Paddle Imua and Camp Imua
The benefit- fundraiser for Camp Imua will take place May 7th 2016. It will be a 10-mile down winder on Maui from Maliko Gulch to Kahului Harbor.
“Bluesmiths Paddle Imua is a multiple discipline ocean paddle race that celebrates the lives of Maui County’s special needs children by embracing our connection to the ocean. Proceeds of Bluesmiths Paddle Imua will benefit Imua Family Services’ Camp Imua (coming up in June 2016), an annual program where 60 special needs campers along with 200 volunteers gather for a week of crafts, games, swimming, zip lining, kayaking, helicopter rides and more!”
This link will guide you to where you can donate and SUPport.
Grateful to the connection with ‘Water’ in the forming years of my life
Being an Ambassador for Paddle Imua and thinking about writing this blog, I came to the conclusion that ‘Water’ and the Ocean have given me a tremendous amount of gifts in my life. She is the gift that keeps on giving. It is that gratefulness and healing happiness that is always special to share with others in my life. The special needs kids (and adults) need mostly an extra hand and extra guidance to have Ocean experiences and Imua offers opportunities for them. On a personal level I am closely connected to the special needs kids as well and I am once again grateful I can help out by supporting and promoting Paddle Imua.
By the age of 4, my mum took me ice-skating on the frozen waters in Holland where I was born and raised. By the age of 6 I had my first swimming diploma and 5 years I started windsurfing on the Frisian lakes with my family.
My passion for the outdoors, windsurfing and competing had me join regional competitions being 15 years old, quickly followed by National, International and events. The water connection inspired me to turn my hobby into my job, becoming a professional windsurfing joining the Wave Tour of the PWA (professional windsurfing association) in ‘97. My life was full of Worldwide Water-Ocean joy, travels, adventures, competitions and horizon broadening experiences for over 10 years.
Maui and another way to connect with the Ocean; SUP
My connection with the Ocean also lead me to Maui in ‘97, being known as ‘Mecca of Windsurfing’.
I fell in love with the island instantly and that love has grown stronger ever since. I am at home on this island: The warm air, the smell of flowers combined with Ocean air, Hookipa, the bright colors, warm water, surfing, the feeling of ALOHA and certainly the Maui Ohana that was warm, creative, welcoming and encouraging to ‘this Dutchy’ wanting to LIVE HER DREAM. I would spend about 5 months on island every year in between competitions and travel trips.
On Maui I was also introduced to Stand Up Paddling that became quickly another passion of mine in 2008 when I took a step down from my windsurfing career. My first down winders, the eye opening, mental and physical challenging experiences started in Maliko Gulch; where my first SUP race took place and where Paddle Imua will start from too this Saturday.
These first down winders made me hungry for more: Ocean crossings Maui – Molokai and Molokai to Oahu followed. The endurance athlete in me was back. This was also the time I started creating the SUP 11-City Tour.
SUP 11-City Tour and Imua; combining positive forces
The SUP 11-City tour, a 5 day long event through beautiful Friesland (the North of Holland) came alive, because I wanted to complete this legendary 138 mile (220 kilometer long) Tour over the canals and lakes, where I am born and raised. It was (and is) the most awe inspiring, challenging ice skating race when I was a little girl and it showed me that people were deeply moved by accomplishing something bigger than themselves. Overcoming boundaries, sharing camaraderie, while enjoying the Frisian beauty and culture along the way. The other factor creating this mental and physical ‘ultimate challenge’ by SUP was to inspire Stand Up Paddling in Friesland and the Netherlands, because there is water everywhere and I had experienced how fun, accessible and healthy this water sport is for body and mind.
Connecting ‘my’ Maui (where SUP is invented) and my roots in Friesland was a third factor. And last but not least I wanted to give people the transformational experience what the metaphor of sports had given me. Through sports I have (also) learned who I am; how and when to keep going, when to give in and allow to withdraw, what to do in hard times, how to overcome boundaries (mental and physical), how to climb back on ‘that horse’ being hurt or scared, to listen to my body and intuition, to embrace wins and to learn from losses and more. In 2009 the first annual was born with and the 8th annual event is coming up this year.
Paddle Imua is a great example in our world.
I had the privilege to be part of a pre event “Imua Kekei O Kai” meaning: “Go forward, children of the Sea”. This event was held a few weeks ago on Maui and I made a video clip. This gives you a good idea of what a weeklong camp can do for 60 special needs children. Video Imua Kekei O Kai
Spreading the word and creating awareness is one way of supporting Paddle Imua’s mission. The SUP 11-City Tour will certainly spread the word to her worldwide Ohana this week through social media. Getting funding is the other side of supporting Paddle Imua and Camp Imua. The SUP 11-City Tour will ALSO support there!
It will be great to get more European paddlers involved in Paddle Imua for next year to continue the awareness and funding. I also wish for Paddle Imua to inspire other event organizers to offer special need people camps in other places in our world.
Paddle Imua will hand out stickers of the SUP 11-City Tour in their goodie bag and use their social media to plant the seed for their racers and Ohana to come to Friesland in SUPtember. Being the founder and ‘mama’ of the event in Friesland, I will be an active spokes person of Stoke and Aloha for the 5 day or non-stop 138 mile ultimate challenge in the Netherlands and invite everyone on Maui to experience this unique cultural International happening later this year.
When you (reader) are inspired to support Imua also, please share the link of my blog or donate via this link: https://app.mobilecause.com/vf/Paddle/AnneMarieReichmanTotah
Mahalo and Aloha
LINKS RELATED TO THIS BLOG:
- Website Imua Family Services: http://imuafamilyservices.org/
- Facebook Paddle Imua: https://www.facebook.com/PaddleImua/?fref=photo
- Instagram Paddle Imua: https://www.instagram.com/paddleimua/
- Video Imua Kekei O Kai: https://vimeo.com/162234135
- Register for the SUP 11-City Tour 2016: http://sup11citytour.com/registration/enter-now/
- Facebook SUP 11City Tour: https://www.facebook.com/sup11citytour/
- Instagram SUP 11-City Tour: https://www.instagram.com/sup11citytour/