Team Ikaika looking to navigate uncharted waters in Molokai chan - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Team Ikaika looking to navigate uncharted waters in Molokai channel

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HONOLULU (Hawaii News Now) - They come from different parts of the island and from different walks of life.

This weekend members of Ikaika canoe club will share one goal, becoming the youngest collective group of athletes to paddle from Molokai to Oahu.

"It really is a chance to show that kids can take on the ocean," says Ikaika coach Shelly Oates Wilding who knows a thing or two about crossing the Molokai channel.

A two-time member of Australia's Olympic kayak team, Wilding has also been a member of eight winning crews in the Na Wahine O Ke Kai.

Wilding assembled the team in a unique way.

"We went around and looked at the top swimmers and the top paddlers and the top water polo players, the top track people and we then approached people and said, would you be interested in this idea."

Wilding assembled the crew but Alan Pflueger assembled the gear.

Rather than a traditional canoe, which can weigh in the neighborhood of 400-pounds, the crew of 15-year old boys will navigate one that tips the scales at 147-pounds.

"I think there's definitely a place for the traditional types of canoes, but for these kids, we're working with (are) 14 and 15 year olds," Pflueger said. "It really allows for the opportunity for them to go out and catch bumps and go fast, learn things that, at their size, they can't necessarily do in a canoe."

The journey won't be new to Carter Matson who crossed the channel solo at the age of 14.

"It was excruciating..." he says, but surely, having teammates this time around should ease the pain?

"It would seem like it would be easier but when you have a relay like this, it's more like you push hard for 30-minutes and then you get out and you drink and you eat protein and refuel and you go back out and you do another sprint. You gotta go into the race thinking that you're going to hit those walls. But you gotta push through it."

No matter the obstacles, team Ikaika will look to achieve new heights come Saturday morning.

 

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