Team Since Ever Since ~ Kai Wa'a Valentine’s Edition
Meet Jason and Drea Park, team #sinceeversince, from the beautiful Washington State. These two are truly unique individuals with an exceptional understanding of each other that creates a cohesive and fine-tuned team. With an interesting start to their union and paddling careers, we are so glad that Jason and Drea have found each other and hope they inspire you as much as they do us.
The Parks are actively a part of their Pacific Northwest (PNW) community through paddling and serving the people in many different capacities. Drea brings light and laughter to her family and community through paddling, dancing, and loving on her plants. Jason brings leadership, strength, and support to his marriage, community, and the sailors he managed. Jason has spent the past 30 years in the United States Navy serving the country through numerous deployments, which may have been the double-edged sword in their romantic story. We’ve enjoyed time with Jason and Drea at different paddling events and are stoked to share their love for each other and paddling with you all. We also want to thank Jason for his service as he retired earlier this year. More time for paddling:)
The couple celebrating Jason’s retirement from the U.S. Navy after 30 years of service. Thank you!
The Meet Cute
One weekend night in August 2002, Drea, an island girl from Guam, went out for cheap beers with a friend to the Tower of London pub where Jason, a U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander, first laid eyes on the woman of his dreams. Drea doesn’t remember Jason being there that night, but Jason will never forget the Guamanian beauty who gave him the cold-shoulder.
Luckily, the two ran into each other again that week and Jason got a second shot. Drea began to see what made Jason special and over the next couple of weeks, Jason slowly won her affection. Unfortunately, after his temporary assignment in Guam came to a close, Jason headed back to his station in Japan. The two would lose touch for the next 5 years.
In 2007, the star-crossed lovers would find their way back to each other, but this time it was Drea’s strength and passion that reunited them, through Yahoo Messenger! She signed on and was surprised to see an IM screen name she had not seen in years, Jason. By 2008, they were engaged and were married soon after! But if you think their love story was easy…think again.
Jason, being a devoted member of the United States Navy, was deployed many times during their courtship, dating, and marriage. They even lived in different countries for the first six months of their marriage. But being strong of mind and soul, they glided through all the bumps, good and bad.Team Since Ever Since is like the mythology of the Gemini constellation, when sailors see these two stars together, they know their journey will be prosperous. It took the Parks determination, will, and time to come together but now that they are, they are a Gemini force!
Their love story is similar to the longest downwind run you have ever done. Together, they had sections that were challenging. They had to commit, work hard, and put in the time. At times, , each of them had to paddle the “love boat” alone, which they did with confidence. They had faith in each other and believed their union was strong and good enough to make it. When the time was right, the two were back in-line together, and just when you think it’s no fun, life rewards you with a section that makes sense and is running. These two know how to relish in the good times and celebrate. Together, they relax, lean back, and smile.
Drea, being from Guam, grew up in an outrigger canoe and she loved it. However, life happens, and Drea found herself “dry docked” for a number of years. She chose family knowing she could always come back to her other love, paddling. During that time, she focused on raising her beautiful, kind, and head-strong daughters. They are her life. Once the girls were “grown” and Drea and Jason began their lives together in Jacksonville, Florida she decided to give dragon boating a try. She loved the water and thrived in it. It had always been her heart, her home. She asked Jason to join her for moral support, which he did. He didn’t like it, but when she asked, he went without question.
As their lives continued to develop, they finally found themselves in Washington state where Drea introduced Jason to his first outrigger paddling experience. He was hooked, of course, and the rest is history! These two are beacons flashing brightly in the west. Paddlers from their PNW ʻohana shared that Jason and Drea never turn down the opportunity to share the logistics and love for the sport.
“They are the most caring, loving, respectful, and thoughtful friends within the outrigger community.” -Elizabeth from PNW
It is clear, they truly are working toward perpetuating the paddling culture in the Pacific Northwest. Jason and Drea Park are two of the most humble paddlers you will meet.
The Gemini ~ AKA the Love Boat
Today being Valentine’s day, we wanted to highlight this special couple and share their love story on and off the water. Reflecting on Jason and Drea’s adventure in finding love, their success on the Gemini makes sense. The Gemini allows them to get on the water and also spend time with each other; it really is their love boat. Jason and Drea have competed in multiple races together on the Gemini including the last Maui to Molokai race in 2019 where they trained and completed the 26 miles together. Jason loves following Drea’s stroke and feels she is a strong stroker with a good pace. They communicate well, both understanding and respecting each other’s strengths which makes a solid team. They say it is not always easy work. Sometimes there are communication mishaps, or they see the water moving differently. But just as any long run, if you have a strong base you can work through whatever the ocean presents you. These two understand that, and they understand each other. The Gemini was certainly made for these two. They can do what they love with the one they love.
Thank you Jason and Drea for sharing your story and thank you for all you do for the paddling community. Enjoy your day with all that snow.