Changing Channels: Destination 3° women paddle Kauai Channel, complete 6 of 7 Hawaiian crossings

Oahu to Kauai: Morgan Hoesterey and Jenny Kalmbach a step closer to being the first women to cross the Hawaiian Islands by SUP

“They paddled through a sunset and a sunrise and the pitch black of a full moon covered by clouds. They had monster swells rise out of the darkness. Their only light was from the escort boat, but they had to paddle in the choking exhaust to really “enjoy” the glow. From the boat all we could see were their glow sticks: Morgan was green, Jenny red, and Jeff yellow. They would disappear into the darkness between swells.” — Jennifer Holcomb, recounting the 72-mile non-stop crossing from the crew’s support boat

On Saturday (May 1), Jenny Kalmbach (pictured on the homepage) and Morgan Hoesterey completed the Ka’ie’iewaho channel in 16 hours, crossing 72 miles from Oahu to Kauai on standup paddleboards. It was the sixth in their seven-channel quest – Destination 3° – to link together the Hawaiian island chain via the legendary open-ocean channels that separate them, and makes them the first women, and two of only five people, known to have crossed on standup paddleboards.

See more on the adventure:

After being delayed 12 hours for winds, Hoesterey and Kalmbach launched from Kaena Point on Oahu at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, April 30. They paddled through the sunset, through the pitch black of the night, arriving at Nawiliwili Harbor on Kauai 16 hours and 3 minutes later, just after dawn. Hoesterey and Kalmbach each paddled the entire channel, forgoing any type of relay to arrive together on Kauai as the first two women to complete such a feat on stand-up paddleboards.

Conditions at the start were calm, with virtually no wind or swell, but in the black of night and through to the morning, 15-ft swells rolled through from the east. Clouds obscured the moon, leaving only the lights from their escort boats to guide them. Illuminated only by the colored glow sticks and small strobes on their water-packs, the women paddled through the dark, relying on their other senses to navigate the rough conditions.

Destination 3° is a way to use one of the world’s fastest growing sports – standup paddling – to raise awareness of one of the oceans’ most pressing issues: plastics contamination. Hoesterey and Kalmbach are paddling to raise awareness for the Algalita Marine Research foundation and its mission to quantify the issue and the impact of plastics contamination on the marine environment and by extension, the human food chain.

On each island, Hoesterey and Kalmbach have documented the pervasive plastic litter both above and below the waterline. Strong currents carry plastics from around the world to Hawaii’s beaches, and inhabited or not, no beach yet has not been afflicted.

Destination 3° has crossed the six channels so far: the Alenuihaha (40 miles) from Big Island to Maui; the Kealakahiki (4 miles) between Maui and Molokini; 12 miles in the Au’au channel from Maui to Lanai’i; a 15-mile stretch in the Pailolo channel from to Maui to Molokai; 32 miles in the Kaiwi from Molokai to Oahu and the Ka’ie’iewaho. They’ve also paddled along Molokai’s famous 3,000-foot sea cliffs, the world’s tallest.

Up next is the Kaulakahi channel between Kauai and Niihau and finally a trek along the Na Pali coast of Kauai before returning home.

About Algalita

The Algalita Marine Research Foundation is dedicated to the protection of the marine environment and its watersheds through research, education, and restoration. Learn more at

About Destination 3°

Destination 3° is Jenny Kalmbach and Morgan Hoesterey’s standup paddle adventure across the three degrees of latitude that separate the islands of Hawaii and the nine legendary channels that link them together. Learn more at and on Facebook at Destination 3° (degrees), or on Twitter at 3degreepaddle.