Conditions are Perfect for 7th Annual OluKai Hoʻolauleʻa
By Maui Now Staff
Saturday May 2, 2015
The 7th annual three-day OluKai Hoʻolauleʻa ocean festival kicked off yesterday, Friday, May 1, on Maui’s North Shore with “Demo Day.” The inaugural event offered the opportunity to try out the latest boards and equipment, meet the pros and gain valuable last-minute race tips.
The 2015 OluKai Hoʻolauleʻa is set to be the biggest in the event’s history bringing together approximately 600 of the world’s elite paddlers to race the famous Maliko Downwind Run for the gender-equal prize purse of $15,000.
In addition to a strong contingent of Hawaiʻi’s homegrown talent, competitors have traveled from the Mainland and all corners of the globe–Canada, Australia, Japan, Brazil, United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Israel, Puerto Rico, French Polynesia and the Virgin Islands.
The conditions are tipped to be near perfect for the eight-mile Stand Up Paddle (SUP) race on Saturday, May 1, at noon, with 12 to 18 knot winds and open water swells rolling down the coast.
“There’s a pre-race buzz here on Maui as we come together for this highly anticipated race and to celebrate our love of both the sport and the ocean lifestyle we’re so fortunate to have,” said legendary big wave surfer and OluKai Konohiki (caretaker) Archie Kalepa.
“We invite everyone to join in the festivities of OluKai Hoʻolauleʻa by taking part in the three-mile ‘Ohana Fun Paddle, or enjoy complimentary surfing canoe rides and watch the SUP demonstrations,” said Kalepa. “It’s about embracing Hawaiian culture. We have games, a lūau and live music by one of my favorite Maui bands, Nuff Said.
Three-time OluKai Hoʻolauleʻa winner and Maui local Connor Baxter is the race favorite, with Kody Kerbox and Dave Kalama marked as hot contenders.
For the women, six-time consecutive winner Andrea Moller has been touted as hard to beat; however she is expected to face fierce competition from international paddlers.
The festivities kicked off at 8 a.m. at Pāʻia Bay with the ‘Ohana Fun Paddle and conclude at Kanaha Beach Park at 4 p.m. after the awards ceremony.
OluKai Ho’olaule’a will be filmed in HD and broadcast internationally, courtesy of OluKai media partner, Ocean Paddler TV.
For more information, go online.
Share your experience: @olukai #olukairace #anywherealoha.