‘Ohana Wa’a Laulima is a canoe club formed to give individuals with disabilities equal opportunity to learn and experience the sport of paddling. Officially recognized as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, the club’s mission is to is to give people of all abilities a connection to the ocean and the Hawaiian culture by providing a safe environment where they can be on the water and learn more about the ocean and what it can provide.
Kahu Kauila Haumea is the founder of ‘Ohana Wa’a Laulima and has been paddling as part of the University of Hawaii recreational paddling class for over 10 years. When the Covid-19 pandemic started, classes were suspended for the immediate future, but Kauila’s passion for paddling and being on the ocean never wavered. Presented with an opportunity to purchase his own canoe, Kauila was encouraged by others with disabilities who also enjoyed paddling.
Kauila was born with a rare neuromuscular disorder that makes him legally blind, has a speech impairment, and he has difficulty walking. Even with these challenges and limitations, very little stops him from doing things. Kauila has dedicated his life towards helping others with his skills of traditional chanting (Oli), prayer (Pule), lomilomi massage, reiki, and house blessings.
Kauila has inspired many of his paddling classmates over the years to overcome life's challenges and find a passion for the traditional Hawaiian outrigger canoe.
‘Ohana Wa’a Laulima is determined to provide a safe and welcoming learning environment with experienced paddlers and currently holds weekly paddling sessions in partnership with OSMD Hawaii and the American Canoe Association.
Since beginning operations in January 2022, our club has a strong membership of 30 Athletes with disabilities and over 20 volunteers. In June 2022, ‘Ohana Wa’a Laulima in a partnership with OSMD Hawaii and the Arc of Hilo hosted the first annual King Kamehameha’s Awesome Athletes Inclusive Canoe Race which had over 51 athletes throughout the island and over 100 volunteers take part in the first race of its kind in the State.