Defying All Odds

Dane+Silva-Ewan+prepares+for+the+upcoming+regatta+at+Keehi+Lagoon+on+Jan.+29.+

Alika Gusman

Dane Silva-Ewan prepares for the upcoming regatta at Keehi Lagoon on Jan. 29.

By Alika Gusman, Kalani High School

On a warm day out on Maunalua Bay Dane Silva-Ewan focuses his mind and body. When he steps into the outrigger canoe, he’s ready for an exhausting yet mesmerizing practice with his fellow teammates.

As a student attending the Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind, Dane Silva-Ewan doesn’t get much time to spend on Kalani High School’s campus. But when he’s at practice, he’s as much of a Falcon as all of his Kalani teammates.

“I’m doing great, and time to take sprint together better so we can do better in the competition,” Dane Silva-Ewan said.

After his first race, Dane Silva-Ewan said that he was proud of himself and his performance. However, he does face some unique challenges.

At 15, Dane Silva-Ewan may seem like any other paddler on the team; however, he’s one of two paddlers who is completely deaf.

“That is what I have problem with, that communicating,” Dane Silva-Ewan said.

After his team finished last in the Junior Varsity boys division race on Jan. 15 at Keehi Lagoon, Dane Silva-Ewan said that he wanted to work on his power.

His sister and fellow paddler, Leilani Silva-Ewan, is also completely deaf. She is currently a freshman at the Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind and participated in volleyball at Kalani in the Fall.

“I like paddling on the same team as my brother,” Leilani Silva-Ewan said. “I’m proud of him as a teammate and sibling.”

Johnny Alapai (9) is a friend and paddling teammate who also played JV football with Silva-Ewan in the Fall.

“It’s pretty good to paddle with Dane since I knew him from football,” Alapai said. “He’s really trying his best to pull the team.”

The past week’s loss hasn’t stopped Dane Silva-Ewan, as he still has things he wants to improve on with his crew for the upcoming regatta.

“I want to be seat number six because I can [help my team] to move better with the seat number six,” he said.

This story was originally published on Ka Leo O Kalani on February 11, 2022.