The third annual Paddle Imua Benefit is set for Saturday, May 3. The “FUN-raiser” follows Maliko Downwind Run and concludes at the Hawaiian Canoe Club in Kahului. Proceeds from the Paddle Imua event benefit Camp Imua, a 37-year-old tradition that takes place in June at Camp Maluhia on the West Maui Mountains. For one week, more than 50 special needs campers and more than 250 volunteers come together for crafts, games, swimming, horseback riding, helicopter rides, camp fire and community. The 2014 Camp Imua is scheduled for June 15-19.
Paddle Imua is the fastest growing multiple discipline ocean paddle “fun race” open to men and women of all ages in SUP OC1, Prone Paddleboard, and men’s Surf Ski, according to Imua and title sponsor BLUESMITHS Crafted Waterwear. The race also includes a SUP relay featuring SIC Racing Airglide Series inflatable boards, which will take place at the Canoe Club after the main race finshes.
“BLUESMITHS Crafted Waterwear is proud to be involved again in what is fast becoming a great Maui based event and we hope to raise yet more much needed funds for Camp Imua whilst also having some great water conditions with family and friends,” said company founder John Smalley. “We hope to see you all there, whether you’re a paddler or a supporter.”
This year’s honorary chair is veteran Paddle Imua spokesperson Andrea Moller–championship winning stand up paddler, big wave surfer and supporter of children with special needs. “It is all about the kids,” Moller said in a statement. “I think it’s inspiring to have an event like this. My entire stand up career, I have not seen anything like this, so I am really glad to be a part of it. I am stoked that we have this race and to see all the children also being a part of it.”
Joining Moller as co-honorary chair is 18-year-old Nikilani Rojas, a Camp Imua participant. Rojas was born with developmental delays and was eventually diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. With the help of Moller, Rojas has been able to enjoy the sport of Stand Up Paddle and will represent Hawaii in the Special Olympics this June. Moller also will be joined by distinguished water athletes including Livio Menelau, Tim Lara and Dane Ward.
Registration and check-in will begin at 10:00 a.m. at Maliko Gulch, and the race will begin promptly at 1 p.m. While the paddlers are out on the water, there will be water and land activities for the special needs kamali’i of Camp Imua between 12pm and 3pm at Hawaiian Canoe Club. There will be food available for purchase at 3pm with the awards presentation to follow at 4:30pm. Trophies will be given to the top three finishers in each division. For specific race or division information, visit the event site at paddleimua.com.
Online registration is currently live. The race fee is $50 before May 1 at midnight, and $70 for final registration on race day (May 3). The first 150 race registrants will receive a Paddle Imua swag bag. Food and refreshments will be provided by Maui Brewing Company and Nuka Maui.
Additional supporters include Hawaiian Canoe Club, Zevenbergen Capital Investments LLC, Deep Relief Maui, Newf Surfboard Net, Goofy Foot Surf School Maui, Alaska Airlines, Handsome Bugga Production, Tropic Water, Ke Nalu Paddles, Perfect Foods Bar, Da Bounce Party Rentals, Planet Sun Lumeria Maui, and SIC is the official board sponsor of Paddle Imua.
Paddle Imua will present its first annual #ipaddleout Instagram video campaign. Ocean sport athletes all over the world have plugged in to Instagram to declare #ipaddleout for children with special needs. This campaign has gone viral, accumulating thousands of impressions on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, according to organizers. To be a part of the movement, connect with the event on Facebook and Instagram at facebook.com/paddleimua and @paddleimua.
“We are so excited for this third annual Paddle Imua event and to watch it grow into a nationally and internationally recognized event,” said Imua Executive Director Dean Wong.
For more information about Imua Family Services, visit the Imua Family Services Website at imuafamilyservices.org/paddle-imua or call 808-244-7467. For race logistics, contact Maile John at Imua Family Services at [email protected] or at 808-244-7467. For more information about BLUESMITHS Crafted Waterwear, visit bluesmiths.com or contact John Smalley at [email protected]
Photo: Sean M. Hower