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.