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Hawaii comes to Ithaca

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Unpacking in Ithaca but wishing you were in Hawaii instead? Join members of the Cayuga Outrigger Canoe Club at Stewart Park Aug. 29 at 3 p.m. for a Hawaiian luau featuring Hawaiian music, cuisine (including kalua pig, lomi lomi salmon and poi) and hospitality.

The luau, which is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Ithaca-Cayuga, will top off the club’s first annual “Cayuga Ho’e” (pronounced HO-ay) – a seven-hour, 39-mile paddle from Cayuga Lake State Park in Seneca Falls to Stewart Park.

Luau dinner tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children, and are available online and from Cayuga OCC and Kiwanis members.

The ho’e and luau are designed to raise awareness of outrigger canoe paddling and to raise funds to help the club develop youth paddling programs through the Ithaca Youth Bureau and local schools. They also celebrate the club’s one-year anniversary.

“There’s something very unique about paddling in a six-person canoe,” said P.J. Rusello, club founder and president and a Cornell civil engineering graduate student. “You really need to work together. The sport is very much a finesse sport. If you go in thinking you can muscle your way through, you’re invariably very humbled.”

A long paddle is quiet and contemplative, said Cynthia Brock, who grew up in Hawaii and started paddling at age 9 or 10. “At the same time, it’s a team sport,” she said. “The exhilaration that comes from that – it’s really quite special and unique. It’s very addicting.”

– Lauren Gold

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