go on vacation, vacation ends and you can’t wait to get back home. There’s just something about flying in and flying around Diamond Head and looking down at the Club as you fly by and you say to yourself, “God, I’m home.” It’s the greatest feeling in the world.
MK: Thanks, Tom, for a great interview.
TJM: Thank you.
Service to the Outrigger Canoe Club
Board of Directors
2003 Coordinating Director, Athletics
2004 Coordinating Director, House
2006 Secretary, Coordinating Director Public Relations
2007 Vice President Operations, Coordinating Director Admissions & Membership
Admissions and Membership Committee
Long Range Planning Committee
Canoe Racing Committee
Head Canoe Racing Coach
Molokai Hoe Coach
2009 Masters, 1st Koa
2014 Open, 72nd Overall
Women’s Canoe Racing Coach
2001 Co Head Coach
2013 Masters 40
2014 Masters 50
Beach & Water Safety Committee
Athletic Achievements at OCC
1984 8th Overall
1985 8th Overall
1988 2nd Koa
1989 14th Overall
1990 5th Overall
1992 1st, Masters 35
1993 1st, Masters 35
1995 2nd, Masters 35
1990 Sophomore Men
1990 Senior Men
1991 Junior Men
1992 Junior Men
Macfarlane Regatta Championships
1988 Men Open 4
1989 Junior Men
1991 Sophomore Men
1990 Mixed Open
2016 Men 60
Skippy Kamakawiwoole Long Distance Race
1991 4th Glass
1992 1st Masters
1993 1st Masters
OCC Winter Ocean Kayak Race
1987 6th Intermediate
1988 3rd Intermediate Expert
1989 13th Expert
OCC Winter Tri Ocean Race
1998 3rd, Surfski, M40+
OCC Kayak Race
1991 2nd, Cruiser