M20 Group joins Epic Sports to manage Molokai to Oahu paddleboard race

Eight-time Molokai to Oahu paddleboard champion Jamie Mitchell will return to this year's event scheduled for July 25.

An event management group out of Encinitas, California called the Molokai 2 Oahu Group just announced that it has joined forces with local event team Epic Sports to take the annual paddleboard race to the next level.

Now in its 14th year, the annual Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard Race will take place on July 25 and will feature a record 200 entries, shared between traditional and standup paddleboard divisions.

The Ka’iwi Channel is one of the most challenging bodies of water in the world and the Molokai to Oahu title carries international prestige. The race began in 1997 with just 44 paddlers taking up the crossing challenge. Today, the event has grown to include a capacity international field of accomplished watermen and women.

World class racers returning to the channel this year include reigning eight-time champion Jamie Mitchell from Australia, reigning six-time women’s champion Kanesa Duncan from Hawaii, and defending SUP division champion Ekolu Kalama, a Molokai native.

Economic pressures has threatened many international sporting competitions over the past 12 months, but as a testament to its strength and heritage, Hawaii’s Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard Race has gone against the tide and gained momentum.

This year’s sponsorship team includes C4 Waterman, Maui Jim Sunglasses, Patagonia, Watermans Sunscreen, Hotel Renew and Duke’s Restaurant.

The M2O Group has invigorated the race with new energy, new sponsors, and development of an event expo that supports the main event. All members of the M20 Group are avid paddleboarders. In addition to producing the event, three of the five members also plan to compete in the channel crossing.

Roch Frey of the M2O Group said that they wanted to create an event platform that could accommodate the world. Frey also said that with the limited number of entries that can be accommodated, the group is looking to expand the engagement opportunities in other areas.

The new race website is http://www.molokai2oahu.com. It has become a social hub of information and exchange both for this race and the sport of paddleboarding as a whole. Online entries opened on Monday.