Our mission is to strengthen evidence for culturally-relevant ocean activities in Hawaii. We strive to achieve our mission through community and academic partnerships.  Our first project is the “METs (Metabolic Equivalent of Task) for outrigger canoe paddling for health equity” study.

Why this maybe of interest to you?

While many sports and activities have established metabolic equivalents of task, in short: METs (e.g. walking, running, lifting), outrigger canoe paddling has yet to be measured for energy expenditure. You may understand that when you engage in paddling one has energy expenditure but establishing the corresponding metabolic equivalent helps build the sport in the world of fitness and exercise. Data can demonstrate paddling benefits in our communities that the community sees everyday in a scientific way, and for the first time build sporting within a population that is not always included in the world of sporting (people with disabilities). 

Therefore the “METs for outrigger canoe paddling for health equity” project was born. 

It includes establishing the metabolic equivalents (METs) to measure energy expenditure for (recreational and competitive) 

  • outrigger canoe paddlers, and 
  • paddlers with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI). 

This is an innovative design, and we would like Hawaii to steer this work.

What is the scope of this project?

We learned about a research gap that will help bring outrigger canoe paddling equally in comparison with other sports. We would like to establish a unit of energy expenditure for outrigger canoe paddling for people with/out disabilities. By establishing the metabolic equivalents (METs) for outrigger paddling, a culturally-relevant activity in Hawaii, this project lays an important foundation for expanding scientific knowledge of effectiveness of paddling for health – paddlers are aware of. METs data for paddling allows for comparison of padding with other exercises. This work will provide evidence-based padding benefits in our communities, it is modeled after the work that has been done for Hula.

Who and what agencies are involved in this project?

This is a project is with the University of Hawaii, Office of Public Health Studies and the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH), Chronic Disease and Health Promotion Division.

What is the history of this project?

In 2016 AccesSurf and Simone, a PhD student in public health at the time, had a brainstorming session on community needs. The lack of knowledge of energy expenditure for paddling was identified. At the time other needs took priority and with limited resources put this item on our list for future projects. Dr. Sentell, Simone’s UH supervisor, met Dan Heil, METs Expert in Europe in 2022. After additional discussion, Simone prepared the Ola Hawaii application for this project.

Canoe Positions

Study Team

Simone Schmid

Simone Schmid

(Principal Investigator), a postdoctoral researcher at University of Hawaii and the Department of Health, and responsible for accessing grant funds for the project. She is an open women’s paddler, six-times Na Wahine O Ke Kai participant (paddled also with OCUK and Malmö, Sweden). She has been the United Nation’s Dragonboat coach in 2013 in Copenhagen. She has been involved as a volunteer, participant-mom, staff, lead grant writer and evaluator at AccesSurf since 2011- for the purpose of this project she acts in her post-doc role.

Ann Yoshida

Ann Yoshida

(Co-Investigator), doctor of occupational therapy, Inductee of the Hawaii waterman of Fame (2018), first Hawaiian Paralympian in Paracanoe/kayak, world champion adaptive surfer and paddler, is AccesSurf Hawaii’s Director for Innovation and Training, and developer of the classification system for adaptive surfing programming is dedicated to this project.

Lance Ching

Lance Ching

(Co-Principal Investigator)

Daniel Heil (Expert)

Daniel Heil


Tetine Sentell (Supervisor)



Simone Schmid:

I had never intended to do this research. All my career was built around physical activity and health -not knowing it would lead here. I fell in love with the sport of paddling in 2010. I am thankful for all my coaches and paddling communities for what they taught me. I am happy that the community trusts me to do this research. Mahalo nui

Community Advisory Hui

Our team of researchers, scientific advisory committee and respective agencies would like to ensure that the community of paddlers have an opportunity to be part of the respective committee, teams and agencies to lead and manage this project to a successful and goal driven outcomes to build the sport of outrigger canoeing. We included four respected paddlers in the community to advise and share concerns of the community.

Chauncey Codey

Chauncey Codey

Native Hawaiian Paddler 

Kai Koo Team Rider

Donna Kahiwaokawailani Kahakui

Donna Kahiwaokawailani Kahakui

Native Hawaiian Paddler 

Inductee in the Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame

Todd Iwasaki

Todd Iwasaki

Living with Spinal Cord Injury (T-10 incomplete) Got hurt while surfing. Been paddling for 12 years

Activities I do: Paddling,marathon,fishing,archery.

Pure Light Racing Team Member

Rich Julian

Rich Julian

always loved surfing and the ocean, was paralyzed in a car accident when he was 14.

Co-Founder of AccesSurf in 2006.

Community Liaison

Penny Kalua

Penny Kalua

Scientific Advisory Team 

In addition to a community advisory hui, we have assembled a scientific advisory committee from the Department of Native Hawaiian Health at the University of Hawaii Medical School. Their initial research in establishing METs for Hula to measure the benefits of hula in addressing chronic disease has helped in designing this research project and will bring this project increased expertise in similar topics.


