OluKai Brings Aloha Spirit To The Inaugural Pacific Paddle Games
Although the calendar says we've entered the fall season, it certainly felt like summer at the SUP Magazine Pacific Paddle Games, which took place October 10-11 at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, California. But while the sun hot, it was no competition for the surf -- or the huge range of talent-- that came from all over the world to take part in the first annual event, presented by Salt Life. Athletes young and old, novice and seasoned ruled the waters at the two-day Pacific Paddle Games, which included both Technical and Distance races in Open and Pro, as well as Junior/Grom Division, a Prone Race, a Kids Beginner Race and a Demo Zone. OluKai joined sponsors Maui Jim, Milagro, West Marine and GoPro in support of the games, providing the first 250 race registrants with a complimentary pair of OluKai sandals. "We're so stoked to have OluKai as part of our event," said Manager of Sales and Marketing for SUP Magazine and PPG Event Director Andrew Mencinsky. "All the athletes, competitors and everyday participants are so appreciative of their support and it means so much to us to have them as our partner. OluKai is such a quality brand to have participate in our inaugural event and we look forward to being partnered with them for a long time to come." With a setup right on the beach and in the middle of the action, visitors to the OluKai Aloha Lounge cooled off with some complimentary juice inspired by the "Anywhere Aloha" spirit campaign and pinned flags on the interactive map. Others challenged friends to a few games of corn hole and browsed OluKai footwear and merchandise from Hawaiian-lifestyle brand Island Sole. The aloha spirit was definitely strong at the 2015 Pacific Paddle Games. Several of the competitors, including Connor Baxter, who claimed first in the 6 Mile Distance Race on Saturday, Annie Reickert who also took first in the Junior division as well as Kai Lenny, Mo Freitas and Bullet Obra (taking second, third and sixth, respectively in a qualifier on Saturday) all hail from the islands. Meanwhile, visitors to the Milagro Margarita Jungle and Dos Equis Beer Garden enjoyed their beverages while listening to traditional island music by the native Hawaiian duo, Tropical Blue. "OluKai is really the ideal footwear sponsor for an event like this," said SUP Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Will Taylor. "Our goal is to capture the lifestyle of paddling, and the Pacific Paddle Games is about everyone in the sport," said Taylor. "It's about the elite paddlers all the way down to the first time paddlers. When the athletes get out of the water they'll have some of the best footwear on the market at their disposal." The inaugural event wrapped up on Sunday with final competitions and awards for the athletes. The prize purse for the Pacific Paddle Games is the largest in the paddle sports' history, at $55,000. Maui-native, Connor Baxter was crowned champion in the final men's distance race, while Oahu-born Mo Freitas took first in the Technical and third overall. Candice Appleby, also a Hawaii-native, won first overall for the women, with Annabel Anderson and Fiona Wlyde taking second and third. (Results
) The first Pacific Paddle Games was an incredible event, and we're looking forward to see what next year has in store.