Meet our founding members and Board of Directors...
Leilani de Leon
Leilani was born in Oahu, Hawaii and raised in San Diego. She first paddled outrigger in the summer of 1999 as part of exploring new adventures with her sister, Mimi. Her passion for the ocean, culture and travel brought her back to it in 2008 at which point she became addicted. She’s raced up and down the coast of California as well as Las Vegas, Arizona and Hawaii. Leilani is excited about bringing the experience of outrigger paddling to kids and believes it is a great opportunity for them to learn about teamwork, fitness and culture in a fun way.
Angie aka “Angielovesfood” is a transplant from San Francisco, California. She moved to San Diego for graduate school, discovering paddling for the first time at the Pacific Islander Festival in San Diego. Paddling changed her life in 2008. She fell in love with it the first time she jumped into a canoe, realizing there was much more to it than a paddle, canoe, and people - it was about ohana, the spirit of the canoe, the ocean, and culture. Her life’s work is a teacher and counselor, and heart’s passion is balanced with food and paddling. She’s thrilled to pass on her passion to future keiki paddlers.
Head Coach; Program Manager
Daisy Carvajal was born in Guam and has spent parts of the past two decades in both San Diego and Oahu. She first tried outrigger paddling in 2005 and by 2007, Daisy’s strength in leadership, respect for her fellow paddlers and passion for outrigger led to her first coaching position. Since that time, as both Novice and Open coach, Daisy has introduced hundreds of people to the sport of outrigger paddling, encouraging and challenging them to reach heights, both on and off the water. As a steersman, Daisy has navigated years of the Southern California Outrigger Association racing series, and multiple races in Hawaii, including four runs at the the Queen Liliuokalani race on the Big Island. Simply put, Daze is the bomb! :-)
"Yogurt" Kristina Lei
Kristina, aka “Yogurt”, originally from Battle Creek, Michigan, arrived in San Diego in 1986 after graduating from Albion College with degrees in business management and sports nutrition. She began her paddling adventures in 2009, is a veteran steersman of the Southern California Outrigger racing series. Throughout the years, Kristina has shared her knowledge and love of paddling with disabled and disadvantaged children and adults. As a leader within Outrigger Hoe Wana’ao her commitment to empowering others through her passion for teamwork, integrity and the spirit of Ohana is unbending.
Jillian Del Rosario
Jillian's father, born and raised in Lanai, Hawaii, instilled in her a passion for the ocean and Ohana from the moment she could prop herself up. That passion and love for the aloha spirit drew Jillian to outrigger paddling in 2013. Jillian, a promising young steersman and paddler, finished her novice year on crews earning 3rd place finish in the Whitey Harrison Classic, a 4th place finish in the Catalina Crossing, and completed the Queen Lili'uokalani race in Kona, HI, a rarity for a novice paddler. Jillian recently steered her first Open paddler race, the 36 mile Na’Pali Challenge, in Kauai, HI. Jillian's enthusiasm for teaching youngsters teamwork, aloha spirit, and a respect for the ocean will enliven Outrigger Hoe Wana'ao's keiki program.
A San Diego native, Melanie’s first experience with outrigger paddling was a one day orientation in Oceanside in 2010. Although she loved the camaraderie and the peace of being on the ocean, it wasn’t until 2012 that Melanie jumped head first into the “ultimate team sport” down on Mission Bay. Seeing the positive impact outrigger paddling can have at any age, Melanie looks forward to sharing her love for paddling, the friendships and incredible, lifelong experiences the outrigger way of life can bring. Paddling milestones: 2012 1st place crew Catalina Crossing (Bradley division); 2nd and 3rd place crews Whitey Harrison Classic 2012 and 2013 respectively; The Queen Lili’uokalani long distance race 2012 and 2013; and the Liberty Challenge in 2014.
"Otis", hails from Sault Ste. Marie , Canada but made her way down to the U.S. 17 years ago. In 2011, she and her sister tried outrigger paddling for the very first time and she was hooked on the spot. The people, the challenges, the fun and the laughs resonated so much that she quickly passed on her love of paddling to her young son. Through Hoe Wana'ao, Christine will share her love of paddling and the ocean with other San Diego kids and hopes to see the same positive impact paddling has had on her son. A veteran steersman, Christine successfully navigated her crew in the 2012 Queen Lili'uokalani iron race in Kona, Hawaii and steered crews to a 3rd place finish in the 2013 Whitey Harrison Classic and a 4th place finish in the 2013 Catalina Crossing (Bradley division).
Evy was born in the Philippines and was raised in San Diego. She began paddling in 2012 after finally giving in to a dare from a friend. Like many of her Hoe Wana'ao teammates, after day one on the water, there was no going back. Evy loved the camaraderie and challenge that paddling brought her, and despite being involved with her community, church, family, two jobs and her charity work, she decided to keep paddling. Evy gives hours on end to provide joy, peace and happiness to kids from all over not only with OHW, but also through the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel church children's choir and the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Paddling Highlight: Queen Lili'uoklani iron race in 2013.
A Rancho Cucamonga, CA native, Chef Dawn Tangeman began paddling outrigger on Mission Bay in 2011 after hearing great things about it from a fellow Chef. Inspired by her love of the people, the physical challenges, and confidence that paddling instilled, Dawn has stuck with the sport, even while her catering business was taking off at lightspeed. Dawn’s passion for the lessons paddling teaches and the ever present spirit of Ohana inspired her to have her daughter join in the outrigger paddling fun as well. Dawn, a veteran of multiple Southern California outrigger racing seasons, was on the 1st place Bradley crew at the 2012 Crystal Pier iron race, and was twice a member of the second mainland women’s crew across the finish line at the Queen Lili’uokalani race in Kona, Hawaii.