By John Grossi
How They Met and First Date
Debi, who had grown up in Long Beach her entire life, was tired of the singles scene and looking for a new, fun, and healthier way to meet people. So she joined Kahakai Outrigger Club at the luring of one of her classmates in the Education Master’s program at CSULB. “I had never competed in a sport before…. But I tried it and it was really fun. Paddling is co-ed and it’s full of athletic, outgoing people. I got hooked the minute I tried it. It’s a great way to meet local people,” says Debi. During the summer, the Kahakai Outrigger Team races against other teams up and down the coast of California. In 2003, when it was Long Beach’s turn to host the race, Debi struck up a conversation with one of the Imua Outrigger team members from Newport Beach, Joe Bober. The two talked all night as the teams went for post race drinks at Acapulco Inn on 2nd Street and walked together to get some late night tacos at Taco Surf in Belmont Shore.
The Rest is History...
The two got to know each other more and more that summer as their teams attended the same Southern California Outrigger Racing Association (www.scora.org ) events each weekend. She was soon immersed in the ohana culture of the canoe club, racing almost every weekend all summer. Debi later moved into an apartment on the Long Beach Peninsula. When the apartment next door that shared a patio became available, she convinced Joe to move in. The two shared the beach-front apartments and eventually got married on the Peninsula beach right in front of 67th Place. They had a 250-person wedding on the sand with a DJ, a dance floor, tiki lights and a Hawaiian barbeque. A 40-foot-long canoe stood in the sand filled with ice and cold drinks. Instead of “walking down the aisle,” Debi was “paddled in to shore” by the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Having raised two children in Long Beach, both are still active in the Kahakai Outrigger Canoe Club where Debi is on the women’s team and Joe is head men’s coach. Think you might want to join? Visit www.kahakaioutrigger.com for a free trial!
Date Ideas from Debi and Joe
• Picnic at Hilltop Park in Signal Hill to watch the sunset.
• Book a gondola ride at Naples Gondola Getaway.
• Try salsa lessons together at Premier Dance Arts (www.pdalosalamitos.com/).