Joined OCC: 1955
Elected to Winged “O”: February 28, 2005
Keanuenue Rochlen was awarded the Winged “O” for her 50+ years of distinguished contributions to the Club’s athletic programs. Born in Honolulu January 29, 1928, Keanuenue joined the Outrigger Canoe Club in 1955. Over the years she competed for the Outrigger Canoe Club in canoe racing, volleyball, baseball, and tennis.
Probably Keanuenue’s most outstanding achievements have been in the area of canoe paddling. At the Paddler’s Awards Banquet in July 2001, Keanuenue won the Outrigger’s Most Valuable Paddler Award for steering the winning Master’s 55 crew. She probably won more gold medals for paddling than any other female paddler in the State. During the 2000 paddling season Keanuenue was recognized for being the oldest registered woman paddler in OHCRA. She competed in every state championship since the Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association was founded in 1952. Her last canoe race was the August 2009 state championships in Hilo Bay at the age of 81. She passed away on January 28, 2010.
From 1983 through 1989, the Outrigger Masters Women steered by Keanuenue won seven consecutive State Championships. During these same years Rochlen steered her crew in 17 consecutive first places. “They don’t make them like her any more,” said crewmate Gerri Pedesky. “She was a fabulous steerswoman who had a way of doing it that was unlike anyone else. If we were tied coming into a turn, we knew we would come out ahead.”
Keanuenue played both indoor and outdoor volleyball for Outrigger teams. In the 1970’s, Keanuenue and Chris Crabb won several doubles tournaments on the sand courts at the Club. As a member of the Outrigger’s six-person indoor hard-court team Keanuenue, coached by Ron Sorrell, played at Palama Settlement, University of Hawaii Gym, Fort Ruger, and at the opening of the Hickam Air Force Base Gymnasium.
She played baseball for the Outrigger women’s team, coached by Dave Pierson. The games were played at McCully Field. She was a top swimmer for McKinley High School before graduating in 1946, and surfed wooden boards at Mäkaha at a time when few women did so.
Coached by Gertrude Berger, Keanuenue was a member of the Outrigger’s tennis team for several years.
Keanuenue started paddling in the early 1940’s with Blue Makua at the Waikiki Surf Club, catching waves and playing in the surf. She paddled in her first races with Waikiki Surf Club. After two years Rochlen began to steer the Surf Club’s Novice Women. In the 1960’s Keanuenue began steering for the Outrigger Canoe Club teams.
Keanuenue lived life to the fullest and the Outrigger Canoe Club was the beneficiary of her love of the ocean.