LOU COCCIARELLA JUNIOR'S SCHOLARSHIP FUND
The Lou Cocciarella Junior’s Scholarship Fund is a tribute to the late Lou Cocciarella, a paddler recognized for perpetuating outrigger canoe paddling by inspiring and funding young paddlers. Maui Paddling Hui (MPH) would like to honor Lou Cocciarella by providing Maui’s youth paddlers the opportunity to paddle free; to inspire the youth and guide them down a positive path, like Lou did for many.
Bill Green, one of MPH’s founding members, was a recipient of Lou Cocciarella’s guidance and support. Lou, who paddled with both Napili and Lahaina in the early 1980’s, invited young Bill over to his house often for cross training and yummy pasta. Both men missed paddling one-man canoes and one day Uncle Lou purchased two kayaks: one for Bill and one for himself. They started training on the water together long before an association was formed on Maui. They enjoyed downwind Kapalua runs, O’ahu races, and Lou coached Bill through his first solo Molokai to O’ahu crossing.
“Without Lou’s support as a young paddler, I likely never would have got into my first one man on Maui and never would have been in that first race. I appreciate MPH’s effort to advance and support our junior paddlers, as the mentoring and support I received as a junior made a huge difference in my life and I give credit to all my coaches and mentors, like Lou, for keeping me on a positive path.” - Bill Green
In 2018, Bill Green decided to give back by donated one season pass to help kids race. This altruistic monetary donation gave MPH the inspiration to make races free for all junior paddlers. This decision upped participation to about 30 juniors in the 2018 season races and a few in Northshore and M2M. We believe this is an important step in keeping Maui’s young men and women in paddling and on positive paths.
Triston Kahookele-Santos of Maui was a beneficiary of past MPH racing scholarships. He believes the opportunity helped him in the progression of his abilities, especially when participating in the larger races (Northshore Challenge and M2M) because it gave him more water time and the chance to learn big water. He believes this is something we should continue for our juniors.
“In my opinion, it can help bring the youth up because for the youth the hardest part is the money. If the juniors have the chance to race for free it will interest them more to wanna do it and it will show them how fun it is in the ocean. Also it can teach them the ocean and help them learn it younger so when they get older they will be at a higher level.” -Triston Kahookele-Santos
Triston is now 19, not a junior any longer, and is already giving back! This year he will be serving as a Maui Paddling Hui board member.
Lou Cocciarella changed the lives of many and like him we should help perpetuate the sport as well as be positive role models for our youth. “If it weren’t for Lou I probably would have never jumped into a ski or OC1 here,” said Bill. Consider being part of the positive change on Maui by donating to the scholarship fund today. You can make a difference in our future!
MPH has a fantastic new opportunity to share with you! We has started a scholarship to support our junior paddlers and to perpetuate the sport here on Maui. Check out the background and consider adding to the funds when you can.