Youth in Motion Takes on Channels
By Clare Seeger Mawae
During the last week of July there were two major channel paddle events, the Maui Jim Maui 2 Molokai Challenge crossing the Pailolo channel on Saturday, July 23, and the Molokai 2 Oahu Race crossing the Kaiwi Channel on Sunday, July 31. Tropical Storm Darby through a curveball making the Molokai organizers cancel the Maui to Molokai event. However, a few days later Molokai’s young paddler Alex Mawae and his paddling buddies decided they still wanted to cross and bring their boards over in epic Pailolo Channel conditions. So the impromptu photo shoot with local filmmaker Matt Yamashita and Mickey Pauole took place with Alex, age 14, Slater, 13, Kali`a, 15, Lara, 16, Jack, 11 and Dylan, 15 . It was pretty amazing seeing a line up of ocean paddling youth take the channel with parents, fellow paddlers and escort boats.
A week later Alex took on the Molokai 2 Oahu with his team mates from Maui, Slater Fleck 13 yrs and Annie Reickert 15 years making this his fourth Kaiwi channel crossing and their first. The Molokai 2 Oahu race is claimed as the world championships of long distance paddling. Alex and his team finished fourth in their division and the only mixed Junior team to participate in 2016 with a respectable time of 6 hours 11 minutes.
Alex has high hopes for 2017 and is already planning and prepping for this 32 mile race but no matter the competitions, Alex still wants to encourage the Molokai youth to get into stand up paddling. Every year, Youth in Motion puts together their channel teams for these events to launch into Youth in Motion’s and Stand Up Paddle Association of Molokai’s community SUP paddling season. Alex hopes to see many kids out at the harbor as he and Youth in Motion introduce the sport of SUP to the Molokai community.