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Hawaiian News: Kalai Hoe

Uncle Bobby Puakea Uncle Bobby Puakea

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For all you outrigger canoe paddlers, regatta season is just a few months away. But that perfect koa paddle youʻve been eyeing is in reach. Master woodworker Uncle Bobby Puakea shows us how.

I was given the name kahuna kâlai waʻa. I don't know about the kahuna.

Loea Kâlai Waʻa ‘Aʻole au ʻike no ia inoa ʻo kahuna kâlai waʻa.

ʻAkaʻaka ana nô ʻo ʻAnakala Bobby akâ he ʻoiaʻiʻo nô kona kaulana i kâna mau hoe e kâlai ana no kçia mau makahiki he 30 i hala iho nei.

Uncle Bobby may be laughing, but his reputation for customized canoe paddles is no joke. And it all started 30 years ago.

I was a coach. As coach I wanted the crew that I coached to have the same type and kind of paddle, so I made all of their paddles.

He kaʻi au a ua makemake e like nâ hoe o nâ mea hoe waʻa no laila, ua hana au.

Ua kipa aku nei iâ ʻAnakala Bobby me kekahi o kâna mau haumâna ma kona hale ma Kâneʻohe.

We dropped in on Uncle Bobby and one of his students at his Kâneʻohe home.

I shaped the paddle yesterday and he just stood there in awe. He didn't realize how much work went into it.

Ua hana ʻia ia hoe i nehinei a kûnânâ wale ana ʻo ia i ka nui o ka hana.

Wahi a ʻAnakala, me kâna mau hoe he nui wale i hana ai, he hana hoʻomanawanui nô ke kâlai ʻana i kahi hoe maiau loa.

According to Uncle Bobby, who has made dozens of customized paddles, making the perfect paddle requires patience.

Even with the modern tools, you can't build it fast.

To make a paddle from beginning to end takes roughly about 10 days.

I loko o nâ pono hana hou, he hana mâlie. He 10 paha lâ ka lôʻihi no ka hana i hoe.

I maikaʻi loa ka hoe, kâpili ʻia kekahi mau ʻâpana lâʻau lahilahi loa o nâ ʻano like ʻole no ka lauhoe.

For maximum performance, a paddle is made of a series of thin strips of various woods  delicately glued together.

Some [woods] are strong. Some are weak. The weak ones I use cause they're lighter, but then I reinforce them by using strips of strong woods like koa.

Hoʻohana ʻia nâ mea nâwaliwali ʻoiai mâmâ akâ hoʻopaʻa ʻia me nâ mea ikaika e laʻa me ke koa.

Aia ke hoʻopili ʻia nei nâ ʻâpana lâʻau a ma hope hoʻi e hoʻopili ʻia ai ke kûʻau a hoʻopau pono ʻia aku nô ka hoe.

He is in the process of gluing strips together for the shaft. After that he'll glue on the blade and then add the final touches.

To preserve our culture especially in woodworking that's what I'm trying to instill in people.

He hoʻôla ʻike kuʻuna ka pahuhopu ma o ke kâlai lâʻau ʻana.

No ke kâinoa no kekahi papa me ʻAnakala, e kele aku iâ puakea.org.

For more information or to sign up for the next paddle-making class log onto www.puakea.org.

ʻO wau no kçia ʻo Amy Kalili no Sunrise ma Hawaii News Now.

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