May 19 2010

Kia Kaha Canoes & Paddles Affected By Warehouse Fire on Kauai

Published by at 9:58 am under Hawaii,People

Kia Kaha Paddle

Custom Crafted Kia Kaha Paddle

Last week there was some sad news when friends of mine were hit by that large warehouse fire. Kia Kaha Canoes and Paddles was one of the three businesses completely wiped-out in the blaze that destroyed a 13,000-square-foot warehouse in Puhi, Kauai. Kia Kaha’s production and design workshop was located in the warehouse. Kauai County officials estimated the damage to the building and the businesses to be in the millions. Ron Mizutani of KHON Fox2 television did a follow up story profiling all the businesses.

Photo: Kauai Fire Department Prevention Bureau

Photo: Kauai Fire Department Prevention Bureau

Kia Kaha owner, Maui Kjeldsen unfortunately lost two canoe molds and all his custom Kia Kaha paddle molds in the fire along with his production materials for future orders and twenty completed paddles that were about to be shipped. Kjeldsen hopes to secure a new location for his warehouse and have Kia Kaha’s capacity to accept new paddle orders secured as soon as possible. The Kjeldsens were also featured in a Garden Island Newspaper story by Paul Curtis further discussing the fire details.

Paddling in Hanalei

Paddling in Hanalei

Kjeldsen apologizes to all his customers that have been patiently waiting for their paddles. “Obviously these are circumstances beyond our control. I will work hard to get the paddles back into production hopefully before the end of the paddling season.” He is asking customers to please visit his website for the latest status on the paddle production.

The only bright spot is that Kjeldsen had just returned from a trip to his OC-1 canoe manufacturer in China. He had delivered his Wainui and new Hiko OC-1 canoe molds for production so they were not destroyed in the fire. Therefore the production of both the Wainui and the Hiko OC-1 canoes will not be interrupted and Kia Kaha is currently accepting orders. To place an order or for more information, please email

Kjeldsen Family

Kjeldsen Family

On a personal note, Kjeldsen who is a Kauai fireman and expecting his second baby with his wife Jody wanted to express his sincere gratitude and appreciation to his customers, all the firefighters who tackled the blaze and to his family, friends and the community for all their support. “I was two weeks away from taking some time off with the new baby’s arrival and was working hard to complete my outstanding paddle orders. This fire has changed everything. The important thing is that no one was hurt”.

I think I speak for everyone, as we wish Maui and Jody all the best during this time of trial. The community support they are experiencing is a true testament to their stellar reputations and integrity. To read the latest update on the Kjeldsens check out Ron Mizutani’s “Currents” column in this week’s Midweek.


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