THE 5TH ANNUAL OLUKAI HO’OLAULE’A
“FUN PADDLE DIVISION”
May 11, 2013 Maui, Hawaii
My mind is full of images of bright smiles and of steely strength of those who bravely earned their badges of courage this past Saturday, during the first event of the weekend long ocean celebration, the 5th Annual OluKai Ho’olaule’a. This entire event is truly a global event with competitors from over 10 countries, and 44 attendees from 15 mainland states. (FULL IMAGE GALLERY BELOW)
The Fun Paddle Division is our special group of water sports enthusiasts of all ages, who come with extreme enthusiasm to paddle in or on any watercraft that is humanly powered. There were loads of stand up paddleboards, a few kayaks, outrigger canoes and the incredible OluKai
sailing canoe. For many it was their first “downwind” experience and for others this was the starting ground to start their training for the infamous 8 mile Maliko open ocean course for the following year.
The Paia Youth & Cultural Center has been our gathering place for three years since this division began. They graciously host and welcome our eager paddlers from our local community and visitors from afar. The course is 3 miles and begins in Paia Bay and ends at the Kanaha Beach Park lifeguard tower.
One could see that something very special was about to begin, as the OluKai flags were flying high, and those helping under the OluKai tents were busy greeting and checking in the paddlers. This year the paddlers received official yellow OluKai jerseys that made everyone look like real racers! They were stoked.
Maui’s beauty shows in many ways, but this weekend was met with imperfect beauty as a two day rain storm and big swells, swayed and rolled the coastline with light winds that offered more challenging conditions than normal for many of our new water warriors.
Water safety was key as it always is for this event as our safety jet skis were throttling in position and our volunteer lifeguards and elite waterman were getting ready to assist the participants on the beach and into the water.
As everyone was asked to gather in the courtyard our special musical guest Mishka sang and played acoustic guitar. This was just a sample of the fabulous line up of musical talent that awaited everyone at the big backyard style BBQ that afternoon. Performers included Hawaii’s top contemporary musicians: Anuhea, Paula Fuga, Kimie Minor, Mishka, Justin Young, and Ekolu Kalama.
Next up, Matthew Murasko, OluKai’s Hawaii Ambassador reviewed the course map and highlighted the safety points and measures to keep everyone safe.
Then my favorite part of the morning was my pre paddle warm up! It’s my job and pleasure to build everyone’s confidence, pump them up and make them feel empowered and strong from the beginning to finish! I gave out lots of hugs and held hands with a few in the courtyard and at the beach to reassure them and answer any last minute questions. I shared a few paddling tips on how to manage the big surf and swell. I also had a few fun moves up my sleeve to lessen the nervous jitters and to get everyone’s blood pumping and make them laugh.
With Madelyn as my lovely assistant, the kids lined the front row ready to show their moves and make some noise. I’m not sure what people thought was coming, as we started with a few light active stretches. Then I poured on the heat and expectations.
I promised everyone would be required to drop down and give me 20 pushups if I didn’t think they were loud enough and boy that’s all it took! Hands behind the head, knees bent, elbows flat as I ordered 10 squats and everyone had to count with me out loud, very loud. I wanted to inflate their lung capacity right here and now!
I went easy on them this year, as then it was time for the gun show. I asked the participants to roll up their jersey sleeves. I wanted to see their guns! (biceps for those of you who may be confused) Then as I demonstrated with my own rifles, I gave each of them a kiss right to left and asked they did the same. They loved it and laughed out loud. Some had some cannons!
Now they were getting loose and fired up! Then, the grand finale before we sent them off, my famous warrior move. I’m not sure how I got this one started, but it’s a good one and my tradition. To assume a great warrior’s stance, we stood with feet apart, toes pointed outward, and into a squat position. With our chests out, arms up with elbows bent, I instructed that for every hop turn into our warrior pose we’d roar with a deep, big chant “hau”. This word translates to a mythical Polynesian wind god, which was very appropriate for our downwind paddlers.
Again and again we’d turn left, forward and right, land our feet hard to the earth, arms up, chest out and bellow out our warrior chant, until I felt it was time. Wow, they were really revved! Everyone departed the courtyard and headed to the beach.
