Ohana Hawaii Trip 2021

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This year, High Fives Foundation congregated for our annual surf trip in Maui, Hawaii. Many Athletes were able to bring family and loved ones along to spend time as an Ohana and ride some waves together. We were treated to amazing weather and even better waves from the back door of our Airbnb’s. Twelve Athletes of varying levels of surf ability were in attendance. Among them, 16 family members and friends were there to support the shred and provide stoke, hugs, —and of course— bottomless High Fives.

I wanted to put some effort into writing this blog a little bit different than past blogs. I’d like to tell the story of this trip, not from the perspective of the Athletes themselves, but from the experience of those who were with our Athletes through a life-changing injury. Due to their tireless dedication and support, which is oftentimes out of focus, it was important that they got to witness their family member thrive and catch waves in beautiful Hawaii.

Lacey, Hudson, and Nova Dueck

What has High Fives Meant to your family?

High Fives is so much more to us than a foundation – It’s become our family, and it fills our heart and soul being on these trips. 

The mentoring model that High Fives provides in these camp settings is absolutely transformational. The opportunity to be vulnerable and face fears, from a space where people can sit or stand side by side one another while feeling loved. That’s something we all deserve in life- The opportunity to love and be loved and be part of a community. 

What was the highlight of your trip?

Watching all the High Fives athletes break down barriers of what’s possible in the sport of adaptive surf.

Watching my kiddos engage with the whole high fives community, and feeling the buzz that it ignited in all of us. These camps rock my world every time. I always leave with my cup bursting. 

If you had to describe the trip in one word what would that word be? Hudson? Nova?

Lacey- Soulful 

Hudson- Awesome

Nova- LOVE

Anything else you would like to add?

I am forever grateful for the opportunity to be a part of these camps. They have transformed our family. My kids are so unbelievably lucky to have such mentors in their lives, we thank you with all of our hearts, we love each of you to the moon and back. 

Listen, be kind, and have fun. 

Josh Dueck

Karren Stubs, Massage Therapist at the CRJ Healing Center

Keenan Shredding!

How did it feel getting to see the Athlete you have put so much care and time into out on the water shredding waves?

It was incredible to see the athletes that I have worked  with out in the ocean just ripping.  The smiles were endless from every person there.

What was your highlight of the trip? 

Pushing Keenan into a bomb and having him paddle back out and high five me!!!

If you had to describe the camp in one word, which would it be? 


You have taught the Athletes so much. Did the Athletes teach you anything? 

To smile and enjoy every day!  

Anything else you would like to add? 

I feel so blessed to have been invited and included on this trip with the High Fives Foundation.  I will never forget it!


Kyle Rajaniemi, Matt Leonard’s Brother in Law

How did it feel to be in Hawaii and getting to surf  with Matt while catching waves with other High Five Athletes: 

The simple answer is… awesome. Surfing is by far my favorite sport so to be able to help, not only Matt but a bunch of other athletes enjoy the water as much as I do was awesome. There’s no better feeling than watching your friends be stoked riding a wave. We had an entire week of watching new and old friends share so much stoke for one another. Mahalo!

What was the highlight of your trip?

As I look back on the week we had, what makes me smile the most is when an athlete would get a wave, get totally thrashed, washed off a board into the reef and then pop back up and say “let’s go again.” There wasn’t one person who didn’t have bruises, or didn’t get urchin’d at some point during the week and never did anyone say “nah, I’m good I think I’ll sit this one out.” The total stoke, drive to do something new or get better was super fun to be a part of. That, and the massive hoot’s and hollers that you could hear coming from the beach.

If you had to describe the trip in one word what would that word be? 


Anything else you would like to add? 

