Almost 300 stand-up-paddlers headed to Maliko Gulch in Haiku Saturday for the 4th Annual OluKai Ho’olaule’a, Maui’s most popular downwind SUP races. Attendance has nearly tripled since the first OluKai event.
Hosted by California’s OluKai Footwear, this SUP race is unique on Maui because the $15,000 prize money is awarded equally to winners to both men and women in the elite division.
After a noon opening blessing on the beach, hundreds of yellow-shirted paddlers headed out of the bay and paddled west past north shore beach spots for the 8-mile downwind run to Kanaha Beach Park.
Turning in toward the park, paddlers made one last 300-yard sprint on the beach to the finish line near the Canoe Club Hale.
After a feast of local grinds and drinks, all were treated to Hawaiian entertainment from Lae’ula O Kai Canoe Club director Sharon Balidoy’s halau, and prize giveaways ceremony.
Before announcing the winners, OluKai presented donations from their generous Ohana Giveback Program to beneficiaries Paia Youth & Cultural, Lae’ula O Kai Canoe Club, Maui Cultural Lands, and the Hawaiin Lifeguard Association, which received $20,000 toward their junior training programs.
The party continued into the early evening with more live Hawaiian entertainment, including a rousing performance from Ekolu Kalama, a world champion stand-up-paddler and popular recording artist from Molokai.
Men’s Elite SUP Top 5
- Connor Baxter (Maui) 47 minutes, 28 seconds
- Travis Grant (Australia) 48 minutes, 28 seconds
- Danny Ching (Hawaii) 48 minutes, 39 seconds
- Dave Kalama (Maui) – 48 minutes, 46 seconds
- Jamie Mitchell (Australia) – 48 minutes, 58 seconds
Women’s Elite SUP Top 5
- Andrea Moller (Haiku) – 56 minutes, 45 seconds
- Talia Gangini, Haiku 58 minutes, 6 seconds
- Devin Blish, Makawao 58 minutes, 31 seconds
- Terrene Black, Australia – 1 hour
- Jenny Kalbach, Honolulu – 1hour, 1 minute and 1 second