The helicopter appeared and flew over the crowd as it always does before the start. Everyone was throwing shakas and waiving to the camera crew, as they prepared to launch. This was it.
The board caddies, friends and families of our paddlers helped with paddles, leashes and last minutes hugs. It was an awesome sight and a sea of yellow jerseys.
The fastest paddler would make it in in thirty minutes, others a bit more. The skies were grey but their spirits charged. They were digging in just like I instructed and they did not stop. I was so very proud and excited to see the looks of determination, tenacity and strength as they paddled up and over some pretty good size surf and swell. I’m not sure some even realized what they had just accomplished.
As a SUP coach and trainer I’m able to help some of these paddlers all throughout the year prior to the event. By emails and phone calls and even SKYPE training sessions, I often have people writing me with questions to determine if they are ready for the Fun Paddle Divisionor if they have what it takes yet to paddle out of Maliko. It’s so rewarding to see those that graduate up to the 8 mile event, like Eddie and Judy Shasek from Bend, OR. pictured below preparing their water packs before the 8 mile race.
Eddie and Judy came to Maui last year for the Fun Paddle and came back to Maui a few months after to specifically prepare for Maliko. The waves were too big but they made the best of it and enjoyed practicing on longer racing boards to get the feel and caught a few smaller waves on the West side. They even began writing about their preparation for their journey and wanted to share how they were training and cross training back home. Click here to read their story and see photos. Congrats to you both on an excellent finish!
Everyone deserves great recognition for completing the Fun Paddle. These water warriors earned their stripes that day and displayed their big badges of courage. For some this was the beginning of their right of passage up to the event at Maliko next year.
To recap the entire event, the more serious divisions were competing for equal gender prize money of $15,000, SUP and OC1/OC2 (outrigger canoe 1 man/outrigger canoe 2 man). Some of the competitors traveled from 10 countries and throughout the U.S. to compete in the Maliko Downwind run, one of the largest SUP races in the world, which spans 8 miles of infamous open ocean.
The top 3 winners in men’s SUP included Connor Baxter taking 1st place and Dave Kalama and Kai Lenny taking 2nd and 3rd respectively. Taking 1st place in women’s SUP was Andrea Moller, followed by Talia Gangini in 2nd and Devin Blish in 3rd.
In men’s OC1/OC2, Kai Bartlett finished 1st, Manny Kulukulualani 2nd, and the team of Dave Kalama and Junya McGurn finished 3rd. The top 3 in the women’s OC1/OC2 race were Lauren Spalding in 1st, Andrea Moller in 2nd and Dane Ward in 3rd. For more information and full results of the SUP race, go to http://live.pseresults.com/e/27#/. For more information on the OC1/OC2 races, go to http://live.pseresults.com/e/28#/.
And continuing with its hands-on approach to giving back, OluKai employees who qualified for travel to Ho’olaule’a by contributing a minimum of 20 hours of local service leading up to the event, wrapped up the weekend at the Maui Cultural Lands Giveback Day. Local volunteers and OluKai staff traveled to Honokowai Valley, a cultural heritage preservation site to contribute efforts towards reforestation and archeological stabilization projects.
In closing, Kerry Konrady, Director of OluKai Marketing shared:
“Each year we are inspired by the Ho’olaule’a and how it brings together such incredible people for two days of celebrating Hawaiian culture. From elite paddlers and competitors, world class musicians, volunteers from around the community, our retail partners, to locals and visitors looking to share Aloha, the event has become truly one of the world’s elite paddling and cultural festivals. We thank everyone who has supported the effort.”
We invite you, your friends and family to come next year and take part in history in the making. Come share and spread the Aloha with our Ohana and yours.
SPECIAL NOTE: Tune into to Ocean Paddler TV: The OluKai Ho’olaule’a will start to air on ocean paddler tv on the Time Warner network channel 12 and 1012 Tuesday June 4th @8pm in Hawaii, and will air the entire month of June pretty much everyday! Mainland folks can watch on the NBC Universal Sports Network on Direct and Dish TV (check local listings for days and times)
With only five days until the OluKai 5th Annual Ho’olaule’a SUP & OC1 race approaching this weekend, the weather forecast is soon to be taking shape! The normal trades are predicted to return as competitors will be competing for a purse of $15,000. We’ve had an unusual spell of Kona breezes that look like they’ll be on their way out!
