Whether it’s in the ocean or on the court, Hi’ilei Robinson strives for excellence


Courtesy of Hi'ilei Robinson

Seabury Hall senior Hi’ilei Robinson pursues her passion for paddling and sailing by working with a club on Oahu.

Anabela Cagen, Staff Writer

Although her dad encouraged her to start paddling as a way to get fit, Seabury Hall senior Hi’ilei Robinson has grown passionate for paddling and sailing. “I love paddling and sailing because you always see something new. Even the simplest things are beautiful,” Robinson shared.

Robinson started paddling at the age of 11, and her love for paddling has grown ever since. Growing up on Maui, Robinson has been surrounded by the ocean throughout her life, so it is understandable that she has developed a passion for an ocean-based sport.

This past year, Robinson joined Kānehūnāmoku Voyaging Academy on Oahu because it provided her with the opportunity to learn more about paddling and sailing. “We would start off with chants and then we’d do a hula if we had to,” said Robinson. She also mentioned that they learned how to tie knots for the sails and how to steer the sailing boats.

Once a month, Robinson flies to Oahu and spends the weekend honing her craft and learning about paddling and sailing.

This past summer, Robinson’s coaches taught her to navigate her vessel by using the stars instead of looking down at a compass. “I never really got it until the last night, and I was so proud of myself. It was really cool, I was like, ‘I’m doing it!’” Robinson admitted while laughing.

Not only does Robinson participate in paddling and sailing, she also plays on the Seabury Hall girls varsity volleyball team. “I love [volleyball]. I love the team because everyone is so nice to you, and they’re just so supportive and they make everything fun!” she said.

Seabury Hall girls varsity volleyball coach, Scottie Zucco, is impressed with Robinson: “It’s not just her skills, it’s her ability to take a sport that’s obviously not her first and really put her all into it. I mean, she cares about starting, she cares about playing, she cares about her teammates.”

Robinson gives her all and thoroughly enjoys herself in paddling, sailing, and volleyball. “I know paddling is her number one,” Zucco mentioned, “but she comes out, gives her best, and it rubs off on other people.”

Not only does Robinson immerse herself in her sports, but “she also has this goofy, quirky side to her that’s fun. That’s really important on a team,” Zucco remarked.

No matter what the sport, Robinson is the ideal teammate because of her fun and loving attitude. Normally, when Robinson walks up to you she will have a big smile on her face. “She does not have a bad bone in her body,” Zucco emphasized.

Paddling and sailing are more than merely hobbies for Robinson, who wishes to pursue her beloved water-sports in the future. “I hope I get to travel the world with it, mostly for fun, but if it got to be a job, then that would be really cool,” Robinson admitted.