Paddleboarding’s top athletes compete for 15th annual Molokai-2-Oahu World Championship

Nine-time Molokai to Oahu paddleboard champion Jamie Mitchell is returning in his attempt to win an unprecedented 10 straight victories in the Molokai-2-Oahu race, generally considered the world championship of ocean paddling.

Jamie Mitchell and Kanesa Duncan lead men’s and women’s prone paddleboard division en route to record wins; Dave Kalama and Andrea Moller return to defend titles in growing stand-up paddleboard (SUP) division.

In its 15th year, the Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championship (M2O), presented by Kona Brewing Co., will host its largest field of international competitors, featuring the sport’s most elite athletes.

On Sunday, an armada of more than 250 athletes on both prone and stand-up paddleboards (SUP) will attempt the 32-mile, open-ocean crossing of the infamous Ka’iwi Channel, also known as the Molokai Channel. Live race updates will be broadcast on Facebook and Twitter.

Dave Kalama and Jamie Mitchell celebrate wins after 2010 race.

Australia’s effort to continue national dominance over the men’s solo prone paddleboard division is led by 34-year-old Jamie Mitchell who is seeking his 10th consecutive win. In 2007, Mitchell recorded the fastest-ever Molokai crossing in a time of 4 hours, 48 minutes, 23 seconds.

If Mitchell is successful, he will become the second Quiksilver Waterman Collection athlete to be a 10 times world champion, alongside surfer Kelly Slater.

If you love paddling, this is the race of all races — it’s our Super Bowl,” Mitchell said. “I love the feeling of apprehension, the nerves and waiting to see what the ocean’s going to deliver. The depth of talent in this year’s race is unsurpassed.”

Mitchell’s closest competition in the past 10 years has come from Brian Rocheleau. The 35-year-old Hawaiian has finished second to Jamie three times and in the top five in each of his solo crossings.

Australians Joel Mason, 29, and Jackson English, 36, are also vying for the top spot.
to push the pace on Sunday. Two notable lifeguards are looking to add the sport’s most prestigious title to their collection of paddleboard victories.

Australian Wes Berg, 31, was reported to have fired a warning shot over the bow of the 2011 M2O championship after he staged an impressive win at an open-ocean warm-up race in Mitchell’s hometown of Currumbin.

Los Angeles County Lifeguard, Anthony Vela is also in this year’s mix. The 36-year-old Redondo Beach resident is coming off a recent win in June at the Jay Moriarty Memorial Paddleboard race in Santa Cruz, California. In his first 32-mile race at the Catalina Classic, Vela finished third.

On the women’s side, Kauai resident and eight-time M2O champion, Kanesa Duncan, made her entry to the race’s hall of fame in 2004, setting the current women’s record time on a stock paddleboard (5:53:49). Her record setting victory is proof that the power of the athlete, favorable water conditions and strong navigation skills can sometimes win the day on a stock board, rather than on a longer and more streamlined unlimited board.

Duncan, a 35-year-old professor of marine biology at the University of Hawaii, has been paddling in the unlimited class for the past eight years. While she is seeking her ninth win and would enjoy beating her record, Duncan says, “when you are battling the energy of the currents and swell that pass through the Ka’iwi Channel, victory is quite simply a matter of just getting to the finish. Molokai is the focus of my training all year.”

Making the switch from SUP to the prone division is Candice Appleby. Originally from San Clemente and now living in Honolulu, the 25-year-old has dominated the SUP race scene over the past few summers. Appleby hopes to transfer her SUP skills to a successful challenge in a division that has been dominated by her fellow waterwoman, Duncan, for nearly a decade.

The paddling world will be watching a rising star from the Sunshine Coast of Australia. Buderim, Queensland native Jordan Mercer, at the age of 18, is the youngest solo prone paddler in history to compete at the M2O World Championship. Mercer is following in the footsteps of her father, Dean, and uncle, Darren, whose names are legendary in Australian professional lifeguard competition.

The ancient Polynesian mode of transportation, stand-up paddleboarding, now more commonly referred to as SUP, is making a modern resurgence. At M2O this year, 52 solo racers will compete on stock and unlimited boards.

