Maui, HI (May 23, 2011) – Last weekend marked the conclusion to the 3rd annual OluKai Ho’olaule’a, a two-day festival celebrating ocean lifestyle through competition, tradition, giving back and ‘Ohana. Over the weekend hundreds of competitors, enthusiasts, locals and visitors from around the world gathered on the North Shore of Maui to enjoy the Ho’olaule’a festivities.
The Ho’olaule’a is a part elite paddling competition, part family festival and part giving back to the community. The two-day event tested strength and endurance in stand up paddle (SUP) and one-man outrigger canoe (OC1) races. Competitors raced the famous 8-mile Maliko downwind run to Kanaha Beach Park for a piece of the gender-equal prize purse totaling $15,000. Guests enjoyed traditional Hawaiian games hosted by Maui Cultural Lands, sailing canoe rides on the HSCA champion vessel Kamakakoa, Lae ‘Ula O Kai canoe club’s traditional luau, a Hula performance by Hula Halau Alapa’i I Maluuluolele and musical performances by Paula Fuga and Ekolu Kalama.
Over 400 paddlers participated in the event, with approximately 220 SUP competitors, 100 OC1 competitors, and 100 ‘Ohana Fun Paddle participants.
Sharon Baildoy opened both race days with a beautiful Pule – a traditional Hawaiian blessing. Soon after paddlers carried their watercrafts to the ocean’s edge and set out to the starting line. Both races began at noon, with the top competitors finishing incredibly fast under an hour and the last competitors finishing just under 2 hours.
Conditions were perfect with clear, sunny skies, 15 to 25 knot trade winds and some very long surf runs creating close competition and record times. The finale of both racecourses also made for a dramatic finish that engaged cheering friends, families and spectators. The SUP race finished with an exciting 200 yard beach run, while the OC1 race featured a 180 degree buoy turn with a 100 yard up-wind paddle to the finish.
Kai Bartlett took first place in the men’s elite SUP race with a record time of 00:49:02, and 2010’s title holder, Livio Menelau, took second with a time of 00:49:19. Jimmy Austin won the OC1 men’s elite race with a time of 00:47:37 and Andrea Moller defended her 2009 and 2010 OluKai Ho’olaule’a sweep by winning both the women’s SUP and OC1 elite races back-to-back.
Full race results are available at www.olukai.com/Hoolaulea/raceresults
This year OluKai expanded the Ho’olaule’a to include an ‘Ohana Fun Paddle, a non-competitive, non-timed 3-mile paddle open to everyone who wanted a taste of the experience at a more easy-going pace. Over 100 people turned up at Paia Youth and Cultural Center to participate, share smiles, new memories and enjoy an amazing ocean experience.
Through the event OluKai was able to present over $100,000 in donations to it’s ‘Ohana Giveback partners: Maui Cultural Lands, the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association’s, Team Bradley, Team Kamakakoa of the Hawaiian Sailing Canoe Association and hosts Lae ‘Ula O Kai canoe club.
Visit www.facebook.com/olukai for event photos.