LHCOCC Board Members and Coaches
In November 2003, David and Liz were on vacation in Maui. David noticed a sleek vessel on a pickup truck. He struck up a conversation with the owner and learned about outrigger canoes, specifically the OC-1. In the summer of 2004, David purchased a used OC-1 in Maui and had it shipped to Lake Havasu. He had never paddled in an outrigger canoe, but something was calling him.
David was born in 1952 in Los Angeles, CA, and he moved to Inglewood at the age of one. He parents were from the Philippines. When his parents didn't want him to understand what they were saying they would speak in their native tongue. Unfortunately, he never picked up the language, culture or history. He was Americanized.
David had been paddling his OC-1 in Thompson Bay, Bridgewater Channel, under the London Bridge and eventually around the island in Lake Havasu. He would start paddling around 5:30am watching the beautiful sunrises. He found he was the only one on the lake at that time of the morning.
Eventually he found out about the OC-6s. David visited Na Leo O'Ke Kai Outrigger Canoe Club in Phoenix, AZ, where he first met Lono and Louise Navarro in August 2004. David paddled in an OC-6 for the first time. He decided, on the spot, that he wanted to start a club in Lake Havasu City. Lono invited David to attend the Lake Las Vegas Regatta that October. Within a half hour of paddling in an OC-6 David was in his first sprint race. Within one minute he was exhausted, in a race that lasted almost 15 minutes.
At the race Lono and Louise explained to David the ins-and-outs of starting and running a club, based on their own experience. They introduced him to some of the people involved with SCORA (Southern California Outrigger Racing Association.) Billy Whitford was one of them. Billy and David talked for a while about his club NAC (Newport Athletic Club.) It took David two weeks to weigh all the information he learned in Lake Las Vegas. In November 2004 David began his journey to start an outrigger canoe club in Lake Havasu City.
Our Founders: David and Liz Vidad
Jeanne Holdren, President
Jeanne joined the club in October of 2013 and her first race was as a Novice at Crystal Pier in 2015 and her team took 3rd place. She joined the club for the physical activity on the Lake, as she enjoys outside exercise during the summer. She's a Dietician, always lending healthy eating tips to all the paddlers.
She's a fierce and competitive Seat One, always willing to stroke for any crew. She became a board member to help the sport she loves.
Michele Kirkpatrick, Executive Director
Michele joined the club in May of 2015 and has been in love with everything paddling ever since.
Her claim to fame is she was recruited for the Iron Champs Women's Short Course only after paddling for three weeks. She had no idea what she was getting into but was hooked after that.
Larry Lutz, Vice President and Race Coach
Larry joined LHCOCC in 2015, and as a certified personal trainer, he naturally loves sports and competition. Larry is a family man, with kids and grandkids, and the Ohana spirit is important to him.
Being a coach allows him to be part of a traditional sport with great members and to provide encouragement, help train and improve his physical conditioning , as well as club paddlers.
When race season and race practices arrive, Larry sets the racer's routines and encourages each racer to push themselves a little bit further each practice, performing at their best. He consistently provides that positive encouragement that every paddler appreciates.
Diane Denny, Treasurer
Diane is one of our original members and joined the club shortly after it was formed in 2006 by David Vidad. She read an article in the paper about the club and it had photos of the canoes, which she found interesting. The article invited people to come give it a try. With her love for being on the water and wanting outdoor exercise, it was a perfect fit.
In 2007, the club became a 501 C3, and was officially recognized as a non-profit organization. For the first time, officers and board members were elected and bylaws were written for the club. Diane was elected club Treasurer and she's retained that position ever since.
Gary Mortimer, Head Coach and Board Member
Gary joined LHCOCC in 2009. Being a social guy, he thought paddling and racing with friendly people would be more enjoyable than alone on his SUP.
Gary says, "Over the years my participation in the sport and the club evolved seat by seat until I ended up steering from seat 6. Participating in a variety of open ocean races, including paddling and steering for other clubs, taught me to realize how important it is for all paddlers (every seat) to be well prepared for whatever the ocean/river/lake throws at them. The canoe listens to the crew working together and responds to that energy in ways that words cannot express."
Gary created the club's Steersman's Course, which has since been adopted by SCORA. He is a self taught steersman and enjoys lending his knowledge and experience to anybody that is willing to learn. He has been instrumental in teaching the majority of the club's steerpersons the art of steering.
Angie Veneroni, Coach and Board Member
Angie joined the club in 2006, after deciding it was an activity she wanted to be involved in since she loves to work out and loves the water. She also enjoys team work and Ohana.
She is a Physical Therapist by trade and leads a team stretch before and after practices.
Angie has paddled the Queen Lili race three times, as well as the Catalina 9 man race.
Leona (Lee) Payne, OC2 Coach
Lee joined LHCOCC in 2009, being very competitive, having 10 years under her belt as a swim coach, racing is her passion. She loves being a coach because 'it's rewarding to see the smile on a person's face when they achieve their goals."
Lee has been racing with LHCOCC since 2010 and she accredits her racing and coaching skills to one of our original members, Steve Benson (featured in photo with Lee, coming in 1st place-OC 2 Co-Ed at ADR, 2019.)
Ken Smith, Coach
Ken, a retired Naval Officer, says loves paddling because it's great exercise and he has always loved moving a vessel through the water without the power of a machine. He likes the nice social Ohana as well.
Ken studied Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering Department at U of Michigan Ann Arbor.