One of the sport’s most active supporters and 2010 M2O champion, Dave Kalama, 46, is a favorite in this year’s SUP division. Last year, the world-renowned waterman and big wave surfer from Maui set a SUP course record time of 4:54:15, just two minutes behind his prone paddleboard counterpart, Mitchell. Seeming evenly matched, bragging rights may be up for grabs between the two friends.

Connor Baxter, also from the island of Maui, is back after a fourth place finish in 2010 (5:12:43) and hoping to chase down Kalama. Recently, the 16-year-old Baxter exchanged leads with Kalama in a race over the Pailolo Channel, connecting Maui and Molokai. Baxter prevailed in this meeting, demonstrating that he is one year older, one year stronger and a serious contender for the M2O World Championship.

Scott Gamble, 35, from Honolulu is also returning and looking to better last year’s performance. Gamble was in contention for second place in 2010 before he made a miscalculation in the last few miles, tripping up on an inside wave and landing in third place (5:06:15).

The popularity of SUP is evident in the women’s race with a record field of more than 10 solo competitors led by returning champion Andrea Moller. Born on the island of Ilhabela, Brazil, Moller, 32, moved to Maui in 1998. Her 2010 win at the M2O World Championship was a women’s record at 6:00:00.

The 2009 M2O women’s champion (6:18:31), Jenny Kalmbach, returns for her third time. Born in Costa Rica, and now living on Kona, Kalmbach, 28, has risen quickly in a short career, building an impressive list of victories.

The 2011 stock class at M2O boasts two notable athletes from Honolulu. Erik Abbott and Andrew Logreco lead the field in their respective divisions of prone (Abbott) and SUP (Logrecco). Both will likely win their class and stand a strong chance of beating some of their unlimited counterparts to finish in the top 10 overall.

Behind the field of solo paddlers will be 75 teams in both the prone and SUP divisions, featuring the father-son duo of Aaron and Riggs Napoleon in the SUP division. The Napoleon’s are a famous Hawaiian waterman family. Last year Riggs was the youngest ever solo competitor to cross the channel at age 12.

Former Ironman Triathlon World Champion, Greg Welch, is making his return to endurance competition on a team with fellow triathlete Roch Frey and powerhouse paddler Chuck Glynn.

View Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championship results history by clicking here.

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, Scott Hawaii, Standup Paddle Magazine, Wahoos and Waterman’s Sunscreen.


Molokai Humane Society names new Executive Director

Molokai Humane Society News Release

Jennifer Whitted, Molokai Humane Society past president, has stepped into the new Executive Director role.

“We are excited to find a person with the experience and knowledge from within our organization,” said Carol Gartland, board secretary. “Jenn has been performing most of the duties of this position for the past couple of months. Several members of the organization as well as current staff advised the Board that she was the right person for the job; we reviewed and considered candidates from the community, surrounding islands and the mainland. In the end, Jenn was the most qualified.”

New Molokai Humane Society Executive Director Jenn Whitted.

Jenn has previously worked as a grant writer and fundraiser for the Iowa State University YMCA, and served on many community nonprofit boards. As the YMCA “Partner with Youth” fundraising chairperson, Jenn helped to raise $1 million for capital improvements and community programming.

Since moving to Molokai, Jenn has been a regular volunteer at Kaunakakai Elementary School, a 21st Century robotics instructor, a certified substitute teacher and has been actively involved in the Molokai Humane Society. While serving as the MoHS Board President, Jenn was able to work closely with the Board and staff to quadruple the organization’s budget. “I was impressed with Jenn from the first Board meeting we attended,” said Tessa Reich, MoHS vet assistant.

“I think that my background knowledge of the mission and strategic plan [of the Molokai Humane Society] as well as the current budget and programming will allow me to make important, educated decisions to help fulfill the goals of the organization,” said Whitted.

Upon hearing the news, Jocelyn Bouchard, Chief Executive Officer of the Maui Humane Society, said, “I am enthusiastic about the Boards selection and encouraged about the Molokai Humane Society’s future.”

Moloka’i Humane Society is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization that relies on donations to provide low-cost spay and neuter services on the island. To make a tax deductible donation or become a member, visit the website

Refrigerators in Hui Up Program to save Molokai over $31,000 annually in electricity costs

Kaira Englund, Annela Chow, Ke’au Chow and Vinsohn Bassa are some of the youth volunteers working with Sust'ainable Molokai and the Blue Planet Foundation.

