Founded in 1997, the Molokai-2-Oahu (M2O) Paddleboard World Championship, presented by Kona Brewing Co, is set to celebrate its 15th anniversary on Sunday 31 July 2011. Featuring 250 athletes from more than 10 countries, the annual race will test the endurance of men and women as they cross the treacherous waters of the Ka’iwi (kah-ee-vee) Channel from Kaluakoi Beach on the north shore of Molokai to Maunalua Bay on the south shore of Oahu, ‘the heart of Hawaii’.
With its Hawaiian heritage, stand-up paddleboard (SUP) surfing has grown in popularity in a number of coastal areas across the globe. The endurance nature of SUP, alongside its core workout benefits and outdoor lifestyle have also resonated well with multisport athletes in recent years. SUP also provides a small, but growing outlet for wetsuit brands to tap into.
Since its inception, the annual Molokai-2-Oahu race has evolved from a grassroots challenge for the legendary lifeguards and watermen of Oahu’s North Shore. Today, M2O is the premiere event for the sport of paddleboarding. The race is comprised of four divisions and team relays. This includes traditional ‘stock’ class SUP boards and the ‘unlimited open’ division, which showcases some of the most technically advanced designs and materials from top manufacturers.
“Our goal is to grow the prominence of this race and preserve the traditional elements that attract the world’s most elite paddlers, while exposing more men, women and youth to the spirit and camaraderie of paddleboarding,” said Race Director Mike Takahashi. “This is without a doubt the most demanding race and held in the highest regard by the international paddling community.”
The Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championship is anchored in Aloha, annually giving back to four local charities on Oahu and Moloka’i through the 32 for 32 (32::32) initiative. The concept of 32::32 is a donation of one dollar per mile, or US$32 for 32 miles. Donors who pledge with 32::32 receive a limited edition t-shirt and hat.
The organizers and athletes of the Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championship thank the valued partners for making the annual race possible. Partners include (alphabetically): Dukes, Garmin, Hotel Renew, Kona Brewing Co, Maui Jim, Patagonia, Rogue, Sambazon, Standup Paddle Magazine and Waterman’s Sunscreen.
“We are proud to be the presenting sponsor of the 15th annual Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championship,” said Kona Brewing Company President and CEO Mattson Davis.
“The sport is such an integral part of life in Hawaii that we dedicated our latest beer to it, Koko Brown Coconut Brown Ale. This new addition to our line-up of Kona’s bottled beers, features vintage artwork depicting a stand up paddler on the waters of Maunalua Bay, the finish line of the race.”