FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RACE REGISTRATION ONLINE NOW:
OLUKAI’S 4th ANNUAL HO’OLAULE’A RACE & CELEBRATION
Paddlers, Families and Enthusiasts Welcomed to Kanaha Beach Park, Maui
MAY 12 – 13, 2012
(APRIL 6, 2012 – ORANGE COUNTY, Calif.) — Race Registration is now open for the OluKai Ho’olaule’a, a celebration of the ocean and surrounding cultures. The event will be held at the Lae ‘Ula O Kai Canoe Club at Kanaha Beach Park, Maui, May 12-13, 2012. For the schedule of events, click here: http://www.olukai.com/Hoolaulea/schedule.
Elite watermen,waterwomen and paddling enthusiasts of all ages will have the opportunity to race the legendary Maliko downwind run on Maui’s North Shore, an eight-mile stretch from Maliko Gulch to Kanaha Beach Park.
A $15,000 prizepurse will be shared equally between the elite men’s and women’s divisions of the SUP and OC1 races, while recreational paddlers will compete in age groups for trophies and prizes. The SUP race will start at 12:00PM on Saturday, May 12. The OC1 race will start at 12:00PM on Sunday, May 13.
Space is limited, register online by May 4TH to receive a Premium Race Package including luau dinner, race jersey, and, a pair of OluKai sandals. Online registration closes May 10TH.
Not a serious paddler? Ocean enthusiasts of all skill levels are invited to register for the ‘Ohana Fun Paddle. This 3-mile, non-competitive, non-timed paddle starts at 9:00AM on Saturday, May 12, and runs downwind from Paia Youth and Cultural Center to Kanaha Beach Park. All human-powered ocean craft are allowed, a portion of the proceeds go to the OluKai ‘Ohana Giveback Program benefiting Maui Cultural Lands and Hawaii’s Junior Lifeguard Program.
OluKai is a true premium ocean lifestyle brand with a distinctively different point of view and deep values. We are committed to building a unique and better class of products that blend ocean heritage with modern performance while leaving the smallest footprint possible on the planet.
In every facet of our business, we are committed to respecting the people and the environments we touch. Inspired by the strong tradition of giving an offering or tribute in Polynesian culture, we established the ‘Ohana Giveback Program to support the efforts of those who continue to give back to preserve local cultures and traditions.
We are committed to being an environmentally responsible company as well aspledging to actively support and work for a clean environment and a better quality of life. Visit us at http://www.olukai.com.
Event Details Contact:
Matthew Murasko | Hawaiian Islands Ambassador | 808.214.4349 cell | firstname.lastname@example.org
Bailey Cronin | Marketing Coordinator | 949.334.0575 | email@example.com
Summer’s Edition of Stand Up Paddling VOL3N3 2011: Publisher’s Note:
“It’s summer. It’s Maui. It’s hot. Paddler Suzie Cooney during OluKai Ho’olaulea 2011
Suzie won 1st place in age division and is sponsored by Naish International, Kaenon Polarized, INDO Board, and supported by OluKai and others.
Also, see articles written by Suzie regarding this event: The Magic of Maliko. Written for Makai Ocean Life Magazine
photo courtesy of OluKai Premium Footwear
Maliko gulch, Maui and the history that surrounds it, is one to be respected. Not only will the steep cliffs and the sounds of the wind whirling inside take your breath, but you’ll also experience a rush of adrenaline as you paddle out of it, into the open ocean of huge swells where you can catch glides up to 300+ yards long. (If you want to read more about Maliko, see my article:“The Magic of Maliko” I wrote for Makai Ocean Lifestyle magazine here. )
As the popularity of SUP grows, especially down wind paddling here on Maui, I’m compelled to write this small blog entry, not to only share in the beauty and the intrigue that draws thousands of eager stand up paddlers and OC1 adventurers to this place, but also to give a heads up to the hidden challenges that can be very dangerous and can make for a disastrous run. If you think you are ready to attempt your first Maliko “down winder”, I say, that if you don’t know, don’t go. I’m not at all discouraging people, I’m just sharing how Maliko appears on the inside of the bay, is not what goes on just 50 yards on the outside.
