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Everyday Athlete

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» Denise Darval-Chang, 49, Hawaii Kai

» Weekday workout: 2-mile run, 70-minute weight room.

» Weekend workout: Paddling OC-1 60-90 minutes offseason.

This is her way of giving back for all those times that her mother — and, later, her husband — picked her up after a one-way paddle. Her Ocean Playground Shuttle "is to provide a service, not to make a living off of it," longtime paddler Denise Darval-Chang said. "It was more of a dare. My friends on Maui started a shuttle and said, ‘You should do that.’ So I followed through."

One used van, liability insurance and several permits later, the already busy Darval-Chang opened her business late in October. The shuttle trailer can hold 16 to 18 one-man or two-man canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards.

The schedule is flexible, demand-based and weather-related. The most popular is a pickup at Kaimana Beach and drop-off at Maunalua Bay, but she has taken paddlers to and from Makai Pier and expects to include Magic Island on the schedule as the racing season begins.

"There are lots of options," Darval-Chang said. "It’s been fun. All of us are friends and there’s a lot of networking. Everyone has been so helpful and it really saves time and hassles."

The cost is $10 per trip or $100 for a 12-trip frequent user card. Reservations are required and need to be made at least 2 hours in advance by texting 741-6379 or e-mailing A tentative schedule is also posted for her "friends" on Facebook at Denise Oceanplayground.

Darval-Chang only drives the shuttle on weekends. Her weekdays are full as a health and P.E. resource teacher for the state, a kayak coach at Punahou School and a driver’s education teacher out of Kalani High School.

A four-sport athlete at Kaiser High, Darval-Chang started paddling as a 12-year-old for Hui Nalu. She has competed in every Na Wahine O Ke Kai (women’s Molokai Channel race) since the inaugural one in 1979 except for the two years she was attending Portland State.

Earlier this week, Darval-Chang was named head coach for Hui Nalu.

"It’s time to take a turn and give back to the paddling community I’ve been a part of for my whole life," she said.

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