Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage

Eternally inspired by the strong tradition of giving an offering or tribute in Polynesian culture, OluKai is honored to announce the brand’s partnership with the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage of prestigious sailing canoes, the Hōkūleʻa and Hikiananlia, built with the same ingenuity that brought the first Polynesians to the archipelago of Hawaii. OluKai will contribute time and product to the 3+ year Worldwide Voyage; the brand will supply SS15 products to all the proficient watermen and women who will crew the voyage to wear test and share their feedback on the performance of each shoe. The Hōkūleʻa represents a large part of OluKai’s company mission – honoring and preserving Hawaiian culture and traditions.

Officially departing Hawaii the week of May 26th, weather permitting, the Worldwide Voyage will highlight diverse cultural and natural treasures and the importance of working together to protect them. Covering 47,000 nautical miles, 85 ports and 26 countries, the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage will sail across the Earth’s oceans to join and grow the global movement toward a more sustainable world. Crew members on both the Hōkūleʻa and Hikiananlia will sail using the 3,000 year old traditional method of Polynesian deep sea navigation, with no modern instruments.

“As a company, we feel honored and humbled to partner with the remarkable Hōkūleʻa ‘Ohana,” says Kerry Konrady director of marketing at OluKai. “Over the course of the 3+ year Worldwide Voyage, the Hōkūleʻa and Hikiananlia will touch so many lives and spread such an important message of sustainability to benefit future generations to come.” 

OluKai Konohiki and legendary waterman, Archie Kalepa, will join the Hōkūleʻa for several legs of the journey from July to August.

“When I joined the OluKai ‘Ohana full-time as a Konohiki, I merged my commitment to preserving our local culture and traditions with that of OluKai’s strong commitment and dedication to the Polynesian culture,” says Kalepa. “The Malama Honua mission to provide knowledge to help better protect our Earth and spread Aloha is something that is very near and dear to my heart. I feel blessed to be a part of it.” 

The Hawaiian name for this voyage, Malama Honua, means “to take care of our Earth.” The Worldwide Voyage means to show the world how we can engage all of Island Earth – by practicing how to live sustainably, while sharing, learning, creating global relationships, and discovering the wonders of this precious place we all call home.


To learn more about the voyage visit:

Master Navigator Mau

In the heart of Honolulu, in an area known as Kaka’ako, muralist Kamea Hadar is caked in paint. Splatters, drops and dots have taken to his clothing and body like a second skin. He has two printed pieces of computer paper on the ground that he references after every few calculated strokes. There is a face on the paper and it is glaring at him. Fiercely. The face is of the late Master Navigator Mau Piailug.

Mau “Papa Mau” Piailug was a Micronesian navigator from the Carolinian island of Satawal, best known as a teacher of traditional, non­instrument wayfinding methods for deep­sea voyaging. Mau's Carolinian navigation system—which relies on navigational clues using the sun and stars, winds and clouds, seas and swells, and birds and fish ­ was passed down to him by his elders through teachings in the oral tradition.

The connection between Kamea’s mural and Papa Mau dates back to the early 1970’s and the start of the Polynesian Voyaging Society in Hawai’i. Many anthropologists believed that Polynesia was too vast to be navigated and was settled and discovered accidentally. A small group of educators and Native Hawaiians in Honolulu believed that ancient Polynesians purposely migrated to Hawai’i on double hulled canoes using non­instrument wayfinding methods, like the ones that Mau mastered. This small group formed the Polynesian Voyaging Society in 1973 and set out to confirm that belief by retracing those migrations with their newly built double hulled canoe named Hōkūle‘a (Star of Gladness). The only problem was, there were no Native Hawaiian navigators alive to provide teachings and information. They reached out to Papa Mau in Micronesia to come and teach them and he agreed. 

This was so significant because there were only six people alive in the world who knew this ancient artform and it was unusual for Master Navigators to teach pupils outside of their own culture (Mau being Micronesian and this group being Hawaiian). Through Polynesian Voyaging Society’s founder Dr. Ben Finney, Mau earned a special fellowship at the East­West Center at University of Hawai’i and began working with the Hōkūle‘a crew in 1975. The next year, 1976, he navigated Hōkūle‘a and crew to Tahiti on her maiden voyage where they were welcomed by 17,000 people ­ half the population of Tahiti. Over the next 30+ years, Papa Mau taught traditional navigation to many young Hawaiians and Micronesians. Before he passed in 2010, Papa gave Pwo status (Master Navigator) to five Polynesian Voyaging Society members in 2007: Nainoa Thompson, Bruce Blankenfeld, Chad Kalepa Baybayan, Milton “Shorty” Bertlemann and Chad ‘Onohi Paishon. These five members have gone on to teach many more, keeping the art of traditional navigation alive.

Which brings us back to Kaka’ako and Kamea staring into the eyes of his mural. It is late April 2014 and while Kamea is stroke by stroke working on this tribute to Papa Mau, the Polynesian Voyaging Society is preparing for the biggest Voyage in its 41 year history. Hōkūle'a and sister canoe Hikianalia will be sailing across Earth’s oceans for a 3 year Worldwide Voyage to expand the global movement toward a more sustainable future. Starting in late May 2014, this Voyage is being led by the five Pwo Navigators taught by Papa Mau from Polynesian Voyaging Society and their younger pupils. And so the artform lives on.

Kamea worked with a group of kids from 808 Urban and artist Keola Rapozo on structuring this mural located on the corner of Cooke and Auahi Streets.