Here’s a peek at the forecast for May 11th & May 12th:
Register now or day of event. For more information click here.
This past Sunday, 90 eager stand up paddlers, that included one prone paddler, two kayaks and one OC1; journeyed 3 miles down Maui Hawaii’s famous North coast to experience a mini downwind and wave adventure, all in preparation for the wildly popular, non-competitive Fun Paddle Division of the 5th Annual OluKai Premium Footwear Ho’olaule’a. This SUP & OC1 race and event is the biggest downwind race in the world with equal gender prize money and includes an amazing line up of entertainment, luau dinner and Hawaiian culture games and sailing canoe rides. This event will be held May 11-12th, 2013. Click hereto register for the main event.
Sharina Husted from Wailuku, Hawaii writes: ”What a fun day! Great gang of people and an awesome event!! Thanks for giving back to our community and doing FREE events like this!! I’m hooked….next step…8 miles Olukai!”
This practice paddle is now a tradition and allows people of all ages and all levels, to build and gain their ocean confidence with water safety and proves to pull a large community of residents and international visitors. We always encourage people to come out and paddle anything humanly powered to join in on the fun. Normally Maui’s N. shore is known for high winds and wave swells, but today was unusually calm that added more of a workout paddle element but also allowed everyone to enjoy the colorful reefs and get to know the course.
With the OluKai flags flying the courtyard at the Paia Youth & Cultural Center filled with boards and excited paddlers. The skipper meeting began promptly at 8:45am with Matthew Murasko, OluKai Premium Footwear’s Hawaii Ambassador reviewing the coarse and finish. Then it was my turn to warm up the crowd and get them pumped and excited.
With upper body exercises, 20 squats counted out loud and then my trademark “warrior warm up”, we headed down to Paia Bay to prepare and launch. The beach was beautiful and calm, waters inviting and the sky an incredible blue. Getting in was easy with minimal shore break, as the safety ski was already out and ready to guide and patrol the group. It was smiles and a few nervous jitters for others, and off we went!
The fastest paddler to Kanaha Beach was about 40 minutes and the last group arrived about and hour and ten minutes. Everyone was a winner. People were high-fiving and applauding every paddler as one by one they came in stoked. Talk about community spirit!
Each year we notice many of these paddlers move up to the main event, which is the full 8 mile course that begins at Maliko Gulch. As a trainer and paddling coach, it’s very rewarding to see how hard these folks have worked to get there.
We’d like to thank all of our volunteers and vendors who helped keep our event safe and worry free:
Milton Kalani Martinson – Safety Ski
Paia Youth & Cultural Center – Location Host
Jimmie Hepp Photography
Kelly Moore of Moore Watertime- Board Shuttle Service
Scott Smith – Medical Support
Neal Wagner – Video Specialist
Patrick McCarthy – Sweeper and Stoke Captain from Kihei
Local SUP & Surf Shops – Board Rentals for Participants
This year’s Fun Paddle Division costs $30 to enter. Participants get a special t-shirt and luau dinner. You can register the day of the event or take advantage of online registration here: http://www.olukai.com/Hoolaulea/races
Mahalo everyone for coming out! It was awesome to meet you and we look forward to seeing you on the big day. Please share this with your friends or feel free to leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you!
To get the latest news like this, SUP fitness tips, videos and more sign up for our Suzie Trains Maui newsletter here:
The Biggest Downwind Event & Race in the World: MAY 11 -12TH, 2013
The 5th Annual OluKai Ho’olaule’a
REGISTER NOW HERE! Sign up before May 4th and receive a free pair of premium OluKai sandals.
Ho’olaule’a – literally, it means “celebration”, but for us, it’s also an expression of gratitude. Each May, we hold our interpretation of this storied Hawaiian tradition on Maui’s north shore. The event blends elite competition with family-friendly cultural activities and gathers some of the world’s best SUP, OC1 & OC2 paddlers to race the legendary 8-mile Maliko downwind run. Friends and families come together to enjoy canoe sailing and surfing, ancient Hawaiian games, traditional luau, hula, and live music. We take this opportunity to recognize and honor our ‘Ohana Giveback partners, as the community shares collective gifts of time, energy, and spirit.