photo courtesy of OluKai Premium Footwear
Being an experienced paddler, every time I paddle out of the gulch down the coast 9 miles, it is never the same and that’s exciting! I’ve gone down with a wall of water breaking across the gulch over head high, near the ramp, and other days it’s as calm as a lake. So what I’m saying is what may appear calm on the inside is typically very different as you exit into the open ocean waterways. Unless you go with an experienced paddler, and I mean experienced with someone who’s done many Maliko runs in all kinds of conditions; you best have lots of water time in big swells and heavy winds, and you better have upper body strength, combined with a good cardio base and have the knowledge on what to do IF you get in trouble.
I’m seeing more and more folks showing up for their first, unescorted Maliko run and it concerns me that some of them are not experienced enough. Sure they’ll probably be fine, but from some of the emails and stories I’ve been reading and hearing about as of late, it’s not a casual paddle on the lake. Besides the huge, jagged rocks on the shoreline that the swell may push you into, there’s wind shifts and tide changes, and if the winds are off shore and East, you can bet that it means trouble or at the least a very un ideal experience.
As a SUP instructor, competitor, and as a fitness specialist specializing in SUP conditioning, people ask me to take them down Maliko. I often pause and tell them nicely that it’s a good goal to have, but first let’s get your board skills down , your body endurance and strength up to handle those conditions.
I really want people to have a good experience and get the thrill of the long glides and rides; I’m just saying use common sense. Get yourself in tip top shape, paddle some timed, endurance distance on flat water to get your body used to paddling at that intensity, strengthen your leg, work on your balance and learn water safety.
- Me coaching Barb before her run
Practice paddling in all types of weather conditions; rain, big chop, side chop, light to heavy wind, gusty wind and even practice paddling directly into the wind. Learn more about rail pressure, foot work (changing foot position on board to surf stance) and maybe even rent a downwind board and practice on flat water. I might also suggest that you do some “mini” downwinders at a shorter distance to get your legs used to the chop and learn about how you can improve your paddling and maybe your fitness at the same time. Study the wind patterns and know the difference between on shore and off shore winds, trade winds, wind swell direction, know if it’s low or high tide where you enter and where you exit.
Downwind paddling is a blast and very addicting. Better to share with a safety buddy and to go with someone who knows the path. He/she should be very very experienced and know how to pick the right line, read the currents, tide and weather conditions. It’s not a great idea to go alone, and if you do carry your cell phone in a water proof casing and tell someone where you are coming out at your anticipated time. If you don’t feel right, feel tired or whatever, listen to your gut. Prequalify yourself and make sure that you have water confidence, experience and strength along with of course better than decent SUP skills.
Here are some resources to make your downwind paddling experiences safe and fun:
Suzie Trains Maui: SUP Fitness Tips: Leg conditioning, upper body endurance exercises
Maui Naish Pro Center: Great gear, down wind boards and paddles.
Moore Watertime Maui: Maui’s Down Wind Shuttle Service – They Drive you Play!
National Weather Service: Scroll down to find Maui:MAUI COUNTY WINDWARD WATERS
Maui Hawaii Webcam: Check the wind direction; see live video streaming of N. Shore and check tide charts
Surf News Network: Tides, buoys, swell and more
If you’d like to train with me and build your stand up paddling endurance, fine tune your paddling stroke, foot work; give me a call I can help you. Having a body that is strong and prepared for anything will give you miles and miles of more fun on the water! Be safe and see you on the water!
Maui: 2011 Third Annual OluKai Ho’olaulea: Ohana Fun Paddle & Pre SUP Race highlights and interviews:
Maui: 2011 Third Annual OluKai Ho’olaule’a Ohana Fun Paddle & SUP Pre Race Highlights from Suzie Cooney on Vimeo.
photo courtesy of OluKai
Maui’s N. shore attracted over 400 total participants in ocean adventure excitement and adrenaline pumping paddling action. This year was unique with the first inaugural Ohana Fun Paddle which I helped host, to encourage new paddlers to experience a non-competitive 3 mile down wind paddle. Anything you could humanly paddle was welcomed. SUPs, kayaks, one mans, six mans and the special OluKai sailing canoe; Kamakakoa launched from Paia Bay to Kanaha. This was an event within the event. Over 100 paddlers entered the water with a big finish.
photo courtesy of OluKai
Then on up to Maliko Gulch was the big SUP race. The momentum was building as more and more boards began to fill the valley as the paddlers got ready for their 8 mile, more serious race. And what a race!
