Prichard pursues a passion for paddling


Tevah Prichard

Prichard competes in a 20-mile 9-man race in Oceanside. She jumps out of the chase boat in order to take her turn in the canoe.

Softball? Nah. Soccer? Nope. Tennis? Maybe later. Dance? No thanks. Gymnastics? Eh.

Senior Tevah Prichard searched for years to find a sport that she was passionate about enough to pursue. As her mom served as a multi-sport athlete in her youth, she pushed Prichard to try a variety of different activities––and finally, in the midst of her freshman year, Prichard accidentally stumbled upon the sport that would end her search: outrigger.

“I used to do Junior Guards at the Harbor,” Prichard said. “Then I saw the canoes so I just quit Junior Guards and randomly decided to give it a try.”

Despite being an ancient Hawaiian water sport, outrigger is not very well-known in Southern California. After joining a team and hopping in the canoe for the first time, Prichard soon found out how often people mistook the activity for the sport of rowing.

“With outrigger, you face forward, the seat is stationary, and it’s always on one side that you have your paddle which is very different than an ore like you would use in rowing,”  Prichard said.

Fortunately enough, this chance encounter has developed into Prichard’s favorite past time. Now racing with Oceanside Outrigger Canoe Club for the past four seasons, she has loved the ability to stay fit while being surrounded by nature.

“You have this sport that you do that no one really knows about and you’re always in the water and it’s beautiful,” Prichard said.

However, paddling for lengths of three to 19 miles is no small feat. The sport of outrigger requires an equal amount of mental and physical strength. Between eating right and cross-training, outrigger has transformed all aspects of Prichard’s lifestyle.

“You do have to have that mental mindset,” Prichard said. “You have to be able to push yourself and tell yourself that you can do it. There’s also a lot of work outside of practice that you have to do.”

In the summer of 2012, Prichard had the opportunity to showcase her hard work through competing in an international race in the very place where the sport began: Hawaii. Competing against teams from Austrailia, Hawaii, Arizona, New Zealand, the UK, Japan and more, Prichard’s team held the goal of simply completing the race and placing. But their original intention soon turned into a shocking accomplishment as Prichard’s co-ed team placed first in their division.

“It was unreal,” Prichard said. “It feels really accomplishing to know that everything you’ve done has helped you get to that point and that it was all worth it.”

As she heads down to practice at Oceanside Harbor a minimum of three days a week, her dedication for the sport has impacted who she is. Now serving as an assistant coach, Prichard has used her love for paddling as a leadership experience.

“It’s really helped me grow as a paddler and as a person,” Prichard said.

Despite the lack of outrigger programs across the nation, Prichard has no plans to stop paddling post-graduation. Although she is unsure of exactly where she is headed in the fall, she is certain that she will find a way back to get a paddle back in her hand.

“I’m definitely coming back in the summer to paddle because I love it,” Prichard said. “I can’t imagine my life without it.”