By Clare Seeger Mawae
Makani Ikaika O Molokai stayed true to the name with the blessings from local kupunas.
Twenty-plus mph winds and a sprinkle of rain at Kamalo gave the organizers and competitors something to be excited about. Fourteen registered participants, plus organizers, family and friends gathered at Kamalo on Saturday for the briefing of the day.
Safety was the key and mahalo to Keola, Daniel and Russell who showed up in their one-man canoes to escort the kids and chaperone them to the finish line of Hotel Molokai. Due to the strong wind, the kids were limited to the short course. Only experienced adult watermen and woman took the stage at Kamalo starting precisely at 1 p.m.
The other adults and youth gathered at One Ali’i for the short course. As Keala Freeman, leading the Kamalo pack, passed by, the countdown began for the second group. The conch shell blew and Kekai Adachi shot out to the front of his pack taking the lead instantly and finishing in a time of 41 minutes, 38 seconds. Seconds behind was Tanner Mosher taking second place in the youth division. Young 8 year-old Slater Oswald came in third place.
Keala Freeman took first place once again in the Kamalo pack, landing on the beach at Hotel Molokai in a time of 1:36.39. Steve Bloom and Boki Chung shared second place.
Mother and daughter duo, Jesseca and Kaydence Oswald, once again took first place in their divisions for the short course.
Finally, in the family fun division from Ali’i fishpond, newly turned 8 year-old Paul Gamit finished in a credible time for his first race — 19 minutes, 32 seconds.
Perhaps the most important part of the day that all experienced was that everyone was in harmony with the wind. As Steve Bloom described it, “ This was like one of those perfect powder snow skiing days.” It was just that as adults and kids took to the water, some for their first time with distance.
This day was an incredible ocean experience for 2011, not just for racing but also for being out in the elements.
The next race is Saturday, April 2, with a noon check in at Kamalo. See you then …