Thanks to Matthew Murasko, OluKai’s Hawaii Ambassador and team, and to many friends and volunteers this event was over the top. It was so organized, from the start to the finish. The luau, entertainment and award ceremony welcomed not only the racers but our entire island and the world. Join us next year!
Read: “The Magic of Maliko“ Article written for Makai Hawaii’s Ocean Lifestyle Magazine
Suzie is available for SUP instruction/private event hosting and special events. Contact suzie@suzietrainsmaui for more information.
Video work: Carl Royzcki InVision Productions.
Also be sure to check out www.OluKai.com to learn more about OluKai. To see more photos taken by OluKai’s Photography team, click here
The Third Annual OluKai Ho’olaule’a proved to be a tremendous success and an event that will for sure be even bigger and bigger in the years to come. I had the pleasure of working with the OluKai Premium Footwear crew in particular Matthew Murasko from Maui, and the fine team that arrived from the mainland. In addition to the SUP and OC1 races, this year’s venue was extra special with the new division offered as the “Ohana Fun Paddle” that captured over 100 participants before the big races. ( More event highlights here )
Ohana Fun Paddle Start – Photo provided by Ocean Paddler TV
This alone was an event within the event as folks from as young as 12 years old up to 75 years young got to experience a 3 mile down wind, non-competitive paddle. Prone paddlers, OC1s and stand up paddlers launched from the Paia Bay Youth & Cultural Center and arrived to at the life guard tower at Kanaha. I anticipate this number to double for next year! ( photos coming soon!!)
With about 210 plus participants the SUP Race broke some records from last year and many of the recognized names dominated. The trades were nearing about 15 knots and there was small wind swell which offered very close finishing times. The grueling run on the beach just after paddling your brains out for 8 miles made it for an exciting spectator finish! We’re begging for a shorter run!??!
May 14, 2011 – OluKai Ho’olaule’a SUP Race, Top 20 Overall:
||REC Men 30 – 39
||REC Men 30 – 39
||SUP14 Men 40 – 49
||REC Men 40 – 49
||SUP14 Men 40 – 49
||REC Men 50 & Over
||REC Men 50 & Over
||SUP14 Men 17 & Under
||SUP14 Men 40 – 49
May 15, 2011 – OluKai Ho’olaule’a OC1 Race, Top 20 Overall:
||Kaeo O Kalani
||Men 40 – 49
||Men 30 – 39
||Men 50 & Over
||Men 19 – 29
||Men 30 – 39
||Men 30 – 39
||Men 40 – 49
||Men 40 – 49
||Men 50 & Over
||Men 30 – 39
The luau that followed after the SUP races on Saturday was simply over the top. During the musical performance by Paula Fuga, as now becoming tradition; a helicopter hovered over and dropped thousands of plumeria showering the crowd. The hula dancing and the award ceremony that followed which made for a complete day! Yours truly got 1st place in the women’s 14ft age division! Whew hoo!
On Monday, after all the excitement The OluKai crew and staff headed deep up into the Honokawai Valley, where they spent the day learning and working the land to help stabilize the rich cultural resources to honor those before us.
This event brought a new meaning in celebrating the ocean and one that will continue to grow and grow. The Magic of Maliko will now resonate in more hearts than ever as we gather again next year in ohana and ocean adventure.
Mahalo OluKai for making this event even more memorable than the last and bringing to Maui the spirit of giving back.
Suzie Cooney http://www.suzietrainsmaui.com
To learn more about OluKai go to: http://www.olukai.com/AboutOlukai.aspx Also check back to here to learn about the Ho’olaule’a soon to air nation wide on and NBC sports broadcast. Check back for date and details
Aloha fellow paddlers and friends! As we are only one week away from the exciting Third Annual OluKai Ho’olaule’a, I wanted to take a moment to introduce a lovely friend and athlete, who has journeyed all the way to Maui from Queensland, Australia, to experience what many are discovering to be the most exciting down wind SUP and ocean race in the world, Jenny Ryan.
