With one month to go before the First Annual Maui Jim OceanFest, registration for this first-of-its kind waterman competition is proving to draw an elite group of international athletes.
From June 6 to 7 on Ka’anapali Beach fronting the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel in Lahaina, Maui, HI, athletes will compete in a unique ocean-lifeguard-style event that showcases the breadth and diversity of a wide range of international and Hawaiian-style competitive ocean sports.
Competitors will accumulate points in the varied disciplines over the two days that will accrue towards the individuals’ total in either open or age groups to name an overall Waterman and Waterwoman for the event. They are competing for $40,000 in prize money, which is one of the largest purses in the world for this type of event. Registration remains open until capacity is reached.
Registrations to date include sportsmen coming from as far away as the Gold Coast of Australia and Denver, along with a healthy dose of Hawaii’s top athletes. “Maui Jim OceanFest takes place one week after the Maui Jim Molokai Challenge, considered the World Championship for SurfSki and OC-1 paddling,” said Matt Dubrule, Maui Jim Event Director. “So, we are drawing a great group of talent that will make for exciting, fast-paced competition.”
OceanFest is a “sprint” competition that will challenge the best in the world and will create constant excitement for participants and spectators. Races will be no longer than five to 10 minutes in length, broken into categories for men and women. Participants are encouraged to enter multiple races to accrue cumulative points.
Top men who will be at OceanFest include SUP racers Travis Grant (who recently won the Carolina Cup against 800 participants), Riggs and Aaron Napoleon, and Travis Baptiste; Hawaiian outrigger canoecompetitors Alfred Van Gieson, Kai Bartlett, Patrick Dolan, Jim Foti, Jimmy Austin and Kekoa Cramer; Ironman swim record-holder and gold medalist at the World Championships and Pan Pacific Championships John Flanagan; Ironman Competitor Andrew Penny; North Shore lifeguard and downwind surf fanatic Kirk Ziegler; Australian paddleboarder Lachlan Finlay; longstanding waterman racing champion Scott Diederich; Surfskier Richard Spork; and Olympic kayak champion and top OC-1 paddler Zsolt Szadovszki. Inspiring Australian Ironman Jackson Maynard also will arrive at this competition having survived cancer and two rounds of life-saving heart surgery.
Top women include SUP racers Andrea Moller; paddling champions Jennifer Lee, Rachel Bruntsch,Sondra Purser, Kelsa Gabehart and Jennifer Polcer; lifeguard Chelsea Bizik; eight-time Molokai Paddleboard champion Kanesa Duncan Seraphin; one of the greatest female surf life-saving athletes of all time Karla Gilbert; and open water swim champion Kathy Shipman.
“For anyone wanting to see the best of the best compete in one of the most beautiful settings in the world, this is a not-to-be-missed event,” added Dubrule.
For an updated list of registered participants visit the race website at https://raceroster.com/events/2015/4684/maui-jim-oceanfest/participants.