The third annual OluKai Ho’olaule’a standup paddle race went off to clear skies and 15-25 knot tradewinds Saturday so Kai Bartlett and defending champion Andrea Moller of Brazil took advantage. Both athletes, who double as OC1 paddlers, finished this year’s elite downwind race on Maui’s classic 8-mile Maliko run in record time.
Bartlett set a new bar on the Elite SUP course with a time of 49:02 while Livio Menela finished second at 49:19 and Ekolu Kalama was third at 51:39.
A big wave surfer as well, Moller’s new record time of 55:42 bested 17-year-old Tailia Gangini at 59:25 and Devin Blish at 59:40, who finished second and third respectively in the Women’s Elite SUP. The men's and women's elite finalist shared a gender equal prize purse of $7,500.
This year's SUP race, that ended at the Lae “Ula O Kai Canoe Club at Kanaha Beach Park, nearly doubled in size with over 200 paddlers and hundreds of spectators, friends, and family members.
The Ho'olaule'a also expanded to include an "Ohana Fun Paddle". A 3-mile, non-competitive, non-timed paddle for ocean enthusiast of all ages and all skill levels. The "Ohana Fun Paddle" added to Saturday afternoon’s action, with some 100 participants starting at the Piai Youth and Cultural Center and ending at Kanaha Beach Park.
Part of the proceeds from the OluKai Ho'olaule'a go to the OluKai 'Ohana Giveback Program. Beneficiaries include the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association/Junior Lifeguard Program, Maui Cultural Lands and Team Kamakakoa, champions of the Hawaiian Sailing Canoe Association. For more info go to Olukai.com
Updated on May 23, 2011.