By Clare Seeger Mawae
Eight weeks ago, the M4M (Molokai-4-Molokai) was born with the idea of keeping paddlers on Molokai for another race the day after completing the Maui-to-Molokai World Cup of SUP.
With much discussion after the last Maui-to-Molokai canoe race in April, the M4M idea received its blessing. The event would come alive the day after the Maui-to-Molokai World Cup of SUP race on Saturday, July 13.
With only a short time to throw something together for Sunday — while also achieving the goal of stimulating the local economy and inspiring youth — it almost felt like an impossible task. But the Stand Up Paddle Association of Molokai and Youth in Motion made M4M a success with a huge boost from sponsors and organizers of the Maui-to-Molokai race who came in at the last minute. Pledges came in from local, state and international racers along with other members of the Molokai community who believed in the concept.
The course started at the old Kamalo Wharf and ran 8.5 miles downwind to Hotel Molokai. Two-thirds of the Maui-to-Molokai competitors stayed over for Sunday’s race.
The weather blessed this event with steady trade winds and almost perfect conditions to make for a fun race. The event had two different start lines for the divisions of OC1/2 (one and two-person open canoes) and SUP. Both SUP and OC1 divisions had prize money for paddlers in the men and women’s divisions from first through third places.
In the OC1 division, Camie Kimball, the former athletic director at Molokai High School, stormed to first place overall in a time of 1 hour, 9 minutes and 47 seconds, shortly followed by Crystal Egusa (1:12:28) and Desiree Puhi (1:13:50). The women rocked on this event with their support and encouragement in making this happen. Jason Aiana took first place in the men’s division (1:13:29) winning a sweet $100 check along with some cool prizes. Stephanie Bush and Annette English won the OC2 division (1:35:52).
In the SUP overall and open division, Dave Kissane from Australia took the honors of first place in a time of 1:13:54. The day before, Kissane placed third overall in the World Cup of SUP event, crossing the Pailolo Channel in 3:18:12. Hot on his heels were two other Maui-to-Molokai racers, Kaeo Abby from Oahu in second (1:14:50) and Tomo Murabayashi from Japan in third place (1:15:38).
In the men’s 14-foot division, Maui boy Zane Schweitzer clinched first place (1:19:43) over Matt Becker from California (1:25:57). Schweitzer had also placed first in the 14-foot division at the World Cup race the day before. Peter Peterson from South Africa finished third in 1:28:21. Jeff Chang from Oahu won the men’s 50+ division with a time of 1:21:40.
In the women’s division, it was Oahu’s Jennifer Lee taking first place overall (1:30:20). Lina Augaitis from Canada finished second overall in 1:32:54, placing her first in the 14-foot division while Brigette Van Aswegan from South Africa was third overall (1:36:00) and second in the women’s 14-foot division. Sharon Look from Maui took second place in the women’s unlimited (1:36:33) and Roz Selback took third (1:39:50). Peggy King from Maui won the women’s 50-+ division (1:51:58).
Locally, for the Molokai racers it was Todd Yamashita winning the men’s 12-foot-6 division (1:35:00) with Tabitha Puhi taking the women’s 12-6 division (1:48:15) and Boki Chung in second (1:50:57. Eleven-year-old upstart Alex Mawae won the youth division in 1:44:42.
Overall, the event was a huge success with some great vibes felt by all. Stand up Paddle Association of Molokai (SUPAM) brought together a truly international high caliber field amongst the locals. The SUPAM helped paddlers push their limits, enjoy the race, fundraise and achieving its original goals of making sure the racers enjoyed their time on Molokai with a memorable event, Molokai-4-Molokai — M4M.
Stay tuned for the announcement of the 2014 race dates.