By Clare Seeger Mawae
Two Molokai youth —Josie and Alex Mawae — just returned from California after participating in two major stand-up paddling events.
Young competitors from all over the country, as well as Brazil, headed to Orange County to participate in the second annual Junior Pro SUP Fiesta at Bolsa Chica State Park on May 4. This was one of the biggest youth events in the world and sets the standard for the future of the sport.
The day before the event, many of the kids participated in Stand Up For the Cure at Newport, raising money for breast cancer. In that day alone, 15 lives were saved from skin and breast cancer by the free cancer detection clinics. Josie and Alex raised money on Molokai to help the organizers, including the Schweitzer family from Maui, reach their goal of $100,000. This year Stand Up for the Cure exceeded all expectations with over $125,000 raised for a one-day event.
The second annual Junior Pro SUP Fiesta was all about youth inspiring youth. This event brought kids as young as 6 years old to battle it out in the surf with the different age group divisions up to the highest level of top world class juniors in the Junior Pro Division. Sup Fiesta 14 made an impact and statement to the paddling community of what can be done and to bring new faces into the world’s fastest growing water sport.
Josie Mawae had been out of paddling for about one-and-a-half years until last month and did amazingly well since her absence from the water. Josie finished ninth in the surf race with a credible result, making it to the finals in the surf competition and placing sixth.
Alex Mawae was the dark horse from Molokai, taking second place in the surf race in his age division and fourth in the surf competition. Alex’s results were very credible considering he was up against some strong Californian and mainland competitors. Alex said he hopes this result will encourage more kids from Molokai to start paddling. The other islands have a strong group of youth and it would be nice to see Molokai bring out talented young ocean athletes into the world of SUP.
Other mentions should be made of some incredible performances by Mo Freitas of Oahu who took first in the Junior Pro Division with Ridge Lenny from Maui in third and Bernd Roediger from Maui in fourth. Vanina Walsh from Oahu took third in the Junior Pro girls, and Natalia Smith from Kauai took fourth. Both Riggs Napolean from Oahu and Lara Claydon from Maui were sick and injured before the event but they did awesome and were a great inspiration. Sasha Kau’hane from Oahu took first in her age division along with “Chargin” Marvin Freitas also taking first in his division, the 8-and-under. The Schremmer girls from Oahu, Mason, Lola and Scarlett, took first, second and third in their different age divisions. Hawaii did great with 14 youth representatives from Kauai, Oahu, Maui and Molokai out of 74 kids.
Josie and Alex were fantastic ambassadors for Molokai and in hopes that they can perhaps lead the way for other youth to take up the sport of paddling.