July 26 marks the 19th Annual Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard World Championships and some 200 athletes from around the world are gearing up to paddleboard 32 grueling miles across the 2,300-foot deep Ka’iwi Channel that’s challenged participants since 1997.
Now considered to be the world championship of long-distance paddleboarding, the race once had humble beginnings. And it all started with Hawaii’s top paddler, Dawson Jones—an avid paddleboarder and competitor in the sport. After completing the 32-mile Catalina Classic, Dawson was inspired to create a similar race in his hometown, so he spoke with his training partners, Garrett Macamara and Mike Takahashi, and his idea came to life exactly one year later with the first Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard Race in 1997. The race became instantly famous among surfers, paddleboarders and spectators and to this day, it gains the attention of competitors from around the world. Event categories include the stock paddleboard race, unlimited stand up paddleboard race (SUP) and the stock stand up paddleboard race (SUP).
Now just days away, this prestigious event is something you don’t want to miss. Here’s a look at the schedule of events:
Sunday, July 26th: Race Day
- 6:45 am—Pre-race Pule’ (Hawaiian Prayer)
- 7:30 am—Solo and Team Paddleboard Division Start
- 8:00 am—Solo and Team SUP Division Start
- 10:00 am—Event Expo Opens on Oahu at Maunalua Bay Beach Park
- 11:30 am—Top Finishers expected at finish line
- 12:00 pm—Lunch Service Begins
- 2:00 pm—Elite Winners Presentation (Media Event)
- 4:00 pm—Expo Closes/Lunch Service Closes
- 6:30 pm—9:00 pm—Awards Party at Outrigger Canoe Club* Awards
*The Awards Party is FREE for paddlers, guests are $30 each.
Tickets will be distributed at the door at the Outrigger Canoe club starting at 6:00pm.
Thinking of picking up paddleboarding yourself? Oahu has prime paddleboarding locations that cater to both beginners and advanced paddleboarders. While Sunset Beach is known for its big wave surfing in the winter months, the summer offers much calmer waters that are ideal for beginners. Pua’ena Point Beach Park, Lanikai Beach and Ala Moana Beach Park are other great options for both beginners and intermediate paddleboarders. Looking for a challenge? Haleiwa Beach offers a few waves in the mix that are considerably larger than any of the other paddleboarding spots.
Are you heading out to the race this weekend? What’s your favorite event? Let us know in the comments section below!