I hope to see you there!
Owner of Suzie Trains Maui
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MAUI: FREE Three Mile Stand Up Paddle Downwind Practice Paddle in Preparation for the
5th Annual Olukai Ho’olaule’a Fun Paddle
Sunday April 21st, 2013 9:00am
It’s that time of year again to get your stand up paddle board, canoe, kayak, Oc1, prone paddle board; and if you’ve ever dreamed of doing your first downwinder with a hundred other first timers or downwind beginners, come out and join us! Now you can experience Maui’s epic North shore with an experienced safety crew to guide you. Experience what it’s like and prepare for the May 11th, 2013 real Fun Paddle. Or, maybe you’ll be brave or are ready for the longer distance of 8 miles from Maliko to Kanaha Beach Park.
There is NO registration required for this practice paddle. All levels of paddlers are welcome. Recommended board length is 10 ft or longer. You are responsible for board and transportation to and back to your car from initial starting point, the Paia Youth &Cultural Center. Please do not contact PYCC for details. Contact Matthew Murasko 808-214-4349 or Suzie Cooney 808-283-2121. You may also email me through this website.
It is highly recommended you have stand up paddling experience. If you are unsure you can contact me. There is no shame in being on your knees should you feel more comfortable.
DATE: SUNDAY, APRIL 21ST 2013
TIME: 9:00am Please arrive by 8:15 to sign safety waiver, unload board and prepare for skippers meeting at 8:45
WHERE: Paia, Maui Paia Youth & Cultural Center ( see map below )
FINSIH: Kanaha Beach Park First paddler in, usually 30-45 minutes, beginner novice 45 min + Weather dependent. Course length 3 miles.
What to bring: Board, leash, paddle, rash guard for sun protection, sunscreen, courage and enthusiasm!
“Sometimes fate seems to send a subtle message in ordinary observations. This time it came from a name and the resulting initials – Suzie Cooney, SC. Ed and I are in week 8 of our “Eddie Will Go on the Olukai Ho’olaule’a” race – comeback from extensive shoulder surgery. Week 8 is the best one yet. We are actually in Maui and are SUP surfing and doing sweet down-winders every day on our Naish 14? Glide GX. Last night we had dinner with our trainer-from-a-distance, Suzie Cooney, CPT of Suzie Trains Maui.
There’s nothing like a face-to-face conversation over ono burgers at the Fish Market Restaurant in Paia, especially after all the support we’ve gained from Suzie over the past months. How did two 63 year olds from Oregon come to be trained by Suzie Cooney on Maui? That’s quite a story.
We were casually playing at down-wind riding while on vacation in Maui in May 2011. Hearing that the Olukai Ho’olaule’a offered a “fun race” of just 4 miles we grabbed our rental surfboards and registered. The day of the race we were all butterflies and doubt. Ed was having shoulder surgery 4 days later and we were second-guessing everything. Then the announcer gathered us all for a pre-race warm-up, and we met Suzie.
With a warm smile and ultimate encouragement she talked and moved the nervous group through breathing, stretching and a warm-up. Surprisingly, by the time we were done the group had a relaxed and solidified feel. Then we were off for one of the most exhilarating fun-runs ever. We decided that when Ed was able to train after his surgery, just seven weeks ago, we would start training with Suzie. We set a goal to do the 8-mile run from Maliko Gulch to Kanaha. Suzie’s regimine has been just what Ed needed. Continue reading Inspirational Stand Up Paddlers Spread the Stoke As They Practice Their Strokes
Suzie Trains Maui – and Eddie! Get Inspired and set your SUP fitness goals.
I have the pleasure of meeting people from all over the world who are full of Aloha and who want to conquer our famous 8 mile stretch of downwind stand up paddling, known as Maliko. We are approaching OluKai’s 5th Annual Ho’olaule’a SUP & OC1 Race in May of 2013 and there will be one more competitor to add to the line up, Eddie from Bend OR. Mark your calendars: Saturday, May 11th, 2013.
