May 16, 2010
2010 OluKai Ho'olaule'a
The 2nd annual OluKai Ho'olaule'a Ocean Festival was held this past weekend on May 15th and 16th 2010, at Kanaha Beach Park, Maui, celebrating the ocean lifestyle, island culture, tradition, giving back, and family. This year’s event nearly doubled in size with approximately 300 paddlers and thousands of spectators, friends, and family members. The race course followed the famous 8-mile Maliko “downwinder” finishing at the Lae ‘Ula O Kai Canoe Club at Kanaha Beach Park, Maui. Conditions were ideal with clear skies, 12-knot trade winds and wind-swell helping to propel paddlers down the course. Sharon Balidoy opened both race days with a beautiful Pule
– a traditional Hawaiian blessing. Soon after paddlers set out to the starting line. Both races began around 11, with the top competitors finishing under an hour and the last competitors finishing just under 2 hours. Saturday’s SUP race included additional danger and excitement with several tiger sharks circling competitors throughout the race. Fortunately, the sharks decided not to take a bite out of any of the SUP boards or competitors. The finale of both courses made for dramatic finish that engaged cheering friends, families, and spectators. The OC1 race featured a 180 degree buoy turn with a 300 yard up-wind paddle to the finish, while the SUP race finished with a strenuous 300 yard beach run. Livio Menelau, originally from Brazil, but now living in Haiku, Maui, California's Danny Ching, and local favorite Dave Kalama stayed together in front of the pack throughout the SUP race. Ching led for the first half before Menelau found several surge swells to take the lead. He took first place in the men’s Elite SUP race with a time of 0:52:37.3, less than 100 yards ahead of Ching and Kalama. Danny Ching came back Sunday to win the OC1 Elite race with a shockingly fast time of 0:46:37.9. Andrea Moller defended her 2009 OluKai Ho’olaule’a sweep by winning both the Womens Elite SUP and Elite OC1 races back-to-back. The top 6 finishers in the elite division of both races took home portions of the $15,000 prize purse, with equal prize money for the men’s and women’s division of each racing discipline. Race Results: Men’s SUP Elite:
1st Livio Menelau, Maui - 00:52:37.3 2nd Danny Ching , CA - 00:53:24.8 3rd Dave Kalama, Maui - 00:54:23.8 Women’s SUP Elite:
1st Andrea Moller, Maui - 00:57:50.6 2nd Devin Blish, Maui - 01:04:36.5 3rd Rachel Bruntsch, Oahu - 01:05:44.8 Men's OC1 Elite:
1st Danny Ching, CA - 00:46:38.0 2nd Austin, Jimmy, Oahu - 00:46:50.0 3rd Travis Grant, AUS - 00:47:34.0 Women’s OC1 Elite:
1st Moller, Andrea, Maui - 00:53:25.6 2nd Emili Janchevis, Maui - 00:55:11.0 3rd Dane Ward, Maui - 00:55:37.4 Beyond the races, the community enjoyed traditional Hawaiian games hosted by Maui Cultural Lands, sailing canoe rides OluKai’s Team Kamakakoa, and a delicious traditional luau dinner hosted by Lae ‘Ula O Kai canoe club. John Cruz was introduced with a dramatic plumeria drop over the crowd followed by a traditional Hawaiian conch blowing ceremony, and Oli chant by Vene Chun. In between musical sets, Hula Halau Alapa'i I Maluuluolele performed to the delight of the crowd. John Cruz gave an amazing performance that served as the perfect compliment to the family-friendly ocean lifestyle and island culture. Through the event, we were able to present over $20,000 in giveback donations to our ‘Ohana Giveback partners: Maui Cultural Lands, the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association's Jr. Lifeguard Program, Team Kamakakoa of the Hawaiian Sailing Canoe Association, and hosts Lae ‘Ula O Kai canoe club. The Inaugural Ed Lindsey award was bestowed upon head Maui lifeguard Archie Kalepa for his ongoing cultural leadership and mentorship. Ross Kaaa, master woodcarver and canoe steersman, was recognized with a custom made ukulele for his commitment to Hawaiian values and countless contributions to OluKai culture over the years. Mahalo nui loa to all the paddlers, friends, families, and volunteers that helped make the 2nd annual OluKai Ho’olaule’a a special event!
Mahalo nui loa to the County of Maui, Lae’Ula O Kai Canoe Club, Maui Cultural Lands, Team Kamakakoa, Hawaiian Lifeguard Association, Mary Kielty and her ocean safety crew, Ocean Paddler TV, Vine Chun, John Cruz, and all the paddlers, friends, and families for making this a truly special event.