One plate at a time, Waianae paddlers aim high

Coach Delveen Angeles-Eli, center, has boundless energy, love and culinary skills, all of which make the lives of her paddlers at Waianae High School that much more interesting.
Coach Delveen Angeles-Eli, center, has boundless energy, love and culinary skills, all of which make the lives of her paddlers at Waianae High School that much more interesting.
The concession stand was sold out by halftime, including Coach Angeles-Eli's shoyu chicken.
The concession stand was sold out by halftime, including Coach Angeles-Eli’s shoyu chicken.
The spicy ahi bowl was a popular item at the Seariders' home playoff game against Aiea.
The spicy ahi bowl was a popular item at the Seariders’ home playoff game against Aiea.

She put out the product without any advertising, fanfare or glory.

It started at 1 o’clock on a Friday morning, the enormous pot, big as a double tire on a rig. 

“That’s one of our smaller pots,” said the lady in a red T-shirt and navy blue Waianae paddling hat. 


Delveen Angeles-Eli’s work ethic is no surprise to the student-athletes at Waianae High School. The head paddling coach doesn’t just steer her paddlers toward success, though. He helps them understand that they need each other and they need the support of the community. Friday’s fundraiser at the concession stand during Waianae’s football playoff game against Aiea was a once-a-year opportunity to raise money. And hope. 

“We’ve got to keep fundraising. We’re going to Maui this year,” she said of the state paddling championships. 

Qualifying for the state championships is not a given, but Angeles-Eli is optimistic by nature. 
“The hope and plan is for all three crews — we have varsity girls, varsity boys and varsity mixed — if all three make it, we’re all going to go,” she said as the football teams warmed up. 

The chicken. 30 to 40 pounds of it, had already thawed out. The ingredients for success, never to be uttered, no matter how much a persistent customer asked. 

“I cannot say. Sorry,” said Angeles-Eli. 

Her paddlers won’t divulge, if they have a clue about the secret ingredients. Eventually, they might be coaches who need good a recipe for fundraising. One day. 

“She makes bentos, too,” junior paddler Abcde Sator said. “Her mom made a peach cake for us. That was really good.”


“The food is good,” freshman paddler Bronson Gonzales said. “The team is good, too. We’ve been winning.” 

No matter what, there’s a reason why normally reserved and homebody-type folks are willing to go all out in the kitchen for high schoolers. And no, they won’t share their recipes. 

“I cannot say. Sorry,” said Angeles-Eli. 

Despite a sparse crowd at the football game, her ahi poke bowls and shoyu chicken plates sold out by halftime. Mission accomplished. 

“Sometimes, we buy the food through donations for the kids, or sometimes it comes out of pocket,” Angeles-Eli said. “We do it because we love our kids.” 

Sator, the paddler, was one of the friendly, energetic servers at the concession stand. 


“It’s good fun and we have a lot of memories,” she said. “And we fundraise.” 

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