The growing popularity of stand-up paddleboard, or SUP, has led to record registrations and sponsorships for the 16th annual Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championship.
The event, which has sold out for five consecutive years, has experienced the fastest registration pace ever this year. On July 29, 2012, the world’s best stand up paddleboarders (SUP) and prone paddlers from 15 countries will compete in a 32-mile race across the infamous Ka’iwi channel, also known as the Channel of Bones, between the islands of Molokai and Oahu. To purchase the official 2011 race movie, download here.
Combined with M2O’s reputation as the sport's ultimate challenge and the increasing global popularity of paddleboarding, most recently in SUP, an event best was established this year for corporate partnerships. Returning partners include presenting sponsor Kona Longboard Island Lager, Dukes, Maui Jim, Garmin, Rogue SUP, Patagonia, Watermen’s Applied Science, Sambazon and Standup Paddle Magazine. New to M2O this year are the Hawai’i Tourism Authority, GoPro and Teva.
“The Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championship is an amazing race that draws elite athletes from around the world to Hawaii every year, allowing us to share the beauty and culture of the islands with the competitors, their families and the international media,” said Michael Story of the Hawai’i Tourism Authority. “We are thrilled to be a part of this year’s race and look forward to showcasing all that the islands have to offer.”
“We are grateful to all of our sponsors who help create this unique race experience for the athletes, their support teams and paddleboarding fans around the world,” said Rob Farrow of the M2O Group. “M2O is the sport’s most iconic race. It’s as much about the experience as it is competing for the championship. Anytime you complete a crossing of the Ka’iwi Channel, a feat that is both physically and mentally demanding, it is a victory.”
The popularity of paddleboarding and the challenge of the channel is also attracting world-class athletes from outside the paddling elite. One of surfing’s most respected athletes Rob Machado will take his wave riding skills to the start line on Molokai in the team SUP category in his first attempt at crossing the channel.
“I’m stoked to be a part of this year’s race. I've been paddling for a number of years and watched many friends train for the Molokai race, so you could say it’s been on my bucket list for a while now,” said Rob Machado. “The whole idea of paddling from island to island is kind of intimidating, but exciting at the same time. I’m looking forward to having a really good time.”
Duke’s Waikiki continues it’s long-time support of the event by hosting athlete packet pick-up on July 26. The awards ceremony is held at the famous Outrigger Canoe Club. The race starts on Sunday, July 29 at 7:30 a.m. from the west shores of Molokai, finishing on the beaches of Oahu at Muanalua Bay.