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Blurb on how I became an Eaton Rider

by Kanesa Duncan


Hennessey - Australia 2002

Mike and Mike (aka Eaton and Harnish) have asked me a number of times to write a biography for the Eaton website, and each time I have said yes… but each time I have neglected to write one. The reality is that it is hard to sit down and write something about yourself, so I decided instead to give them an updated and somewhat altered athletic resume that they could post for readers looking to learn more about the Eaton Team Riders (you can see my athletic resume by clicking HERE). However, the resume doesn’t really tell who I am or how I came to be an Eaton Team Rider, so I thought I should write it out:

Hennessey - Hawaii 2004 Awards

Hennessey - Hawaii 2004 - at finish

I paddleboarded for fun during my college years when I lifeguarded at Avila Beach, CA. As anyone who spent time on the Central Coast lifeguard scence will attest to, this was always a casual endeavor, with races few and far between (1 in a 6 year span). I had heard stories about The Guys who paddled the Catalina Channel (thanks primarily to Kaz, who has paddled the channel almost every year the race has been held), but I had never been on a competition board. When I moved to Hawaii in 1999 (to pursue my Ph.D. in Zoology at UH and the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology) I read about the Quiksilver Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard Race. No women had competed solo. That shocked me and peaked my interest in the sport and in crossing the Molokai Channel. But, paddleboards are expensive and graduate students are poor so I started canoe paddling instead; it was the cheapest and most accessible route across the channel. By the end of 2000 I bought a board, entered my first race, and started training for the 2001 paddleboard channel race. The race organizer Mike Takahashi (another great Mike) and the Hawaii paddlers gave me pointers, which mostly means they let me chase after them on paddling runs.  

Molokai 2003

Molokai 2004 - approaching finish

But how did I meet the Mikes? The answer is partly due to the fabulous Eaton website (at the time it was the only paddleboard website). I was coming to California. I wanted to do a race. I emailed the shop about renting a board. No boards were for rent, but of course I could borrow one. And, did I want to paddle the Catalina Channel tandem on the Eaton Paddleship? It had never been done before. Sure. So, I spent the weekend on Catalina with Mike and Mike. The rest is history. I came to California to race twice in the next year, once to do the Bay to Bay race and once to do the Catalina Channel. Each time I was given fabulous boards to ride, and treated to time with Eaton- who has some amazing stories to tell (just ask Kevin Eslinger about the time when…). 

Molokai 2004 - at finish

Ocean Challenge 2004

So there I was, 2002. Two Molokai crossings. Two Catalina crossings (one tandem, one solo). Paul Hennessey was gearing up for the 1st annual International Race in Australia and organizing a team. The Mikes put in a good word for me and I was asked to join the team. Would I like to ride an Eaton Board? Would I like to take it back home to Hawaii and see how it surfs in the water here? You bet!


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