Shell VA'A meets socal paddling community!

09/14/2022 08:15 AM By sales

September 14, 2022

The “Catalina Crossing,” modified slightly due to storm warnings, will be held this Sunday, September 11. But the paddling community couldn’t wait to “meet and greet” Tahiti’s Shell Va’a team up close, in-between the team’s race preparation that includes everything from on-water training to in-mall shopping.

More than 70 paddling coaches and dignitaries gathered at the American Legion Post 291 in Newport Beach Thursday, September 8, to attend a luncheon sponsored by ARE Outrigger World. Featured were the Shell Va’a team and coach David Tepava, who talked about the love for paddling he and his team have—and how it has made Shell Va’a such a dominant team in the sport of outrigger canoeing. 

To no one’s surprise, Shell Va’a’s success is due in large part to the Tahitian culture that infuses this sport with a time-honored tradition of excellence and the competitive nature of paddling in Tahiti that promotes high-level competition and motivates many paddlers to constantly push their own limits and the limits of the sport. 

Joining Tepava on the stage was Alain Pontonnier, manager of the Shell Va’a team, who talked about Shell Va’a’s history. The event also highlighted the importance of promoting youth and juniors’ outrigger programs in an effort to grow the sport here in the continental United States.

Among the many notable figures in the paddling community who attended were canoe builder Johnny Puakea, founder of Puakea Designs, and Danny Ching, of the Lanakila Outrigger Club, dubbed the “Quiet Champion.” Danny lets his paddle do the talking.

While SCORA has had to revise the schedule for this week’s storied Catalina Crossing due to a storm warning on Catalina Island, excitement is still buzzing to see Shell Va’a and all the other teams, too. For safety’s sake, the race will now begin and end at the Newport Dunes, with teams turning around midway in the channel and heading back to the picturesque launch site. But this won’t detract from the enthusiasm for the SCORA-hosted US Outrigger Championships.  

“I really appreciate that Shell Va’a has come here for the Catalina Crossing,” said SCORA VP, Bud Hohl. Their presence will elevate the level of competition. Everyone wants a shot at beating the very best!” 

For more information on the Catalina Crossing, visit their website: For more information on ARE Outrigger World, visit the ARE Outrigger Website:

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