The 56 local participants in the Blue Planet Foundation’s Hui Up Program have been picking up new Energy Star refrigerators today and yesterday at the Kaunakakai Ballfield in an effort that will save them more than $31,000 a year on electricity.

The local nonprofit Sust’ainable Molokai has coordinated the program on Molokai by collecting community surveys and organizing the pick-up schedule. In cooperation with Alu Like’s Hoala Hou program for at-risk youth, volunteers on this project went into homes with Belkin meters and conducted energy audits to measure the energy use of current refrigerators. Homeowners received a report and informational brochures from the youth to help them order a new refrigerator through this program.

Over the past two weeks, the youngsters have conducted 45 home energy audits on Molokai. “This is good for the island because it reduces our carbon footprint,” said Ke’au Chow, one of the youth volunteers.

“It’s really expensive for everything here because we’re so isolated,” Leilani Chow, one of the student leaders, adds. “And the environment is really important to us because we’re on a small island, and this is all the space we get, so we have to do as much as we can to take care of it.

Molokai residents had the choice of purchasing an 18.3 cubic-foot refrigerator for $250 or a 25.2 cubic-foot refrigerator for $750, a tremendous discount off retail prices for appliances that they would have otherwise had to purchase and ship from off-island. The group buy is a continuation of the community-driven energy efficiency initiative that Blue Planet launched in 2010, during which island residents successfully replaced 36,000 incandescent bulbs with CFLs. According to Blue Planet, the campaign saves the community $6.5 million over the bulbs’ lifetimes.

Sherry Sasada, in front, watches as her new refrigerator gets loaded onto a truck. Sasada said the new appliance should save her about $150 a month on her electric bill.

According to Blue Planet, the 56 refrigerators that arrived in the inaugural shipment will save these households an average of $550 a year, more than $31,000 collectively. Over the next 10 years, these families will save more than $310,000 in energy costs, displacing 1,560 barrels of oil and 700 tons of greenhouse gas pollution.

One of those who received a new refrigerator yesterday was Sherry Sasada. Her audit told her she will be able to save 50 percent, or $150 off her $300 monthly electricity bill, with the new refrigerator.

Emillia Noordhoek, Sust‘ainable Molokai’s Executive director, talked about the other advantages of this program.

“We are helping to create the green jobs of the future,” she said. “We can set up Molokai as a model of sustainability for a new green economy. We pay the highest rates of electricity in the country and I don’t see it going down.”

Sust‘ainable Molokai has also conducted a three-week program for permaculture with middle school and high school students. “We are creating a sustainable agriculture program using permaculture techniques in helping them to become sustainable, maybe start a nursery, but also to really coalesce that career path choice,” said Noordhoek.

“We are also working with Blue Planet and the high school to have a sustainable youth conference in May,” she added. “Hopefully kids will be able to showcase the permaculture, the energy piece and a green jobs fair. Kids from all over Hawaii will be coming to present information on working with energy, curriculum, sustainable agriculture and maybe extend to other islands in South Pacific.”

Molokai General Store reopens on Ala Malama Street

The Molokai General Store staff on its second day. From left: General Manager Kimberly Svetin, Jerome Clemente, Alan Esplanada and Kegal-Joe Tancayo.

Fifteen years after closing, the Molokai General Store returned to Kaunakakai yesterday.

The Mikami ‘ohana, which run Molokai Drugs and the Kamoi Snack ‘n’ Go, reopened the 3,800 square-foot store that had been G&M Variety Store and, previous to that, Guy’s. From 1945-1995, Molokai Drugs filled the space with the pharmacy and merchandise that ranged from garden supplies to books to jewelry and pet necessities.

But with the economy on Molokai, and nationwide, suffering through a deep recession, the timing of the opening seems a little puzzling. After all, two Kaunakakai restaurants, Aunty Ruby’s and Subway, have closed in just the last few weeks. So why open a new store now?

“I told my dad (Dave Mikami) he was nuts,” said Kim Mikami Svetin, general manager for the new store, who also holds responsibilities at the Molokai Drug Store and Kamoi. “I don’t need to spend any more time at work, but we had to do something with the space.”