Who can participate and what does participation look like? 

Overall we are looking for paddlers with and without SCI (adaptive paddlers), aged 18 years and older who can comfortably 45 minutes or longer (at different intensities), feel comfortable to wear a VO2 max and are available Saturday, November 18th, 2023 (female) and Sunday, November 19th, 2023 (male). 

Recreational and athletic paddlers without SCI rare defined as: Recreational and athletic paddlers with SCI are defined as:
  • Recreational paddler: Have paddled at least twice a month within the last 12 months, BUT not enough to qualify as an athletic paddler (see below).
  • Athletic paddler: Do qualify as an open paddler (men or female; not novice under a paddling association) AND have paddled 1-3x per week within the last 6 months AND competed in 2023 (e.g. in regatta and/or longs distance races)
  • Adaptive recreational paddler: Have you paddled at least twice a month with in the last 12 months
  • Adaptive athletic paddler: Are part of the Pure light team AND/OR have practiced for AND participated in an adaptive/ inclusive paddling competition within the last 12 months.
  • Step 1: Interested paddlers please fill in form 
    • All paddlers will wear heart rate monitors
    • 2-4 paddlers will wear the VO2 mask (to measure METs); not all paddlers will wear the VO2 masks
    • Priority will be given to Native Hawaiian Paddlers
    • We need one steerswomen/ men for each day to steer all “testing runs” 

    After you complete and submit this form you will get an email with whether you are eligible or not. 

    Step 2: Registration process: Forms and waiver 

    If eligible you will be asked to complete the following BEFORE being able to register for the study/event

    1. American College of Sports Medicine/ American Heart Association Form 
    2. AccesSurf Hawaii Volunteer or Participant form and waiver 
    3. Informed consent
    4. Additional questions 
    5. Register for event 
      1. People with SCI can meet at Rehab of the Pacific with A. Yohsida to do accessible weight (the week prior to event) and function test 

        Step 3: Come to the event 

    1. Event check-in
    2. Weight/ height at weight tent (This is needed to calibrate VO2Master to your body)
    3. Paddling for 45 minutes 

Event: what is expected and details

AccessMETs Save the Date

Potential event schedule * subject to change

Female paddler (Saturday), male paddler (Sunday)

  • 7:30 set up (for volunteers)
  • 8:00 arrival (for paddling volunteers)/ weigh ins 
  • 8:30 welcome circle
  • 9-10:30 first session (paddler with SCI) 
    •        heat 1: recreational ~ 45min 
    •        heat 2: competitive ~ 45min
  • 10:30-12:00 second session (paddlers without SCI)
    •        heat 3: recreational ~ 45min 
    •        heat 4: recreational ~ 45min
  • 12:00-1:30 third session (paddlers without SCI)
    •         heat 5: athletic ~ 45min 
    •         heat 6: athletic ~ 45min
  • about 45 min paddling at different intensity 
  • 1:30-2:00 buffer
  • 2:00 lunch, makana, closing  
  • 3:00 tear down

What’s in it for you?

We are hoping to make this a pleasant community experience, and that the research results will help the paddling community in general. We are happy to share your own individual data with you. Additionally you will get a community Makana as a thank you for your participation.

IRB and Funding:

  • The IRB Board at University of Hawaii at Manoa: the Office of Research Compliance’s Human Studies Program approve this study (UH IRB  # 2023-00180) 
  • This research is mainly funded by Ola HAWAII, a federally funded Research Center in Minority Institutions (RCMI) NIH/NIMHD U54MD007601

Interested in supporting this purpose? *note “For METs”in the open text

Hawaii State Department of Health
University of Hawaii at Manoa Thompson School Social Work and Public Health
Ola Hawaii RCMI


Selected References as background

Selected References for METs

Selected METs Literature for Hula 

News UH. Improving public health with hula is a focus of UH research | University of Hawaiʻi System News [Internet]. [cited 2023 Sep 22]. Available from:

News UH. Hula study finds drop in blood pressure in Native Hawaiians| University of Hawaiʻi System News [Internet]. [cited 2023 Sep 22]. Available from:,intervention%20were%20able%20to%20accomplish.

Usagawa T, Look M, de Silva M, Stickley C, Kaholokula J, Seto T, et al. Metabolic Equivalent Determination in the Cultural Dance of Hula. Int J Sports Med. 2013 Nov 7;35(05):399–402. 

Kaholokula JK, Look M, Mabellos T, Ahn HJ, Choi SY, Sinclair KA, et al. A Cultural Dance Program Improves Hypertension Control and Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Native Hawaiians: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Ann Behav Med Publ Soc Behav Med. 2021 Oct 4;55(10):1006–18. 

Look MA, Kaholokula JK, Carvahlo A, Seto TB, de Silva M. Developing a Culturally Based Cardiac Rehabilitation Program: The HELA Study. Prog Community Health Partnersh Res Educ Action. 2012;6(1):103–10.