Last summer my wife and I traveled to the motherland of SUP, Hawaii. Our first stop was the island of Oahu. A few months prior to our trip, I had become Facebook friends with Sam Pa’e, who as many of you know, is a legendary waterman and SUP Surfer in Hawaii. Sam invited Tanya and I to join him one morning for a SUP Session on Pokai Bay, near Makaha. Upon arriving at the bay, Sam proceeded to introduce us to “Uncle George.” We were immediately pulled in to the SUP class he was giving on the beach. Most of what George was teaching we already knew, but we did pick up some great nuggets from George and Sam, that I continue to use when I teach today.
The reason I am writing this post, is to highlight a truly extraordinary individual, our sport owes a lot of gratitude too. George sits down at that bay several days a week, for half a day or so, sharing SUP with any and all who come. He has already taken out over 800 people for a Stand Up Paddle Session/Lesson. Most of them have never been on a stand up board, prior to meeting George. He has invested heavily out of his own pocket, to finance this dream of sharing SUP with the world. Last I counted, I think he had 15 or more boards, and we all know they don’t come cheap. He also recently bought a trailer and converted it to a SUP trailer, so he could haul more boards to the bay and touch more lives in doing so.
Many of those people he teaches, catch the bug and end up buying boards of their own. George has not and will not accept money from the people he shares SUP with. It is a gift from him to you. SUP changed his life in a very meaningful way, and he feels called to share it with others. For George, this is his personal Ministry.
If you ever find yourself in Oahu, you should look up Uncle George, and go for a Paddle with him. Tanya and I spent a day with George and Sam we will never forget. We both talked about it later and agreed that our day in the bay with George and Sam was the best day of the whole year for us. Nothing comes close. We paddled with friends, who we now consider family, we surfed Rest Camp (near the bay), and Tanya had some gigantic Sea Turtles surfacing right next to her board. It was all so amazing. You don’t have to take my word for it, look at this photo of Tanya, Sam, and I. We are all grinning from ear to ear. Something about the serenity of the ocean, and paddling with friends, will do that to you.
I have met so many cool people in our sport. None do I look up to more than Uncle George. He sacrificially gives of his time and money to share the gift of SUP with others.
Here is how you can reach George if you think you will be heading to Oahu and want to meet up.
Here is a video of Uncle George talking about why he does what he does.