I had the pleasure of doing a few training runs last year with her when she was here training for another event, and asked her to write about why this event, the Ho’olaule’a and why it meant so much to her. Her story is heartfelt and expresses her thoughts on how Maui and our community here has embraced her, as the ocean and land embraces everyone. She will inspire you and others to hopefully make the same journey to Maui!
Jenny writes: I can remember as kid I LOVED the beach! We lived so close and my mum would take me almost every day. I can remember playing in the ocean and getting tossed round by the waves never being scared. I can remember very vaguely, around the age of 4 having to go to the doctors. Something was wrong with my ears. Little did I know it spelled the end of my ocean love for a decade..
From the age of 4 to 13, I had several ear infections and grommets all was going okay until I was 7. One grommet came out early leaving a hole in my ear drum – and until it healed. I couldn’t dive, swim, etc. So I was always swimming with my head above the waves. I got to the age of 13 and was old enough to have a skin graph operation on my ear to close the hole. The operation was a success and for the first time in many years I was free to swim again. Until about 2 weeks later where I caught an unknown tropical ear infection. My ear would weep nonstop and this continued for about 12 months. Doctors, specialists, Ct scans, bone scans, referrals; no one knew what to do It wasn’t until my specialist suggested an old wife’s tale of Aluminum Acetate that it stopped in 3 days . I was 14 and had lost 70% of my hearing due to scar tissue, but I had the all cleared and within a month I picked up a surfboard.
I started surfing and loved it straight away and it was freedom. I could leave all my problems at the shore go for a surf.and somehow everything would be better.
I have been short boarding on and off for 10 years and gradually over time would see more and more SUPs. I was curious and a close friend was getting into it. He was telling me how awesome it was. Doubtful and curious I had to give it ago.
It was a 10ft Bonga Perkins. I lost count of the number of times I fell in. Persistence paid off and in a few months I was entering SUP surfs comps. Due to the small number of women entering these events..we were always up against the Men. We continued to enter the events and only recently have women surf sup has its own division in all the main surf contests. It’s great to know that in some way I’ve contributed to the progression of Women’s SUP in Australia alongside my fellow competitors/ friends. My proudest moment was placing 2nd in the first Women’s Australian SUP Title and this result enabled me to be sponsored by Laguna Bay Stand Up Paddle.
As SUP started exploding in oz races were starting to become more frequent. After a small fun race, Phil Gregory (aka Iron Phil) approached me – saying I was a weapon of a paddler and that I should really think about getting into racing. If it wasn’t for Phil that day i don’t know if I would be racing now. I started training with Phil for local races and started to build my confidence and strength.. it was during these training sessions I started to hear about how amazing the race scene is in Hawaii.. and about all the races, the people, and just the sup scene in general..
It was NYE 2010 when I decided that I was going to do the International Naish Race. I had only been training one month barely doing 10km and this race was 16km. I set myself a time of 1:40:00 and decided to go for it. Six months of solid training was my lead up and before long I was heading to Maui.
When I first got to Maui the first thing I noticed was the wind! I couldn’t believe how windy it was all the time. We hardly get over 15knots at home. This was something foreign. I did my first Maliko run. I couldn’t believe the runners. It was an amazing experience surfing the swell bumps, seeing turtles, and taking in the amazing coastline of Maui.
It was so inspiring and I was so excited to keep doing these runs. Race day came round so fast. I was nervous, and excited but enjoying every moment. It really started hitting me. This was it. Everything I had been training for was here and now! The prayers were said before we raced. This tradition is something I really admire. It gave me goose bumps. I felt instantly the energy at Maliko.
The race was amazing. I caught some of the most amazing runners of my life and hit my target time of 1:40:42. To say I was happy was an understatement! For me I learned that if you really put your mind to something you can make it happen. It was after this race that my whole belief system changed. I started to believe more in myself and wanted to come back to Hawaii again.
