By Clare Seeger Mawae
Eleven-year-old Josie and 9-year-old Alex Mawae have been steadily paddling with Youth in Motion’s stand-up paddling program over the past year.
In July of 2011, the two raced in the annual Naish Maui International Paddleboard Championship racing from Maliko Gulch to Kahului Harbor, a distance of 9.6 miles. They also paddled from Maui to Molokai in August 2011. Over the past few months, they have been consistently paddling and racing Kamalo to Kaunakakai Harbor, which led up to racing at the Quicksilver waterman Waikiki Paddle Festival on Oahu this past weekend, May 5 and 6.
With over 600 entries during the course of the weekend, this was a huge event for these two young Molokai paddlers. Paddlers from around Hawaii, the mainland, Australia and Tahiti showed up to the shores of Waikiki. Both Josie and Alex fared well considering there were just a handful of youth to take on the adults.
Saturday was the short courses going around buoys and paddling fast on a two-mile course. Neck and neck into the last turn of the buoy, Josie finished in front of her brother taking 58th and Alex 59th place in their division. They were not the last.
Sunday was the big day with the long distance race leaving Hawaii Kai to the Hilton in Waikiki a total distance of 9.6 miles and a little bit of a south swell. The winds were light in comparison to the raging winds of Molokai and both kids earned respect from their adult peers, as they were the youngest to take on such a course.
With the winds dropping under difficult conditions, Alex had no choice but to come in before Diamond Head due to time limits, but Josie continued on. Rounding Diamond Head the swell picked up and surfing was now the skill. Josie finished with huge smiles on her face having paddled amongst an international fleet of surfskis, OC1’s, paddleboards, and multiple SUP divisions. She finished 11th in the women’s open 12-foot-6 SUP division.
Next on the agenda for these two young Molokai paddlers was the Olukai Race on Maui on May 12, Molokai Holokai on May 19 and World Paddle Association (WPA) Hawaii Region Nationals, a seven-mile downwinder from Sunset Beach to Haleiwa Beach on June 9.
Coverage of the Quicksilver Waikiki Paddle Festival can be found on Oceanic channel 250 where these two young Molokai paddlers were announced to the world in their finish on the Saturday’s race.