This past weekend, we celebrated extended family and Hawaiian culture at our 5th annual Ho’olaule’a on May 11-12 in Maui, Hawaii. Event participants and festival goers gathered Saturday and Sunday for what has become one of the most celebrated festival and elite standup paddle competitions (SUP) in the world. With the largest gathering in its history, the event featured canoe sailing, surfing, ancient Hawaiian games, luau, hula, and a history making live music concert.
Competing for equal gender prize money of $15,000, SUP and OC1/OC2 (outrigger canoe 1 man/outrigger canoe 2 man) racers traveled from 10 countries and 15 mainland US states to compete in the Maliko Downwind run, one of the largest SUP races in the world which spans 8 miles of legendary open ocean and finishes with a 300 yard beach sprint.
The top 3 winners in men’s SUP included Connor Baxter taking 1st place and Dave Kalama and Kai Lenny taking 2nd and 3rd respectively. Taking 1st place in women’s SUP was Andrea Moller, followed by Talia Gangini in 2nd and Devin Blish in 3rd. In men’s OC1/OC2, Kai Bartlett finished 1st, Manny Kulukulualani 2nd, and the team of Dave Kalama and Junya McGurn finished 3rd. The top 3 in the women’s OC1/OC2 race were Lauren Spalding in 1st, Andrea Moller in 2nd and Dane Ward in 3rd.
In celebration of the competition and our giveback partners, we presented a musical history-making concert Saturday night featuring six of Hawaii’s top musical recording artists on one stage, for a Hawaiian Kanakapili style back yard jam; a style of Hawaiian music produced in an impromptu jam session. Paula Fuga, Kimie Miner, Justin Young, Ekolu Kalama and Hawaii’s hottest female recording artist and longtime OluKai brand partner, Anuhea, along with Billboard’s #1 Reggae artist, Mishka, played several of their original hits as well as special selections, traditional and modern, in various configurations with each other.
Consistent with our commitment to always giving back through our ‘Ohana Giveback program, OluKai made monetary donations in excess of $20,000 to the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association, Maui Cultural Lands, Lae Ula o Kai Canoe Club, Uhane O Waa Kaulua, Paia Youth and Cultural Center and Zenshin Daiko. And continuing with our hands-on approach to giving back, OluKai employees who qualified for travel to Ho’olaule’a by contributing a minimum of 20 hours of local service leading up to the event, wrapped up the weekend at the Maui Cultural Lands Giveback Day. Upwards of 100 local volunteers and OluKai staff traveled to Honokowai Valley, a cultural heritage preservation site to contribute efforts towards reforestation and archeological stabilization projects.
Through this one-of-a-kind festival experience, we want to thank everyone who helps support the event from special guests from major and specialty retailers including REI, Zappos, and Sport Chalet; professional paddlers driving the sport of SUP; cultural icons like Archie Kalepa; six renowned Hawaiian musicians; OluKai staff, and over 2,000 passionate locals and festivalgoers. Aloha.