Paddling Together In All Things

Ron Mizutani
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Wednesday - March 26, 2008
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Tanya and Mike Hall
Tanya and Mike Hall have won two early season races together

Mike and Tanya Hall’s “things to do list” is simply exhausting.

“We need to be organized to do what we do,” says Tanya. “Our schedules are hectic, but we find ways to get everything done.”

With balancing both careers and the family budget plus running 13-year-old Abraham to wrestling practice and 6-year-old Naomi to hula rehearsals, this husband-and-wife team has quietly become one of Oahu’s top two-person outrigger canoe tandems.

“We are actually surprising ourselves,” says Mike after two early-season victories and one second-place finish in the local Kanaka Ikaika Racing Association events. “We’re beating men on the short-course races,” beams Tanya. “It’s exciting because I’m usually the first woman across the finish line.”

Not bad, considering the Halls only purchased their two-person outrigger canoe a short four months ago.

“I was tired of being the driver all the time, dropping off and picking up the boys,” says Tanya, a fifth-grade teacher at Lanakila Elementary School. “Since we both have been paddling for years, I said, ‘Why don’t we paddle together on a two-man?’”

The suggestion has been a blessing in more ways than one.

“This has strengthened our marriage and our relationship,” says Mike, a 21-year veteran of the Honolulu Police Department. “It’s really helped me to be more patient.

She trusts being with me, so the danger aspect of the sport is removed - and I love the fact that she is so competitive.”

While communication is essential in a marriage, it is absolutely critical when it comes to catching open-ocean swells and reading shifting currents. It is critical that each person’s paddle is entering and exiting the water at the same time.

“We have to be in unison,” says Tanya, who has steered most of her paddling career. “I find myself not needing to be in control all the time. This has changed the way I think, and I see changes in him as well.”

But it wasn’t always smooth sailing for the Halls.

“We had a blast the first time we jumped in the boat together, but that was not the case the second time,” recalls Mike.

“Ten minutes into the paddle we started arguing about everything so we turned around and headed back to shore. We were so frustrated, we didn’t even wash the canoe down,” Tanya says with a laugh. “It was a long ride home.”

Since then, their chemistry in and out of the ocean has improved - and it is showing in race results and at home.

“We have a solid family support network, but really it is our faith that allows us to be successful in this adventure,” says Mike. “Our busy lives can get frustrating, but prayer seems to ease the challenges.”

“I’ve always enjoyed being with my husband, and now we are doing something different together,” Tanya says smiling. “But don’t get me wrong; I still tune him out sometimes.”

The Halls are proving that a family that paddles and prays together stays together - even with a grueling “things to do list.”


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