Continue reading Jenny Ryan Journeys to Maui to Experience the Magic of Maliko and the OluKai Ho’olaule’a
Saturday April 30th, 2011, Maui’s beautiful N. Shore attracted 72 paddlers of all ages and levels of experience for our second three mile Ohana OluKai Practice Fun Paddle! With only two weeks away from the Third Annual OluKai Ho’olaule’a, we welcomed SUP paddlers, prone paddlers and Heather our OC1 paddler; joined us from Paia Bay to the lifeguard tower at Kanaha Beach Park, in preparation for the New Ohana Fun Paddle @ 9AM, May 14th, 2011.
Peter Swanzy and the kids!
This paddle was our second practice paddle since our first April 2nd, 2011 was such a huge success. Click here to see the video. We wanted to share again and encourage families, new paddlers and those who’ve never done a down winder, to come and build their confidence.
Peter Swanzy and Julianna Prater from Paia Youth and Cultural Center had five youth from 13 to 14 years old join in the practice paddle. The youth have been training with Pete and Julianna over the last month and their training paid off as this was the first time that these youth had paddled this 3 mile distance. A huge sense of accomplishment and pride way to go! We also had paddlers from Sweden, Nevada and England participate.
For some, this was the first or second time ever experiencing a coast run. After everyone signed in, had a little morning coffee and juice, we all gathered as Matthew Murasko, OluKai Hawaii Ambassador, announced our 3 mile course.
- Stretching and Jumping Jacks!
Then the ice chest was turned over to me, and I stood up and asked everyone to join me in some warm up exercises and jumping jacks to shake off any pre-paddle jitters or butterflies!
The conditions were perfect and inviting. The trades were light at about 10 knots that provided for some fun glides.
copyright Ron Dahlquist
The first group of paddlers arrived to Kanaha in 30 minutes and the last group arrived in 60 minutes. Upon completion paddlers were treated to water, juice, granola bars and Whoopie Pies, a chocolate cake-vanilla ice cream confection handmade by my boyfriend Tommy Callan.
The Finish! Kanaha
Mahalo to the Maui lifeguards ( Tony Colletta ) from Baldwin Tower and Kanaha Tower for PWC saftey…and special mahalo also to Milton Martinson of Haiku for PWC water safety as well as SUP water safety guards, Chris Pagdilao, John Smalley, Joshua Kjorven, Randy Royse. Also lending a hand and expertise, Deb Driscoll and Blair Thorndike.
We’d also like to thank the crews at the Naish Maui Pro Center and Second Wind for providing a few extra boards for the kids from the youth center.
I know this paddle provided many an amazing, life-changing ocean experience. I was touched to see everyone supporting one another out there and on the beach. For others it was a chance to encourage their loved ones and friends to go to the next level. Well done.
Keep up that that training! The real OluKai Ohana Fun Paddle is May 14 at 9am, same place, same course. Arrive by 8am and Register at OluKai.com. Entry Fee for the 3 mile OluKai Ohana Fun Paddle is $20 and includes one luau dinner wristband.
Aloha and thanks for supporting in community.
Suzie Cooney, CPT Suzie Trains Maui SUP Clinic/Director/ Instructor SUP Team Rider for Naish
In Hawaii the Ocean is Our Way of Life
For those of you who have always dreamed about Hawaii, one often thinks of the warm tropical breezes, palm trees swaying amazing sunsets and beaches, but the most exciting attraction for visitors and locals alike is the ocean. The blue-green waters, giant open water swells and waves that surround the island chain make our islands the biggest playground for two very popular sports, one man outrigger canoes (OC1s) and for stand up paddling (SUP).
Here in Hawaii stand up paddling and OC1 are a way of life, a source of fitness and a pastime as common as baseball is on the mainland. Now the world has a chance to see how dynamic, action-packed and inspiring this sport truly is.
On Maui, Ocean Paddler TV, our Honolulu-based paddling sport show, will cover the Ho’olaule’a this May 14 and May 15, 2011. Their coverage will be broadcast nationally on Universal Sports, an NBC Sports partnership. This means over 50 million households will get a glimpse into the athleticism and beauty of paddling. This is awesome! Check this out: http://www.olukai.com/NewsEvents.aspx
I am so excited to be a part of this movement as we grow the sport and get the word out. Make sure to sign up online by May 4 to get your spot and receive a pair of OluKai slippers!”
