MAUI, Hawaii - Maui, Hawaii holds a profound significance in the world of stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). The island has played a vital role in shaping the global SUP community. From iconic athletes to visionary shapers and pioneering brands, Maui's contribution to the sport's evolution is unparalleled.
There are no words to describe the devastating loss that the Maui community has endured over the last week. On August 8, 2023 five separate wildfires ripped through the island hitting Pulehu, 2x Kula communities, Olinda and the west side of Maui, Hawaii. Of the island-wide fires, hit hardest was the beloved town of Lahaina which was completely obliterated. Everything was lost. Lives, history, homes, schools. The death toll is continuously rising and hundreds are still missing. It has officially been declared the deadliest natural disaster in Hawaii's history and the deadliest in the USA in more than a century. It's been a real-life nightmare. But through all the devastation something truly beautiful has emerged: the power of community.
While those directly impacted by the fires face the destruction of their homes, lives, and history, which have impacted the people deeply, the outpouring of Aloha that has brought everyone together to support the people of the Lahaina community and Maui island as a whole has been incredible to witness. The Maui and Hawaiian Island community stepped up to the plate to support their family, friends, and even complete strangers who had lost everything and had no resources for even basic essentials like food and water. Among these community members were SUP legends, Kai Lenny, Zane Schweitzer and Slater Trout, all who call Maui home.
Lenny, Schweitzer, Trout and many other local watermen, waterwomen and community members have helped to mobilize relief efforts, fundraisers, and support for those affected by the fires, and they've been getting much-needed supplies and funds directly to the families in need showcasing the deep bonds that tie Maui's water sports culture to its island-wide spirit of unity. They've been using their large platforms to bring awareness to the disaster and getting information out to public on how to help whether you're on island or across the world.
The story of Maui's recent fires is one of resilience, rebirth, and the enduring connection between a vibrant island community and the sport that has become its legacy. As the island heals and rebuilds, its significance in the world of stand-up paddleboarding continues to shine brightly. From legendary athletes who first paddled its shores to visionary shapers who shaped the future of SUP, Maui's imprint on the sport is both profound and everlasting. If you'd like to show the Maui community your support there are a number of ways and places to donate:
- Maui Food Bank
- Hawaii Community Foundation
- Direct Fundraisers to Maui families
- Slater Trout's Fundraiser
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