Do you enjoy the beach? Fun games? Good music and quality entertainment? Ono kine grinds? Breathing? Would you like the chance to win $1,500? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should definitely check out the OluKai Ho’olaule’a. But, before you do, I’m going to drop some knowledge on you, so you don’t look like Kimbo Slice at his last UFC fight. Trust me; you’ll thank me the next time you’re at bar trivia night. Take notes, everybody.
SUP=stand-up paddleboard. OC1=outrigger canoe, one person. Maliko Downwinder=a legendary eight-mile stretch of water from Maliko Gulch to the Lae ‘Ula O Kai Canoe Club at Kanaha Beach Park. Everyone got that? Good. Time to use them in a sentence. This weekend, OluKai will be holding its annual Ho’olaule’a, with an eight-mile downwinder for both SUP and OC1. Last year’s event was a big success, and this year promises to be even better.
For “elite” (experienced watermen/women) competitors, there’s a chance at $1,500 in either the men’s or women’s categories for SUP or OC1. For recreational watermen/women, there are fabulous gifts, trophies and, of course, bragging rights. But hey, a day of fun in the sun means everyone wins. For serious. If you decide not to compete, but are a waterperson hopeful, you can be treated to a ride in Team OluKai’s sailing canoe, Kamakakoa.
Even people who don’t want to get wet should check this thing out (but really, why wouldn’t you want to get wet?). Maui Cultural Lands will be hosting free Hawaiian games; maybe you won’t be able to SUP or OC1, but you can dominate at Ulu Maika (lawn bowling), Moa Pahe’e (dart sliding), Konane (checkers) or Hukihuki (tug-of-war). Not only will you be spending quality time with the ‘ohana, you’ll be celebrating rich Hawaiian culture (and maybe kicking some butt while you’re at it). Of course, it wouldn’t be a real celebration without food. Event-goers will be treated to an authentic luau dinner, complete with live hula performances from Hula Halau Alapa’i I Maluuluolele.
If feast, family and fun aren’t enough to get you out to the Ho’olaule’a, maybe the soulful strummings of John Cruz are. Award-winning (including several Na Hoku awards and a Grammy) Cruz was named Hawaii Magazine’s Best Singer Songwriter in 2008. This is a distinction Cruz deserves for his warm style, which incorporates multiple genres ranging from slack-key and folk to blues and reggae. It’s the kind of music you can eat and drink and sing to all day—kanikapila in the old Hawaiian way. And it’s the perfect music to accompany these weekend-long festivities.
While you’re enjoying yourself, you can bask in the knowledge that part of the proceeds benefit the OluKai ‘Ohana Giveback Program, whose beneficiaries include the Hawaiian Junior Lifeguard Program and Maui Cultural Lands. Think of it as inspiring and encouraging the new wave of responsible, Hawaii-minded waterpeople.
Whether or not you’ll be competing, the OluKai Ho’olaule’a is worth showing up for. Because no matter what, on Maui, we do it island-style. Even if that means racing from the mountain to the ocean, from the windward to the leeward side and, yes, getting wet.