By Clare Seeger Mawae
Twelve-year-old Alex Mawae of Molokai charged hard at the Olukai Stand-Up race May 2, taking second place in his division of 17-and-under racers in a record time of 1 hour, 9 minutes, 26 seconds.
The course, from Maliko Gulch to Kanaha Beach along Maui’s North Shore, covers eight-plus miles. Mawae smashed his previous best time and his personal goal for the year. He finished only 25 minutes behind world champion Connor Baxter — not bad for such a young man! This year, the 17-and-under division was strong with 11 contestants out of 327 total paddlers. Alex finished 117th overall at the Olukai as one of the younger contestants in this race.
The race conditions were a steady 15-20 knots plus with some nice swells, giving everyone an opportunity to break their personal best times. Andrea Moller, from Maui, took her seventh consecutive win in the event in 53:19 while Connor Baxter, also from Maui, won for the fourth straight year in a record time of 44:25. Clare Mawae from Molokai finished fifth in her division, vowing to step it up a notch for next year.
The following day, May 3, the Molokai canoe paddlers did awesome in this competitive field of OC1 and OC2 paddlers. Alex wanted to race this but had to sit this one out this year. Chad Lima charged and finished 18th overall out of a fleet of 137 and took fourth in his division with a time of 50:22. Lili Napolean, Cami Kimball and Desiree Puhi all took first place in their respective divisions. Choppie and Jerome Kalama placed fourth in the OC2 mixed, along with Crystal Egusa in her division.
Overall, the Molokai paddlers had awesome performances over the weekend of racing. It was good to see so many Molokai paddlers participate in this event.