This is the same post I shared on my facebook…
W E A R E H U M A N
This happened because we are human.
This happened because we are too comfortable.
This happened because we let our teammates down.
This is not her fault, it’s also not the drivers.
Boat ladders are needed.
Prop guards are needed, yes absolutely. 100%.
But so is awareness, attentiveness, teamwork, and acceptance of mistakes. Her life will never be the same, she has a long way to go. We need to do what we can to support her. We need to do what we can to help the next escort boat driver who finds themselves in this position. We need to do what we can, to control the situation.
I’m 26 years old, a girl, and I’ve been running my own escort boat for only 5 years. Hitting someone with the prop is my absolute nightmare. I’ve been paddling for 11 years. Getting hit by a prop is my absolute nightmare. There are many precautions to take, and you can take them all. But something could always go wrong. What are we going to do when something goes wrong? What’s our instinct? Get mad? No. Our instinct should be to band together, to support, to find a solution, and not place blame. This is our own fault.
A safe boat driver doesn’t mean an older driver; it doesn’t mean a male driver. It just means a safe driver. So those topics of conversation need to come to a halt. This is not on the race directors, this is not on the lead safety boat, this is not on the race. This is on us. What we need more than safer drivers, are safer paddlers. We shouldn’t have let her jump in the water, in one of the busiest spots an escort boat could be; before the race. It’s little things like that, becoming more aware of our surroundings. Knowing when the right time to jump, and the wrong time to jump. Our sport is compiled of jumping off motor boats, into canoes, and then back into motor boats. You can educate someone all you want on when to jump, where to jump, how to jump – but someone will always forget and jump wrong. Because we are human. You can give someone all the tools to be a successful escort captain, but something will fall apart or not work. Because we are human.
As a paddling community, we need to be more aware. And right now we need to band together to support each other. Crossing season isn’t over. But we can be more aware, and help prevent what we have control over.
My thoughts are with you, Aunty Faith Kalei-Imaizumi. My heart is with you Hawaii. My strength is behind the paddling community. Let’s support her together. Instead of placing blame. Let’s make sure her family knows we have her back.