Kids have some help learning to SUP in Hawaii. SIC Global Team Athlete Andrea Moller hosted the 4th annual Imua Keiki o ke Kai event, presented by Paddle Imua & Bluesmiths. The event was held on Sunday, April 3, at the Hawaiian Canoe Club in Kahului, Maui, to provide children with special needs an opportunity to participate in ocean sports with a who’s who list of pro water sports athletes. The keiki attending had a chance to enjoy stand up paddling, double-hulled outrigger canoe paddling and Jet Ski rides. Imua Keiki o ke Kai was originally inspired by Moller’s vision to offer the children of Camp Imua an opportunity to interact one-on-one with ocean athletes in a safe and supervised environment.
“It’s a pre-event for Paddle Imua,” says Moller. “I wanted to get the paddlers who race for Paddle Imua to get to know the kids and get them to know what Paddle Imua is all about. It is a fundraiser for Camp Imua. What is neat about this year is, not just camp kids came, but a lot of kids from schools that never really met special needs kids. Just to have fun. All of the paddlers getting to know each other and get in the water. It’s basically a free, fun event for everybody. A lot of kids never really had family that was comfortable in the water to take them out paddling. So when they come to this event they know the athletes are here to take them safely into the ocean.”
The Imua Keiki o ke Kai has grown over the past four years since its inaugural event in 2013. It started small with about ten children and twenty volunteers. Most of the volunteers that day were Moller’s friends who dedicated their time and resources. The volunteers all arrived on the beach early, each bringing their personal boards to take a child paddling. The Hawaiian Canoe Club lent their double hulled canoe and the rest was history.
“Imua Family Services… if it wasn’t for them helping me put this event together, it wouldn’t happen,” explained Moller. “They are definitely people who understands the needs of all these kids and they put together great events to fundraise for Camp Imua. Right on for Imua Family Services & Camp Imua for helping me out with this.”
About Imua Keiki o ke Kai: Camp Imua campers and families are welcome to an afternoon of guided stand-up paddling, double hull outrigger canoe paddling, and jet-ski rides with ocean athletes. Imua Keiki o ke Kai is a PRE-EVENT for BLUESMITHS Paddle Imua. To learn more about Imua Keiki o Ke Kai, visit www.imuakeiki.com
About Imua Family Services: Since 1947, the nonprofit agency has been providing services to Maui’s keiki with special needs, concerns and developmental delays. Imua Family Services empowers families and their children to reach their full potential. To learn more about Imua Family Services, visit www.imuafamilyservices.org or call 808-244-7467.
About BLUESMITHS Paddle Imua: A physical embodiment of the Hawaiian word Imua (‘to move forward’,) BLUESMITHS Paddle Imua began as a grassroots initiative to fund Camp Imua as it faced threat of elimination. Commemorating its 5th year in 2016, Paddle Imua continues to play a monumental role in keeping Camp Imua’s tradition alive. BLUESMITHS Paddle Imua is a one-of-kind mission based race with proceeds directly benefiting Imua Family Services’ Camp Imua program. www.paddleimua.com
About SIC Maui: SIC is the stand up paddling industry’s premier manufacturer of high quality, race proven stand up paddleboards and accessories. Founded on the island of Maui and cultivated on a legacy of world class open ocean racing, SIC is an authentic stand up paddleboard maker proud to lay claim to a heritage of designing the most winning board shapes together with our team of elite athletes, brand ambassadors and customers around the globe. Five Star Performance is our motto and we wear it with pride each day through our commitment to extending the SIC experience on and off the water to our growing family.