In the six months that the building has been empty, the employees have been busy with extensive renovations and repairs, including putting in new floors and new paint to give it a real new store feeling.

Kegal-Joe Tancayo in the well-stocked fishing gear section of Molokai General Store.

On the second day of business, the store was busy with browsers and buyers, while the friendly staff could be seen answering customer questions. While roaming the store for only a few minutes, a paper shredder, candy, snacks and kids’ clothes were seen getting rung up on the register.

“We listened to our customers,” said Svetin, when deciding what to stock. Svetin even showed a list half a page long of requested items accumulated on just the first day of business. Each month the store plans to bring in new and different merchandise to meet the customer needs. “We got the things that people suggested,” she added. “People wanted more fishing stuff so we got a ton of fishing gear.”

Svetin emphasized that the store is for kama’aina, with more than 95 percent of the customers being local. “This is the stuff we really need, stuff that’s practical,” she said.

Stuff like spear guns, knives, pillows, linens, flashlights, slippers, sporting goods, garden supplies, games, office supplies, and swimwear are just some of the practical items for sale.

While Atlas Lumber (Ace Hardware) and Take’s may carry some of the same items, “it’s going to come down to price,” said Svetin. “Hopefully we will be very competitive price-wise.” For example, a complete set of high-quality bed linens can be purchased for $15.99.

Because the General Store already has established relationships with many of its merchandise vendors, Svetin said that prices will be competitive with those on Oahu for certain items. With some vendors sending Molokai close out items that can no longer be carried in big box stores, residents may actually find some bargains.

The General Store will not carry expensive items like televisions and DVD players. “Really looking at our market, we’re not going to bring in the expensive kitchen supplies like Macy’s or William Sonoma,” said Svetin.

But come late October, Svetin said they will expand the inventory to include Christmas and holiday items. The store will also offer gift wrapping. “We do have some jewelry, we’ll be bringing in nicer items for special occasions.”

East End forest restoration project now under review

The 30-day comment period has begun for the Draft Environmental Assessment for the Kainalu Mesic Forest Restoration Project on Molokai’s East End.

The public has until Aug. 21 to comment on Lance “Kip” Dunbar’s project to protect and restore about 15 acres of land bordering two riparian streams at about 1,700-feet elevation at Kainalu. Historically, the land was used for agriculture, cattle, and forest conservation.

The portion of East Molokai affected by the restoration project.

Non-native and invasive plant species will be removed and replaced with native plant species. The parcel includes habitat for 11 federally endangered native species. As part of the project, a 1.5-mile fence will be constructed to confine cattle and other feral ungulates such as pigs, deers and goats to pasture areas and to restrict movement into two riparian areas. Fencing will be done along the pasture borders.

Additionally, by limiting access into the riparian areas the project will greatly reduce erosion and sedimentation to the near shore reef system. Overall, the project will not negatively affect the environment, infrastructure, public facilities, social or economic factors but help the watershed and natural resources. For these reasons, the Department of Land and Natural Resources anticipates a finding of no significant impact.

Back in October 2010, Dunbar received an exemption from the Molokai Planning Commission on a related project in the same area. The request was for a Special Management Area assessment exemption for the Pu’uone Waterbird Preserve Project. This is also in the same area of Kainalu, near Dunbar’s two beachfront cottages used as vacation rentals.

Despite protests from community members that Dunbar may not stick to the plan designed by the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service, the MoPC went ahead and approved the SMA exemption. Dunbar’s plan involved the dredging of certain lands in an effort to restore wetlands used during bird migrations.

“It’s kind of a labor of love,” Dunbar testified. “I’ve been trying to do this for three years now.”

Local bird expert and conservationist Arleone Dibbins-Young testified in favor of the project. “ I support this,” she said. “The federal process is very strict and he has responded to everything.”

The protests from neighbors concerned the use of heavy equipment for excavating and the possibility of water diversion. However, the plan showed no dredging deeper than two feet. Dunbar also agreed to archeological monitoring.

Comments on this project can be sent to State of Hawaii, Department of Land and Natural Resources, OCCL, P.O. Box 621, Honolulu, Hawaii 96803. Contact Dawn Hegger at the DLNR, 587-0380, for more information.

Hui Up Program brings Molokai energy efficient refrigerators

A volunteer from the Hui Up Program tests a refrigerator for energy use.

Blue Planet Foundation News Release

Replacing an old refrigerator with an energy-efficient model can reduce electricity bills by as much as $500 a year.

Molokai residents will discover this on Tuesday, July 26, as the first participants in the Hui Up Program, orchestrated by Blue Planet Foundation and Sust‘AINAble Molokai, pick up their brand new Energy Star refrigerators at Kaunakakai Regional Park from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Francois Rogers, Special Projects Director at the Blue Planet Foundation, was instrumental in bringing 36,000 CFL bulbs to Molokai. For his efforts, he was honored by the Hawaii Board of Education when it visited Molokai last year. He is now helping bring new Energy Star refrigerators here in the Hui Up Program.

Through Hui Up, Molokai residents have the opportunity to trade in their old refrigerators for Energy Star models at a significantly discounted volume purchase price negotiated by Blue Planet. These first 60 households may save as much as $150,000 in energy costs collectively over the next five years.

Each Hui Up participant also receives a Belkin Conserve Insight Energy Use Monitor that contributes to the program’s educational component.

Blue Planet and the Kuha‘o Business Center in Kaunakakai hosted three training sessions on Molokai to teach students how to assess household energy use. Under the guidance of Sust‘AINAble Molokai, working with Alu Like’s Hoala Hou program, students measured the energy consumption of the old refrigerators in Hui Up! homes. They will return in October to assess the difference with the new refrigerators.

The group buy is a continuation of the community-driven energy efficiency initiative that Blue Planet launched in 2010, during which island residents successfully replaced 36,000 incandescent bulbs with CFLs. The campaign saves the community $6.5 million over the bulbs’ lifetimes, simultaneously displacing 24,000 barrels of oil and 16,000 tons of carbon pollution.

Hui Up is made possible by program partners Hawaii Energy, State of Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT) State Energy Office, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds, Servco Home and Appliance Distribution, and Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc. Special thanks to Makoa Trucking for delivery and pick-up services.

OHA supports state recognition for Native Hawaiians

Six OHA officials participate in bill-signing ceremony. Standing from left to right (in the front row): Sen. Malama Solomon, OHA Trustee Rowena Akana, Gov. Neil Abercrombie, OHA Trustee Chairperson Colette Machado, and former OHA Trustee Roy Benham; Standing in the back row (from left to right): OHA Trustee John Waihe‘e, OHA Trustee Oswald Stender, OHA Trustee Robert Lindsey, and OHA Trustee Boyd Mossman. Photo: Garett Kamemoto

OHA News Release

HONOLULU – Molokai native and Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees Chairperson Colette Machado was one of the five featured speakers at a ceremony Gov. Neil Abercrombie hosted July 6 at Washington Place to sign into law a bill that recognizes Native Hawaiians as the only indigenous people of Hawaii.

Speaking to more than 100 people at the bill-signing ceremony, Machado called the landmark legislation the clearest position the state has taken since 2000 to reaffirm Native Hawaiian rights, adding that it should define the state’s position on any future challenges to Native Hawaiian entitlements.

“This law sends a clear message to the federal government to endorse the recognition of Native Hawaiians as the indigenous people of Hawai‘i and to support Native Hawaiian self-governance,” she said. “OHA stands ready to work with the Governor’s Office and the Hawaii Legislature as we continue on this journey toward self-governance.”

Among OHA officials accompanying Machado to the bill-signing ceremony was Chief Executive Officer Clyde Nāmu’o. In a statement to the press after the event, he said: “We commend the governor and state lawmakers for supporting efforts to enable Native Hawaiians to create a better future for themselves. This law is a significant step in our nation building process that will help federal recognition. It demonstrates broad-based support by the state of Hawai‘i for Native Hawaiians.”

The new law establishes a Native Hawaiian Roll Commission to compile and certify a roll of qualified Native Hawaiians who may choose to participate in the reorganization of a Native Hawaiian governing entity. The Governor must appoint five Commissioners, one from each county and one at-large, from a pool of nominated individuals.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs strongly encourages qualified Native Hawaiians and Native Hawaiian membership organizations to submit applications or recommendations for nominees.