Industry News 5/5/2015

EVENT: Record numbers for 7th Annual OluKai Ho'olaule'a

The 7th annual OluKai Ho'olaule'a three-day ocean festival last weekend, May 1-3, 2015, attracted the most elite OC1 downwind paddling field ever assembled for an international ocean paddling race while also attracting the biggest names globally in the sport of stand up paddling (SUP).

A record crowd of more than 600 paddlers took to the ocean representing 11 U.S. Mainland states and countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, French Polynesia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Puerto Rico, Spain, United Kingdom and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Around 2,000 people turned up to cheer on the competitors and enjoy the free Hawaiian games and cultural activities. While OluKai Ho'olaule'a is one of the world’s premier ocean paddling races, the event honors Hawaii’s ocean lifestyle and stands as a reminder to live pono with a conscious decision to do the right thing for others, ourselves and the environment.

Ocean conditions on the famous Maliko Downwind Run on Maui’s North Shore were described as ‘epic’ the entire weekend with consistent 15-20 knot winds and 3-5ft swells that produced the fastest time in the event’s history for the Men’s Elite SUP race.

The 20 year-old Maui paddler, Connor Baxter, clocked an impressive 44:25 with a 5:34 mile average for his fourth consecutive win of the OluKai Ho'olaule'a Elite Men’s SUP division.

The Brazil born and raised Maui resident, Andrea Moller, the undisputed Queen of the Ocean,” won back-to-back titles by taking out first place in both the Women’s Elite SUP and OC1 divisions, notching up her seventh OluKai Ho'olaule'a wins.

Honolulu’s Jimmy Austin scored an unexpected victory in the Men’s OC1, in the most elite field of OC1 paddlers ever assembled for an international ocean paddling race. With downwind surfing Austin’s biggest strength, the father of two largely credits the perfect swell conditions for his win.

Legendary big wave surfer and OluKai Konohiki (caretaker), Archie Kalepa, said that the aloha of “OluKai Ho'olaule'a just keeps growing year after year. “From its humble beginnings, the festival set out to be a celebration of the ocean lifestyle we’re so blessed to have, and this still remains our priority today.  It’s an opportunity to bring  together our ?ohana from all corners of the globe while respectfully honoring and preserving the cultural history of Hawaii.”

The OluKai Ho'olaule'a continued yesterday for close to 100 Olukai ?ohana who participated in a ‘Giveback Day’ lending a hand to Maui’s Waihe’e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge Project. The day officially launched the new Ama OluKai Foundation which strives to support the efforts of those who preserve local cultures and traditions.

OluKai Ho'olaule'a will be filmed in HD and broadcast internationally courtesy of OluKai media partner, Ocean Paddler TV.  The broadcast date is yet to be announced.

 Full race results from the weekend are available here.

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