Special Sections

live it up summer 2016

Issue link: https://www.ifoldsflip.com/i/706854

Contents of this Issue


Page 4 of 18

SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL FRIDAY, JULY 29, 2016 LIVE IT UP! 5 S eventy-four year old Ara Leites of Santa Cruz, is not only a lover of art, but also an avid water woman. In her spare time from being a profes- sional artist and teaching workshops, she is entering contests for outrigger canoe racing. She just entered her first contest this year. Also a retired art and photography teacher from Georgiana Bruce Prepara- tory School, Ara began paddling outrig- ger canoes less than a year ago. Inspired to maintain a healthy lifestyle and do something in the water, she signed up for a class offered by the Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation. She found that paddling was a great way to stay in shape, meanwhile nurturing her spirit and navigating around knee issues. She also discovered that it chal- lenged her to new heights, and fed her competitive side. So much so, that even as a novice paddler, Leites managed to bring home a gold medal for California in the 2016 World Sprints Champion- ship outrigger canoe race in Australia. Leites exceeded others' expectations, beating out the most experienced pad- dlers by a margin of 1.09 seconds. Leites paddles solo at home, and with her 47 year old teammate, Rita Melamed of Santa Cruz, in two-woman canoes. They met while paddling and share the same drive to enjoy life, stay fit, train hard, and win. They've named their team 47-74, their respective ages, and plan to change the name of their team every year, therefore challenging the whole purpose and meaning of age. As both women aim to challenge their spiritual and physical selves in the pro- cess, so does Melamed say that they're on a path of "self discovery". Leites and Melamed train with Outrigger Santa Cruz (OSC) and the Pu Pu 'O Hawai'i club. They also paddle with large teams on occasion, in as many as 12-women canoes. Not far removed from Leite's love of life and appreciation for water, art, and culture, outrigger canoeing is also an integral part of Polynesian heritage. Outriggers are traditionally raced in Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa and by the indigenous Māori culture of New Zealand. Leites next challenge planned along with Melamed is in Kona, Hawai'i, at the Queen Lili'uokalani Canoe Race on Labor Day weekend. This adventure beckons inspiration to create a vaca- tion based on health and fun. For more inspiration, view Ara's work—stunning seascapes as well as abstract expres- sionist paintings and more— at www.araleites.com. Outrigger Pair Paddle to Path of Self-Discovery photo by Duane Strong By Susan Webb

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Special Sections - live it up summer 2016