‘Ocean Paddler TV’ Goes National

Ron Mizutani
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Wednesday - March 30, 2011
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Alex Reinprecht and the crew shooting a segment for ‘Ocean Paddler TV’ during the 2010 Pa’a Eono Hoe in the Kaiwi Channel. Photo by Jeremy Cole

Alex Reinprecht had a dream of presenting the culture of ocean paddling sports and outrigger canoes to a national and international audience. In 2008, he took the first step by launching Ocean Paddler TV to the local Hawaiian market, the only television program in the world dedicated to paddling.

Next month his dream will come true when the Hawaii-based television show will air on NBC Universal Sports to more than 50 million households on the Mainland.

“We’re absolutely thrilled with this opportunity, that a national network is dedicating so much airtime to ocean paddling,” says Reinprecht, Ocean Paddler‘s executive producer and founder. “Most people think of Hawaii and outrigger canoeing as a niche, but to be picked up by Universal Sports in such a short time frame since the show’s inception proves there is a national interest in outdoor sports in Hawaii.”

Reinprecht also is the producer of Hawaiian Xtreme Sports TV, which has been airing in Hawaii since 1998. Kala’i Miller will remain as the national host. Director of sales and marketing and segment producer Terry Galpin says the crew is excited to bring a taste of the Islands to the rest of the country.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to broadcast all the positive aspects of our lifestyle to the Mainland,” she says. “Not only will it be great exposure for Hawaii, but it will also attract outdoor sports visitors to the Islands.”

The show was discovered by NBC Universal Sports when an executive was travelling to Hawaii on Hawaiian Airlines and saw the show on its in-flight video. On April 5, Ocean Paddler TV will go national and air on a weekly basis through the end of March 2012. The network features Olympic-related sports programming in 52 markets nationwide including the country’s top 10 media markets.

“It’s been extremely crazy because we have to deliver more than 40 half-hour shows,” says Reinprecht. “We’re repackaging and updating our best content, making sure the product meets the standards of a national broadcast.”

Reinprecht believes outrigger canoe paddling is poised to become a mainstream sport around the world, as surfing did decades ago. Last fall, Ocean Paddler made use of groundbreaking wireless and cloud-based technologies when it presented the first-ever multi-camera live webcasts of the Molokai Hoe and Na Wahine o Ke Kai. The long-distance canoe races for men and women were watched on the Web in more than 100 countries.

“I think that set the stage to finally transition outrigger events into a spectator sport,” says Reinprecht, who is known in the sports television industry as one of the most innovative action sports producers and cinematographers. “I believe the overwhelming response to those webcasts only symbolizes the tiny tip of a large iceberg for the sport. We hope this helps pave the way for outrigger canoeing to be recognized on a national and international stage.”

One of the first segments to air will focus on Maui’s Hawaiian Canoe Club and its efforts to restore the island of Kahoolawe. Ocean Paddler followed young club members as they paddled to the island for a three-day cleanup effort and then paddled back to Maui.

“We want to showcase Hawaii in a positive and realistic way,” says Reinprecht. “We’re giving a little more background information in our stories, sharing details of the Islands so viewers can navigate the sport better. Most people don’t even know where Molokai is, so we’re showing maps and visually telling stories accurately.”

Reinprecht is quick to thank local network OC-16 and its willingness to give the show a shot.

“They allowed us the chance to get national exposure, but all of our new episodes will always be seen in Hawaii first,” he says. “This is a huge step forward for the sport, and a great way for the Mainland audience to experience our high-endurance sports and authentic Hawaiian heritage.”


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