Follow his journey here as he prepares his body and mind for this monumental physical SUP adventure. Judy, his adoring fan and lovely wife and bad ass paddler, will document his training and preparation.
Together with Judy and a little guidance from me, Eddie will go!
Back in the day – 1967 to be exact – Ed and I were playing at surfing the mushy calf-high waves we had in balmy South Florida. From 1970-2007 we didn’t surf, using our ocean time to sail, scuba, windsurf, fish and raise the family. 2001 found us moving life to Oregon, and by 2007 we discover standup paddling and were back in the surf 4 decades later!
In the natural progression of things, two diverse events influenced our Summer 2012. One was Ed’s second rotator cuff surgery (yes, he was brave enough to go through that torture twice) and our trip to Maui to try the short version of the Ho’olaule’a event. Four days after the coolest downwind adventure either of us had experiences poor Ed went under the knife. But not before we were hooked on downwind, open ocean fun!
In the pictures above, it’s easy to see we are still the happy ocean-loving “kids” we were back in 1967 but it’s also easy to see that our abs are a bit worse for wear at age 63. Fortunately, just before the start of our event, Maui local and globally respected standup paddler/athlete, Suzie Cooney, provided a pre-race warmup. That gave us a chance not only to meet Suzie but to get to know a bit about her dedication to training a diverse group of clients from the casual paddler to elite athletes. As Ed went from wearing a sling to hefting the 3 lb weights he’s now using in PT we both made a commitment to getting into our best functional fitness over the next 8 months.
As much as we already know about exercise and nutrition, we realize that insights, motivation and programming provided by a respected professional is mandatory, especially as we embrace our seventh decade. Over the summer, Suzie Cooney has been kind enough to listen to our plan to follow her training “at a distance.” Nothing can replace actual time at her training facility with her customized training delivered face to face. Just the same, we have made a decision to glean as much as we can from her blog and conversations. We have a solid goal in mind. We plan to be at the start line on May 11, 2013 ready to enjoy the full Olukai Ho’olaule’a downwind run from Maliko Gulch to Kanaha.
“Pie in the sky” – This Saturday I plan to join other hopefuls as I buy a couple of lotto tickets – would be cool to win $5000 or so. We’d probably jet off to Maui in November and prepare for Maliko at Suzie’s upcoming clinic. Meanwhile, training in Oregon is underway. The “training table” is becoming ever more healthful and an Indo Board is on its way to our home. The digital age could very well allow us the best connection with our partner in preparation, Suzie Cooney. Most watched film this week – this training session from the Suzie Trains Maui blog. YES! We want endurance, core strength and balance. This is an excellent overview of some training options. Bring it, Suzie!
Please feel free to leave your comment for Eddie. Eddie and Judy, thank you for sharing and I’m looking forward to hearing the latest after his course of physical therapy. I know Eddie will come back stronger!
Fourth Annual OluKai Ho’olaule’a May 12th & 13th, 2012
An amazing turnout of over 500 ocean enthusiasts and competitors from around the globe converged on the beautiful island of Maui this weekend May 12th & 13th, 2012 to celebrate OluKai Premium Footwear’s highly revered fourth annual downwind SUP and OC1 race, called the Ho’olau’le’a which translates as “celebration.” The community and visitors came together in the spirit of “ohana” to share, give, and celebrate the ocean.
This highly anticipated event brought beginners, novice and elite ocean athletes together to experience the famed 8 mile stretch of open ocean paddling known as the Maliko downwind run. This stretch of water is fast and offers a unique perspective of racing and spectacular views of Maui’s North shore.
(Full Results link & fabulous photos below)
Part of the proceeds raised benefit the OluKai ‘Ohana Giveback Program; beneficiaries include Maui Cultural Lands and Hawaii’s Junior Lifeguard Program. Click here to learn more about the OluKai Ohana Giveback Program.
