Recently, there were a couple of different competitions with prize money available for the top competitors, including the Da Hui 4th of July paddleboard race, the Kanaka Ikaika series, and the Maui Jim Ocean Fest. The Maui Jim Ocean Fest, located on Maui at Kaanapali Beach, included swimming, prone and stand up paddle boarding, one-man canoe paddling, and surf ski. I competed with the open men since there was no age group available for teenagers.
Day one was strictly one-discipline races, and by the end of the day I was ranked top 10 with the Aussies taking over the top two positions. On day two, pro stand up surfer/racer Zane Schweitzer and I battled our way to top five, and by the end of the day it came down to the Waterman challenge, which included every discipline and was clocked at around a 20-minute race, starting with the stand up paddleboard, Zane's strongest leg.
The whistle blew and we were off. After getting smoked on the stand up, I made up ground in the swim and then the OC-1, but it was the surf ski leg next, and Zane and I were far from comfortable in this new craft. We both headed out off the beach, Zane attacking and getting a lead on me, while my plan was to just stay in the surf ski and not flip. That worked out for me because even though I was behind, I was able to make the pass to secure my position over Zane, and then seal the deal with the prone leg next.
I placed 4th in the men's division for the Maui Jim Ocean Fest, and was 1st overall in both the Junior and Men categories for the Da Hui and Kanaka Ikaika races. From those events, I donated 100% of my winnings to Make-A-Wish Hawaii, or around $1,300.
Make-A-Wish Hawaii is all about spreading aloha, and that’s something that is hard to come by these days, so when it came down to who I would like to donate to it was a no brainer for me. It's amazing to see the smiles going from ear to ear on the wish kids and it's truly something special and something I would like every wish kid to experience.
We all get to go have fun in the ocean and have countless memories with amazing people, but we need to give wish kids that opportunity as well, because every one deserves to have their special day.
- Hunter, Kids for Wish Kids Donor