An Inspirational Oahu Paddler Overcomes Obstacles - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

An Inspirational Oahu Paddler Overcomes Obstacles

Joe Broc Joe Broc
Randy Sanborn Randy Sanborn

By Russell Yamanoha

HONOLULU (KHNL) - There aren't many team sports to be played on Hawaii's oceans, but canoe paddling is one of them.

Tonight, we hit the water with 19-year old Joe Broc.

A paddler who helps his team meet challenges, by overcoming a few of his own.

For Joe Broc, nothing beats back the worries of the day quite like having a canoe paddle in hand.

"Paddling is like my anti-drug or my stress reliever," says Joe.

"If I have a stressful day at home or at school or something I just go out and paddle and have fun.

The Hawaii Pacific freshman has been an active competitive paddler for the past 7-years, despite his special set of circumstances.

You see Joe was born with spina bifida, and is paralyzed below his knees.

"There were some doubters that didn't think I could do it."

According to Joe's coach, Randy Sanborn, "We were afraid the first time when he started paddling what would happen if the boat capcized what would happen, but he's the first guy in the boat, super upper body strength."

And Joe's will to succeed has left an indelible mark on his fellow paddlers.

"I remember last year we went to Maui for an invitational race. And I didn't know but people were looking at me."

"Here he is walking across the beach, said Sanborn, "with his crutches and getting in the boat and paddling."

"Afterwards, coach was telling me, 'Joe did you realize how many people were looking at you'. And I was like huh?"

"Some people look at me differently and think I can't do something but then I show them and they just change their perspective on what I can do.

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