“The 808 Urban kids are always excited to be a part of any project and to have a chance to paint a wall. All of them knew about Hōkūle‘a and Polynesian Voyaging Society, but many didn’t know who Papa Mau was,” said Hadar. “The project was a great way to educate the kids on who he was in a medium that was fun and interesting to them.”

Regarding the specific image of Papa Mau he chose, Kamea added, “I spoke to many people who knew Mau, including Pwo Navigators Bruce Blankenfeld and Nainoa Thompson, as well as 1976 maiden voyage crew member, Uncle Billy Richards. When I was down at Polynesian Voyaging Society headquarters a few of us were looking over photos and I was trying to decide which references to use for the portrait. I picked one that I really liked and without seeing it, Uncle Billy started to describe in great detail his favorite image of Papa Mau. It turned out to be the same photo! Uncle Billy said that it reminded him of a quote: "To be a navigator, you have to be fierce." I ended up painting that quote into the mural. He said that Papa Mau was an amazingly friendly and happy guy, but when he was on the water he was deadly serious about the job at hand. When we looked at the photo together Billy told me "that's the look, the fierce look that told you he'll get you there (Tahiti),” and that’s when I knew I had portrait for the mural.”

Most Epic Year For The 6th Annual Olukai Ho'olaule'a

Celebrating its most memorable year yet, OluKai brought together world class athletes, Hawaii’s top musical artists, community, key retailers and some of the most heartfelt moments, to its 6th 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 festivals, elite standup paddle (SUP) and outrigger canoe 1 man/2 man (OC1 & OC2) competitions in the world. With numerous inspirational and emotional moments throughout the event, including the human spirit-defining 4+ hour SUP paddle by Navy Seal veteran Kimo Akaka, the event featured canoe sailing, ancient Hawaiian games, luau, hula dancers and a 3 mile fun paddle. OluKai’s Giveback Day with Maui Cultural Lands on Monday gave OluKai a chance to give back to the community and pay homage to the land.

Competing for equal gender prize money of $15,000, SUP and OC1/OC2, 434 racers traveled from 9 countries and throughout the U.S. to compete in the Maliko Downwind run, one of the most prestigious SUP races in the world which spans 8 miles of infamous open ocean. The top 3 winners in men’s SUP included Connor Baxter taking 1st place for the third year in a row and Travis Grant and Jeremy Rigs taking 2nd and 3rd respectively. “Really stoked to be here at such a big event on Maui in my backyard, I train on this run every single day which definitely helped me,” stated Connor Baxter. Taking 1st place in women’s SUP was Andrea Moller for her unrivaled 6time win, followed by Sonni Honscheild in 2nd and Talia Gangini Decoite in 3rd. “Anytime that an event gives equal recognition to both men and women, it makes the sport grow bigger. What OluKai does with the Ho’olaule’a really helps the sport worldwide,” said Andrea Moller. For more information and full results of the SUP race, go to

In men’s OC1/OC2, Keakua Kaawa Nolan finished 1st, Kaihe Chong 2nd, and Daniel Chun in 3rd. The top 3 in the women’s OC1/OC2 race were Lauren Spalding in 1st for her second year in a row, Andrea Moller in 2nd and Rachel Bruntsh in 3rd. “I was thinking as I paddled that second place wasn’t so bad, but I put away the sheep and brought out the tiger,” said Lauren Spalding, as she clenched the title in the OC1 women’s elite. For more information on the OC1/OC2 races, go to

Following the luau and award ceremony, OluKai presented a concert Saturday featuring a full band performance by Anuhea, Mishka, and solo recording artist Paula Fuga, all longtime OluKai supporters.

One of the most notable moments during the event took place as Navy Seal veteran and extraordinary human being, Kimo Akaka made his decision to paddle the SUP race, a race that takes most an hour and a half on average, took Kimo 4+ strenuous hours. Kimo’s method of paddling is much different than others. A Navy Seal veteran for 17 years, Kimo suffered a stroke in 2011 that rendered him paraplegic, unable to feel or use any extremity other than his right arm. By strapping himself to the board and using his right arm to paddle and feet to steer, Kimo is able to navigate the water and ocean for which he loves most. When Kimo crossed the finish line, hundreds gathered in an emotional outpouring of support.

"I think I speak for everyone when I say how tremendously moving it was to be witness to Kimo’s unbelievable spirit and heart at this year’s Ho'olaule'a,” says OluKai director of marketing, Kerry Konrady.  "The Aloha that was shared during his decent to the finish line and his unsurpassed determination was something we will all have with us forever."

In a moving acknowledgement of Ralph Goto, retired Administrator of the Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division, Archie Kalepa, OluKai konohiki and legendary waterman, honored Goto for his contributions to the water rescue program. Additionally a proclamation was heard by the Mayor of the County of Maui, Alan Arakawa.

Finally, as the weekend came to a close, OluKai employees, guests and local volunteers gathered Monday for OluKai’s Annual Giveback Day, under the guidance of esteemed giveback partner, Maui Cultural Lands. Traveling to Kaheawa Beach, a windmill site referred to as Wao Akua (translation: realm of the gods), the team planted Koa trees, contributing efforts towards a reforestation and archeological stabilization project that will benefit generations to come. 

For more information on the event please see links below, including:

SUP Race Results 

OC1-2 Race Results

- Event Photos

View the Inspiring story of Kimo Akaka

Mark your calendars for next year’s event on May 2-3, 2015!