The first evening of the trip Roy set the theme for the week — Ohana — nowhere was that more apparent to me than this story.
Towards the end of the week, one night over dinner, the entire camp was sharing a highlight of the week. One of the athletes,  Abro, had his son there. At the beginning of the trip, his son had never surfed or sit-surfed before. By the end of the week he was ripping on anything that floated. Standing up on boards, sit-surfing and carving turns. He was in the water before sun-up and out after it was dark. Abro said at this dinner, “One of the things I am most thankful for is to have a group of people who not only help us athletes in and out of the water, but who can help teach my son skills in ways I no longer can.” Abro’s stoke and sincere gratitude in this small act that we would have normally thought as of routine, was such a powerful realization for me that the impact of that week went far beyond wave riding.

Matt being pushed in by Kyle
Kyle doing what he does!

John Ashafari- Watermen, Mentor, First time on a High Fives trip.

John squeezing the most of the day
All smiles
All smiles

With this being your first camp, how did it compare to how you expected? 

Well, not knowing what to really expect, I didn’t understand completely what a large group of athletes and families were attending this year. I quite enjoyed the fact the serval athletes had their entire family attending. That was really beautiful to me.

What was your highlight of the trip?

My Highlights were definitely the board gifts that happened with serval of the new surfers attending. I know what that feels like on BOTH ends getting and giving surfboards. It’s truly life changing & I totally appreciated how Roy and Hi5’s team would have a “wave of the day” vote as a group at the end of the days… which typically was a cool Segway into the “board gift ceremony”…. That part was so fun, and I’ll never forget Hamilton’s shock and awe when he realized Roy’s personal board was now HIS!!

If you had to describe the camp in one word, which would it be?

Camp in 2 words: LIFE CHANGING.
Not just for the athletes, but the safety crew too! I can speak for myself and the other water support people, being in service is the highest calling as a human in my opinion, the ULTIMATE BLESSING if you will. We got to support and coach new adaptive athletes taking on a new challenge, that is about as rewarding as anything I’ve experienced. Surfing is an incredibly dynamic sport that will a vehicle for happiness, growth and epic ocean adventures for the rest of their lives. I’ve been a student of surfing for my entire life, and at this point in my practice surfing I’m compelled to share the love and STOKE I have for the ocean and wave riding with any and all who seek it out. It’s been the greatest accomplishment and the ultimate learning tool for self improvement & humility that I’ve experienced. I know that sharing that passion keeps it “all flowing” for me, I hope to link up with serval of the new surfers in SoCal down the road & see how their surfing has evolved and maybe pass on some more ocean and wave riding ideas & tips. “Surfing 2.0” coming soon I hope !

You taught the Athletes so much about life, surfing and so much else. Did the Athletes teach you anything?

For me, anytime I am thrust into roles or a position that I focus 100% on others and not myself, it’s a priceless gift. I love being in service to my fellow humans on the planet, in any form. It teaches & RE-teaches me about love, humility & gratitude. As a life long committed athlete, I really appreciate the world of Adaptive Athletics. The tireless dedication and true grit exhibited by these friends lights me up emotionally. I’ve been shown “the next level” by these incredible individuals time and time again & that truly inspires me to keep on myself in many ways.
After the Maui trip I’ve personally committed to increasing my body strength in order to physically transfer & transport better. I recognize that I could be more supportive/helpful carrying friends to the waters edge and I’ve set to task in the gym. I’m stoked on this for motivation, as it’s not for me, but for the aide of another. I feel zero selfishness or narcissistic factor in this, just wanna be more helpful. I like that.

High Fives would like to extend the biggest embrace, from the bottom of our hearts, to all family members and friends who were present at any stage of a fellow injury. You have kicked us into gear and lend a helping hand so that we can continue to experience waves, berms, and powder days again.

Your selfless and tireless effort changes lives.

To all the watermen who have moved a board, piggy backed an Athlete, or pushed someone into a wave, Cheers! None of this could happen without you and your hard work. It does not go unnoticed.

For a full Photo Recap  click here .

If you enjoy what High Fives does and would like to help us support more Athletes on trips like this one please consider donating.
Hands up!