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Sharing the sport they love

Letty Litchfield of Smartsville has teamed up with some fellow outrigger canoe competitors to help share the sport they love with disabled paddlers who share their passion.

Last week, “Team Don’t Look Back” competing in the 28-mile U.S. Championship Outrigger Canoe channel crossing from Newport Beach to Catalina Island. And the crew brought back the perpetual trophy for the Most Inspirational Team.

“Conditions were unusually rough in the channel this year,” Litchfield said. “Three of our paddlers battled motion sickness. With all of the problems we had along the way, it took our team six and a half hours to cross … it was a very long, but rewarding day.”



The newly formed team provides an opportunity for disabled and nondisabled paddlers to train and compete together. The team founders, Litchfield, Barry McKeown and Bruce Ahlbom are from Northern California.

In an effort to get more disabled veterans on the water, the founders of Team Don’t Look Back have been meeting with the VA Hospital in Palo Alto.




They have been invited to put on a series of educational clinics there, with the culmination of the clinics being introduction into an Outrigger canoe on the water. They will also be attending the annual National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Snowmass, Colo., where they will part of the educational staff and conduct presentations on Outrigger racing.

The team is looking into forming a non-profit organization through which they can seek sponsors.


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