By Clare Seeger Mawae
Molokai’s young paddler Alex Mawae who just turned 13 years old was determined to do the Maui 2 Molokai race and form his team under the banner of Molokai’s non-profit organization, Youth in Motion. The forecast was looking promising with ENE winds and a nice 15-20mph blowing in the channel and for Team Youth in Motion the focus and determination was strong. On Saturday 18th July, the Maui 2 Molokai race took off from Honolulu Bay on May with a 27 mile course to Kaunakakai Harbor. Team Youth in Motion consisted of Alex Mawae, 13 years, Kalia Alexiou and Annie Reickert both 14 years old.
The race had nice steady winds for most of the race and nothing too hectic with some great swells for the kids to ride. Kalia charged off the start staying up with the pack and started to work their way on the more Northern line to Molokai. Next up was Alex all pumped up to keep that line going so they could gain the downwind momentum as they got closer to Molokai. Annie another charger and again worked her way up on the Northern line gaining ground on the paddlers in front.
It did not take long before the kids got them selves up on a sweet ride to the Kamalo buoy picking off the paddlers riding the bumps and maximizing on their fluid speed. Team Youth in Motion were on fire and with every person they passed, the team got stronger and more determined to finish the race under 5 hours.
Kamalo buoy the home stretch and Alex’s paddling grounds proved to be the most fun with some epic glides and dolphins riding the bumps along side them. Every change the kids did was smooth and fluid all working together as a team. The kids did awesome making the most of the twenty minutes ocean time giving it their all. When the wind dropped in the last few miles, it did not matter to the kids as their energetic excitement was at an all time high. They used this extra energy to their advantage to pump strength back into their bodies while the other paddlers were fading with exhaustion.
Alex Mawae and his team finished in 4hr 50 mins,1st place overall in the mixed division, 58th overall out of 84. The team was certainly in synch for this crossing all wanting to give it their all and not let the others down. Watch out for these kids, they are the future champions of the channel!
By Clare Seeger Mawae
Molokai is prominent in the paddling circles whether it is OC1, OC6, Ski or SUP as Molokai is hailed as the official center of the World Championship long distance paddle races. After watching one too many events finish on Molokai, and to see that every competitor left within a few hours of arrival, was when Molokai 4 Molokai was conceived. The 8.5 mile race course continued on from where the Molokai Holokai left off and prior to that the Molokai Challenge with the first Maui 2 Molokai races when Maui’s own 8yr old Connor Baxter, 10 year old Kai Lenny, and Zane Schweitzer got their first taste of channel crossings.
At 1pm on Sunday 19th July, the wind was starting to look good for the M4Molokai2015, as paddlers made their way up to Kamalo Harbor. This year there were two courses long and short and 4 categories with 12 divisions. The event was blessed with the presence of Keith Reagan, Herman Andaya and Sharon Zalsos from the County of Maui at the start of the race. Kamalo was bustling with activity, and a beautiful pule by Clay Ching. The SUP paddlers started at 2.30 pm with a sea of orange shirts making a beautiful contrast against the blue of the ocean. The OC1’s started out at the Kamalo buoy 15 mins after the SUP paddlers, and the short course paddlers took off from Kakahaia Beach Park 30 minutes after the first start.
Jeremy Riggs from Maui took the honors for this years SUP race, with Vinnie Martins from Brazil in second and Tomo Murabayashi from Japan taking 3 rd place overall. In the Women’s SUP division it was Gail Walker from the US Virgin Islands, Lena Ribeiro from Brazil and Youth In Motion’s 2015 team member Kali’a Alexiou in 3rd place. Both Alex Mawae and Kalia took the win in the Juniors division.
The OC 1 race was the race, between two local boys Kamakou Mariano and James Pua Spencer fighting it out in the last mile with Kamakou taking the final victory. James took 2nd and 16 yr old Jake Samaniego in 3rd. The Molokai women were just as intense with Liliana Napolean taking the overall win, Cammie Kimball in 2nd and Desiree Puhi in 3rd
The short course consisted of the recreational paddler and this was an awesome fun group. They paddled for fun but yet had the competitive and fun spirit keeping the grass roots of paddling alive. Winning in the short course was Kana Marutani from Japan.
M4Molokai was claimed by many as one of the best events in Hawaii. Everyone had fun from the racers, to the spectators and the community to the sponsors and entertainment, to the chefs and volunteers. This race was all about Molokai and after all Molokai is hailed as the center for the World Championship races of Long Distance Paddling, so why not let Molokai host its own event. Molokai4Molokai will be back for 2016.
Written by: Clare Seeger Mawae