A Clean Regatta, Paddle Style - Sailors for the Sea

A Clean Regatta, Paddle Style

 May 4, 2022  | By: D'amy Steward

Over the past four weeks, four high school paddling teams have competed in the 2022 Independent Interscholastic Athletic Association Karerån Galaide races at Matapang Beach, Guam. You likely have never heard of a Galaides – it is six-person Chamorro outrigger canoe specialized for lagoon paddling. Often when we think of Clean Regattas and Sailors for the Sea Powered by Oceana, we imagine a sailing regatta, but Clean Regattas is a sustainability certification for any water-based event.

Paddling on Guam is rooted in the culture of the island and is a special activity for all. The island depends on ocean, so it makes sense that paddlers want to care for and protect the ocean. Natalie Frias-Calvo, race director, realized the importance of hosting Clean Regattas and took steps to register the race series with Sailors for the Sea. Instead of posting paper schedules for heats, lineups, and race results, race officials used whiteboards and hung them for everyone to see. Proper waste disposal was discussed, encouraged, and provided to help the paddlers leave the beach cleaner than they found it each day. Natalie asked me to speak at the event on Earth Day weekend about Sailors for the Sea, and what we as paddlers can do to protect their waters.

The paddlers raced in three divisions – Sottera (girls), Sotteru (boys), and Sottero (mixed) – over three different race lengths – 500, 1000, and 1500 meters. At the end of the series, teams were awarded beautiful plaques made from recycled wood donated by a Guam paddler and artist, Misako Sablan.

The canoes racing across the crystal-clear water framed by Two Lovers Point in the background painted the perfect picture to emphasize the importance of caring for and protecting our ocean. This is just the beginning for Clean Regattas on Guam. Congratulations to Race Director Natalie Frias-Calvo!