Gallery: 8th OluKai Hoolaulea
The 8th annual OluKai Hoʻolauleʻa, a three-day ocean festival, wrapped up on Sunday, May 1, with an eight-mile elite OC1 (outrigger canoes) and recreational OC2 race that saw more than 120 of the world's top paddlers battle it out along the famous Maliko Downwind Run on Maui's north shore. Paddlers couldn’t have asked for better conditions with straight-out-of-the-east, 15–20 knot winds at the start.
Australian Travis Grant, a resident of Oʻahu too first in the men's OC1 division with a time of 48:06, while Maui resident Lauren Spalding too first in the women's with 53:25.
“When you are out there, it is such a fun race. I really do think this is the race to do now,” says Spalding. “OluKai does such a good job of making the event really fun for everyone, not just athletes.”
Spalding has competed in this event three times to date and has won each time. This race was her return to competitive form after having a baby last year.
“I really have to give a shoutout—my hat’s off for appreciation to OluKai,” stated Spalding in regards to the company's equal gender purse prize. “You really don’t see that in sports, and especially in canoe paddling.”
The weekend’s races drew over 500 paddlers among the different competitions, which also included a stand-up paddle board race and the second of seven Hawaiian Sailing Canoe Association races that will cover the entire Hawaiian island chain.
But OluKai's Hoʻolauleʻa is about more than just the competition. On May 2, the OluKai team spent the day at the Waiheʻe Coastal Dunes Wetland Refuge on Maui, giving back to the community with cultural and environmental restoration activities including Kapu Kuʻialua (a traditional Hawaiian martial and disciplinary art) demonstrations, loʻi restoration and invasive species removal. The community day is part of the Ama OluKai Foundation’s mission of promoting the Hawaiian culture from its ancestral past to present day.
Below is a gallery of images from the three-day event: