By Clare Seeger Mawae
A year has gone by since two Molokai kids showed up at Maliko Gulch as the youngest contestants at the annual Naish Paddle Championships. At 9 and 11 years old, Alex and Josie Mawae joined an international fleet of stand-up paddlers to take on the prestigious long distance course.
Josie and Alex returned on July 22 to the seventh annual Naish Paddle Championships, a 9.5-mile SUP race from Maliko Gulch to Kahului Harbor on Maui. Now 12 and 10, Josie and Alex were still the youngest contestants.
While a broken finger forced Josie to take a timeout from paddling, she still insisted on racing despite no training. To her, the participation was what counted.
Among a fleet of 221 participants, the kids faired well despite a drop in the wind making for a tough and grueling race. The start was intense with staggered starts. After the prone paddlers, the paddlers in the 12-foot-6 division jockeyed for good position with both Josie and Alex in the front of the lineup.
Alex got an incredible start, keeping a strong pace and position for a good portion of the race until the wind decided to back off and drop.
Josie, in the meantime, focused on steady strokes since she had been out of the water for over a month. Despite the winds dropping and knowing that she could bail any time because of her recovery, Josie chose to punch through the barriers and focus on the finish line. She finished third in the 12-foot-6, women’s 30-and-under division. Alex finished second to Travis Baptiste of Maui in the 12-foot-6 men’s 16-and-under division.
Both Josie and Alex have proven that they are serious competitors and hopefully this is just the beginning fir these young Molokai paddlers.
Josie and Alex started their paddling with Youth In Motion at the end of 2010. This September, Youth in Motion will be introducing stand-up paddling and other ocean activities to the Molokai youth and their families for the remainder of 2012. Youth in Motion is hoping that more youth will be inspired to take a step further, whether it is enjoying the ocean and what it has to offer, or to the level of competition where endurance, motivation, discipline and determination play important roles.
Congratulations to Josie and Alex Mawae who have both worked hard to achieve their goals, especially when it was not that long ago that their boundaries were Kaunakakai Harbor. Now their horizons have broadened as they look forward to another exciting season for 2013. Youth In Motion would like to thank all those individuals, businesses and organizations that have helped to make this possible.
For more information on Youth In Motion’s upcoming season, email Clare Mawae at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 808-336-0946.