KAHULUI, Maui - The 8th annual OluKai Hoʻolauleʻa, a three-day ocean festival that takes place on the coast of Maui wrapped up last night, capping off a jam packed weekend that recognized this year’s winning performances in the leading international downwind paddling competition. The races hosted participants from all over the globe including the sports leading elite SUP and OC1 competitors.
A record crowd of more than 515 paddlers took to the ocean representing over 18 countries including Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, French Polynesia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Puerto Rico, Spain, United Kingdom and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Around 1500 people turned up to cheer on the competitors, enjoy Hawaiian games and cultural activities, and listen to award winning reggae band, The Green, play an impromptu hour-long acoustic set. While OluKai’s Hoʻolauleʻa is one of the world's premier ocean paddling races, the event also honors the Hawaiian culture and ocean lifestyle.
Ocean conditions on the Maliko Downwind Run on Maui's North Shore were perfect the entire weekend with consistent 20 knot winds that produced what is being hailed as the ‘most epic conditions ever for this race. The Elite Men's SUP division was dominated by 22 year-old Maui paddler, Starboard athlete Connor Baxter, who clocked 47:41 with a 5:58 mile average for his fifth consecutive win. The Men’s OC1 was won by Australia’s Travis Grant (NSP), for the first time, with an impressive 48:06 finish among an elite field of competitors.
The women’s divisions both provided new champions this year. In the Women’s SUP, SIC Maui's Sonni Hönscheid, hailing from Germany, who has competed in this race four times, even placing second last year, took home the championship title with a time of 57:12. Maui local Lauren Spalding claimed the win in the OC1 event with a time of 53:25. Spalding has competed in this event three times to date and has won each time.
Photos via: Olukai
The OluKai Hoʻolauleʻa continued yesterday for over 100 OluKai ʻOhana who participated in a 'Giveback Day' lending a hand to Maui Cultural Lands, a grassroots land trust organization, as part of Ama OluKai Foundation’s mission in Hawaii. OluKai Hoʻolauleʻa will be filmed in HD and broadcast internationally courtesy of OluKai media partner, Ocean Paddler TV.
OluKai is a sought after lifestyle brand that believes everyone, no matter where they are, can live Aloha. OluKai products feature thoughtful design elements and handcrafted details inspired by the ocean lifestyle. We are committed to partnering with best-of-class retailers with whom we share an unwavering pursuit of excellence. OluKai's spirit is shared by others through the Ama OluKai Foundation, a 501(c)(3) created to formalize the company’s giveback initiatives. Every OluKai sold supports Ama OluKai Foundation’s mission in Hawaii. For more information visit www.OluKai.com or #AnywhereAloha.