Big Island

Photographer / Paddler

On a bright New Year’s Eve in 1980, an ocean paddler by the name of Hayden Ramler was born on the Big Island of Hawaii. Raised in Puna, Ramler took an automatic liking to the ocean and, twenty-two years later, took his first strokes paddling on the Ala Wai Canal on the island of Oahu. A casual hobby became a deep passion when Ramler began to gain traction in numerous OC1 races, including some channel crossings and a select number of significant solos. With his new name recognition, Ramler’s paddling took him to waters that spanned throughout places such as California, New York, Tahiti, Australia, and New Zealand. 

Ramler describes paddling across the globe as a constant process, comparable to maintenance for the body and mind. In an interview with Western Aloha he says, “It is therapy when you need it to be and ambition when it is time -- and there is a time for that.” 

Although paddling has been a primary focus for years now, Ramler was actually involved with photography and filmmaking first. He started on Hilo, where he was even teaching the art of video production to the students of Waiakea High School. Paralleling his story with paddling, Ramler and his underwater camera started out casual, until he realized their bond was a more serious one.  Although entirely different skills, paddling and visual media have become a catalyst for human connection for Ramler. He believes that these relationships formed with people of new cultures have allowed space for growth in ways he could not have imagined.  He has found a way to beautifully blend his two interests in a way that has been incredibly rewarding.  His involvement in photography and media has also allowed him to not only help promote junior level paddling in Hawaii, but also watch these juniors grow and compete at the men’s international level.  

As we all scramble to find our place in the world, we can only hope for the love and conviction for life that Hayden Ramler so effortlessly embodies:  “When life slows down, there’s always the creative process or time on the water that I can turn to. They are both companions in life that I will always enjoy. Two separate relationships that often get blended together.”