Team OluKai Wins Last Race of Sailing Canoe Season, Sailing from Kalapaki to Waimea-Kauai
September 9, 2013, Kauai, HI – At the helm of master steersman, Marvin Otsuji, OluKai’s Team Kamakani Eleu (Energetic Wind) took home the winning title at this weekend’s Kendal cup, the seventh and final race of this year’s sailing canoe season and the 16th straight season title for the team.
As one of the oldest forms of transportation, islanders have launched canoes for thousands of years for food, battle, travel, and to visit family. Settling the Hawaiian Islands sometime between 1190 and 1290 A.D., Polynesians sailed on double-hulled voyaging canoes, navigating by the stars. Nearly lost in Hawaii until Hokule‘a, a modern-day replica of the traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe, rekindled interest in the ancient knowledge. The Hokule‘a helped launch the Hawaiian Cultural Renaissance of the 1970s, and with it, a resurgence of Hawaiian language, hula, arts, and passion for protecting the land. Today, the Hawaiian Sailing Canoe Association (HSCA) is perpetuating this culturally rich pastime through its annual season of seven races complemented by community events.
“The seven races are unique in that they take paddlers through the entire chain of the Hawaiian Islands, says Otsuji. “We start the season at the Big Island and finish up with our last race of the season, the Kendal Cup’s 45-mile course, from Kalapaki to Waimea-Kauai – a sort of homecoming for me and my team.”
Having led his rotating team of 8 all-star paddlers for their 16th consecutive season title, Otsuji is a tenacious leader in the sailing canoe community. Going on his 26th year in the sport, he is a prolific athlete with a passion for the ocean, speed, and competition.
As a part of OluKai’s hands-on approach to giving back, Team OluKai exemplifies the brand’s dedication to the education and preservation of the Polynesian culture and the community that surrounds it, established through OluKai’s ‘Ohana Giveback Program.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to continue to pursue my passion for sailing canoe, with an incredible team of paddlers, and the support of such an authentic, like-minded brand like OluKai. Our yellow and brown Makau (bone hook) sail has become a sort of icon for the sport and is a sail I am very proud to represent,” added Otsuji.