Also, if you’re new to the sports and want to experience the Ho’oleaule’a and thrill of doing an open ocean down winder, be sure not to miss our New Ohana Fun Paddle! Register today and join me in our first non-competitive, 3 mile fun paddle. We welcome everyone who may not be quite ready for the Maliko race, but may rather like go at their own pace.
Stephanie's First Down Winder! She's hooked!
With only a month away, in preparation for the event, we’re offering a practice fun paddle. Join me Saturday, April 30th, from the Paia Bay Youth & Cultural Center, to the life guard tower at Kanaha Beach Park.
Where: Maui’s N. Shore Paia Bay – Paia Bay Youth & Cultural Center
When: April 30th, Saturday Check in time 8AM Skippers/Safety Meeting 8:45 Paddle: 9AM
Course: 3 miles Coast Paddle Down Wind This is not a race.
This is your chance to go with a larger group for a supervised fun paddle. We’ll have coffee and juice for you at the start and refreshments at the finish. Click here to see a video from our last practice paddle and for more details.
As an avid paddler, this event is first class and will inspire you too. I really hope you can join us.
Aloha, Suzie Cooney
Suzie Trains Maui
“Hana Hou” Let’s do it again! We had so much fun the first time, we decided to offer you one more fun practice paddle before the big day! If you missed out April 2nd, join us again April 30th, Saturday Paia Bay Youth & Cultural Center.
Click here to see our first paddle: Maui: OluKai & Suzie Cooney Ohana Practice Fun Paddle Adventure April 2nd 2011 wrap up. Here’s the video:
Come do another practice run with me and let’s get ready for the OluKai Ho’olaule’a
OluKai & Suzie Cooney Fun Paddle Maui
Saturday, April 30, 2011 Maui’s N. Shore! 9 am Start Non-Competitive Fun Paddle (Check in 8AM)
It’s that time of year to catch some Maui N. shore fun and all kinds of paddle action; SUP, prone,one mans, prone, kayak. In preparation for the Thrid Annual OluKai Ohana Ho’olaule’a, you’re invited to a FREE paddle from Paia Youth Center Paia Bay to the Kanaha Lifeguard tower. Join me and OluKai and lots of fine folks for the 9 AM start of 3 miles of paddle power. All levels welcome, no divisions, no age groups. This is a non-competitive fun paddle to get you fired up!
No preregistration required. Coffee at the start and refreshments provided at the finish! See you there.
3rd Annual OluKai Ho’olaule’a Maui / May 14-15, 2011
Music, luau, ancient Hawaiian Games, Hawaiian sailing Canoe rides, OC4 and OC6 Paddling canoes. $15,000 in Gender Equal Prize Money. http://www.olukai.com/Hoolaulea.aspx
Got 4 minutes? Check out http://vimeo.com/12036269
- New 2011 OLUKAI ‘OHANA FUN PADDLE / May 14, 2011- 9am Start
Start host by SUZIE COONEY of Suzie Trains Maui [http://www.suzietrainsmaui.com]
3 Mile Short Course Fun Paddle - Non-timed, recreational paddle, no age groups, paddle by yourself or tandem, paddle what you like SUP, Oc1, Oc2, paddleboard or kayak.
Begin Paia Youth Center, Paia Bay to beach finish at Kanaha Lifeguard tower.
- OLUKAI SUP MALIKO DOWNWINDER / May 14, 2011 – Noon Start
8 mile Downwind Race. Maliko Bay to Kanaha Beach with 300 yard beach run finish. Timed race. Age Groups and Elite paddlers race for $7500 in Gender Equal Prize Purse.
- OLUKAI OC1 MALIKO DOWNWINDER / May 15, 2011 – Noon Start
8 mile Downwind Race. Maliko Bay to Kanaha Beach. Timed race. Age groups and Elite paddlers race for $7500 in Gender Equal Prize Purse.