A special pre race event offered to those who weren’t quite ready for the 8 mile race, was the non-competitive Fun Paddle Division that was as popular as ever, held prior to the main SUP event. The three mile course from Paia Bay to Kanaha Beach Park gave a taste of the big course to those who aspire to one day advance to Maliko. I had the pleasure of preparing this group with a practice paddle a couple weeks before to get those a little anxious, relaxed and ready. ( see photos and highlights here ). The Fun Paddle Division allows any age, all levels and anything humanly paddle powered.
The OluKai Team greeted and checked everyone in at the Paia Youth & Cultural Center where the paddle began. Music played in the courtyard, safety skis arrived, boards were everywhere and there some nervous jitters as well. After the safety meeting, I lead the group with a few warm-up exercises as 80 paddlers prepared for their downwind experience. We had participants that traveled from Delaware, Oregon and as far away as Australia just for this fun paddle.
As the blow horn sounded, and to everyone’s surprise, a low flying yellow helicopter appeared sweeping the beach and exciting everyone as they hovered for photos. With a small shore break to navigate over, everyone safely and successfully paddled off. Also joining was the beautiful OluKai Team racing canoe, Kamakani Eleu offering it’s own adventure for a few lucky participants.
Just 3.2 miles up the coast at Maliko Gulch, the premiere downwind staging area above Ho’okipa Park, 300 stand up paddlers readied themselves for the 12:00pm start.
Join Us Saturday April 28th, 2012
OluKai and Suzie Cooney host a Free 3 Mile “Practice” Fun Paddle
Paia Youth and Cultural Center 9AM
(no pre-registration required)
In preparation for the 4th Annual OluKai Ho’olaule’a, and the Fun Paddle Division, join us again for the 3 mile “practice” fun paddle, mini downwinder that everyone can enjoy. Build your water confidence. Anything paddle powered can enter as this is not a competition. The start is at the Paia Bay Youth and Center and will finish at the lifeguard tower at Kahana Beach Park. ( Details below )
All ages, all levels of paddlers will enjoy an escorted practice paddle with me and other safety folks. This is a great opportunity for those who desire to experience Maui’s N. shore in a fun and safe manor. Here’s a video from one of last year’s practice paddles: ( 2o11 )
So, grab your stand up paddle board, kayak, 4 man, 6 man, prone paddle board, canoe or anything you can paddle! This is your chance to get ready, test your paddle skills, meet some new friends and join the OluKai ohana. The paddle will take the fastest paddler approximately 30 minutes or less to complete and the average time will be about and hour. Take your time, soak in the sun and paddle with your friends. This is not a race, paddle at your capacity.
PRACTICE 3 MILE FUN PADDLE:
DATE: Saturday, April 28, 2012
WHERE: Start – 28 Hana Hwy: Paia Bay Youth and Cultural Center Finish: Kanaha Beach Park Lifeguard Tower
TIME:Start time is 9:00am ( please arrive by 8:00am to sign in and for course review and safety meeting )
We suggest paddlers carpool and prearrange transportation after the paddle so you can retrieve your car from the Paia Bay Youth and Center. You will need to provide your own board or gear to paddle.
Any questions, please contact Matthew Murasko, OluKai Premium Footwear Hawaii Ambassador firstname.lastname@example.org
To register for the OluKai Ho’olaule’a Fun Paddle on May 12, 2012, click here. The cost is $20 and includes your entry and luau dinner.
More about the Fun Paddle May 12th, 2012:
The ‘Ohana Fun Paddle, is a non-timed, non-competitive 3-mile fun paddle designed for all members of the community to get out in the ocean for a good cause. The shorter course is less strenuous, and a great way for paddlers of all skill levels to experience a portion of the legendary Maliko downwind run. No timing chips, no age divisions, just come out and paddle! Maui’s own fitness and training expert, Suzie Cooney, will lead paddlers on the 3-mile course.
Represent your ‘ohana in coordinated colors and outfits, or wear your best Hawaiian warrior costume. This is meant to be a fun event! The most festive participants will receive special prizes from OluKai.
A portion of proceeds from the ‘Ohana Fun Paddle go to our ‘Ohana Giveback Program benefitting Maui Cultural Lands and Hawaii’s Junior Lifeguard Program.
Also for those who are interested in the 8 mile SUP race May 12th or the OC1 race May 13th click here.