I look forward to meeting you! Follow Suzie and keep up with more event announcements at:
or stop by the event’s official face book page: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=117582624980082&ref=ts
Despite unexpected high surf conditions the week before, the day could not have been more beautiful and the waves just big enough to give the eager paddlers three miles of rides and glides they’ll never forget!
Maui’s N. shore, Paia Bay Cultural and Youth Center was the place to be, April 2, 2011. ( Next OluKai Ohana Fun Paddle - April 30th, 2011 ) In preparation for The Third Annual OluKai Ohana Ho’olaule’a and new division, The Ohana Fun Paddle, this pre-practice paddle was a first, and I was thrilled to be co-hosting the event. Matthew Murasko, OluKai’s Hawaii Ambassador, gathered his safety team of two PWCs ( thanks to Rodney and Darrel ) and was greeting and registering our first arrivals before 8 AM with coffee, juice, snacks and lots of enthusiasm. I pulled together my main waterman, Milton, Randy, Jeremy, Michael, John, Tommy, Joshua and also, Nitsan from Naish; who wore bright green rash guards kindly donated by Rodney Kilborn; Mormaii.
Our paddlers ranged in age from late teens to 70 years young…special acknowledgment to Sharina Husted who just gave birth to a new baby daughter 29 days ago and had never done a downwind paddle before! Paddlers consisted of local Mauians to visitors from Canada, California and England.
With a total of 26 paddlers, 22 of them were about to earn their stripes. For those who have only dreamed of paddling out of the world famous Maliko Gulch, this was their first, courageous step towards that goal and a chance to to be with experienced friends to guide them. The winds were ramping up towards our 9 AM start and by 9:15, we had the perfect direction clocking in at about 15 – 18 mph.
The first challenge was a gentle shore break that was easily managed with the strong help of our PWCs and fine waterman. This was a part of learning: timing the sets, hopping up to your knees if need, and paddling hard. Then to hold your course and learn how to navigate with stronger winds pushing at your side was a new experience for many. Since this was not a race, it was easy to take one’s time and get more comfortable with a new spot and new conditions. Everyone one was so encouraging and helpful to one another.
Sharina Asato Husted of Wailuku who just had a baby 4 weeks ago shared,
”Yesterday was my first downwind paddle experience! After falling the first 4 times while attempting to stand, I was pretty bummed and vowed to never do this again if I somehow made it to the finish.
After the 1st mile paddling on my knees, one of the guards, Tommy offered to switch boards with me and I got up on my first try!! The rest is history! I had so much fun and am hooked!! I am incredibly grateful to you and your team for this awesome experience!
“Wow, Tommy, what a guy!! I was so amazed at how nice everyone was and the wonderful community of people that you have gathered together!”
Way to go Sharina!
At the finish, the lower lifeguard tower at Kanaha Beach Park, the first arrived in about 35 minutes and the group of the last paddlers at the 60 minute mark. This was a huge accomplishment for those who’ve never done a down winder before. The camaraderie and that feeling of doing something so exciting and sharing it with a bunch of new down winder friends was obvious. I looked around and remembered what it felt like on my first run. It felt great and I felt powerful and pumped up! Several people told me that this experience changed their life and gave them so much more confidence. They were hooked.
The Fab 5!
A special Mahalo goes to Paia Youth & Cultural Center for hosting us. Carl Rozycki for our professional videographer of InVision Maui Productions, Joshua Kjorven for the cool water shots, and to Rodney Kilborn for providing our PWCs and expertise, our awesome waterman mentioned above, Pete Thompson, Simone Reddingius for being my right hand good buddy, Matthew Murasko from OluKai.
Great job everyone! We hope you can join us on the next OluKai Ohana Practice Fun Paddle, April 30th, 2011!
Thanks for your continued support and frienship everyone, Suzie Cooney.
When: Saturday, April 30th, 2011
Where: Maui – N. Shore Paia Youth and Cultural Center
Time: Arrive by 8AM to register
Register online for the exciting Thrid Annual OluKai Ohana Ho’olaule’a, before May 4th and get a free pair of OluKai Premium Footwear Slippers!
Follow the events leading up to the Annual OluKai Ohana Ho’olaule’a, check back here or go to their Face Book Page at: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=117582624980082&ref=ts