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World’s Top Paddleboarders Converge on Hawai’i

July 25th, 2014
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The desire to cross the ocean between two islands is rooted in the history of ancient Polynesian explorers. The thrill of adventure and the anticipation of a great challenge experienced by paddlers generations ago make up the common thread that runs through today’s athletes who compete in the Moloka’i-2-O’ahu Paddleboard World Championships (M2O).

This is how close the men's prone stock paddleboard race could be this year. Jack Bark and Zeb Walsh are each one-for-one in the victory circle. Who will it be this year? Photo: Kurt Hoy

This is how close the men's prone stock paddleboard race could be this year. Jack Bark and Zeb Walsh are each one-for-one in the victory circle. Who will it be this year? Photo: Kurt Hoy

 

On Sunday, July 27, hundreds of paddlers from around the world will gather on the shores of Moloka’i with their sights set on the island of O’ahu, ready to take on the Ka’iwi Channel. It's a 32-mile journey that involves a new category, stand- up paddle boarding - the world’s fastest growing water sport- in addition to the traditional paddle board division.

M2O Pic of the Week: The view from above provides a unique perspective as an armada of paddlers leave the shore of Moloka'i toward the open water of mid-channel. Photo: Erik Aeder.

M2O Pic of the Week: The view from above provides a unique perspective as an armada of paddlers leave the shore of Moloka'i toward the open water of mid-channel. Photo: Erik Aeder.

A sum of the key competitors:

Stand Up Paddleboard Division
Travis Grant is back to defend his hard fought victory last year in the unlimited stand-up paddleboard (SUP) division. The 31-year-old Australian surprised race fans who were focused on a battle between the sport’s top American paddlers, Kai Lenny and Connor Baxter. Grant slipped across the finish line in a time of 4 hours, 50 minute, 12 seconds. This year he leads what will again be the most hotly contested race at M2O, driven by famous Maui downwind experts.

After what seemed to be retirement from the solo SUP race, legendary big wave surfer Dave Kalama is back. Kalama is in outstanding race condition and is looking to reclaim his title from 2010 (4:54:15) before turning 50 this year.

Scott Gamble, 37, from O’ahu returns after finishing second last year (5:00:53). This will be the sixth solo SUP crossing for the talented race veteran.

Kody Kerbox, 20, from Maui is making his debut in the unlimited category and could be a contender after a strong second-place finish last year in the stock category (5:26:21) and a respectable finish at the Maui-2-Molokai race.

The women’s SUP division will depart the start line without its current champion, Australian Terrene Black.  Leading the charge this year are Hawaii’s Andrea Moller, Jenny Kalmbach and Talia Gangini-Decoite.

At 34, the Brazilian born Moller is in position to capture her third championship. Kalmbach, 30, won in 2009 and nearly added to that victory last year, but was edged out by Black to finish second in 5:45:22.  Under favorable conditions, Gangini-Decoite, 21, set the course record in her 2012 victory (4:55:12).

German surfing pro Sonni Hoenscheid, 33, returns after finishing third last year in a time of 5:52:07.

The stock SUP race will likely come down to a battle between the 2013 winner Travis Baptiste, 17, from Maui, and the former stock record holder from O’ahu, 28-year-old Andew Logreco.

Traditional (Prone) Division
Jordan Mercer already holds the women’s course record (5:22:31), which she set in 2011 during her attempt at the age of 17. This accomplishment makes her the youngest champion in the prone division to win in their first outing.
Now, at the age of 20, Australia’s Mercer could set the record for the most consecutive wins of any woman at M2O.

After repeat victories at M2O in 2012 and ‘13, Australian paddler Brad Gaul seemed unbeatable. Yet, in 2014 he has decided to step aside to paddle in a two-man team with legendary Australian surfer and friend Tom Carroll.

Australia’s Matt Poole, 26, is the odds-on favorite. Poole furnished one of the best results for a new paddler at M2O last year, finishing third in his second solo attempt (5:11:09).

Kanesa Duncan-Seraphin will log her 416th mile in competition at M2O. She is a trailblazer in women’s paddleboarding, having claimed eight world championship titles at M2O. After taking a year off from competition to become a new mother, the winningest woman in race history returns to complete her 13th crossing.

In the stock category, the men’s race will once again take shape around the head-to-head battle between Los Angeles paddler Jack Bark, 20, and Australian Zeb Walsh, 31. The two are evenly matched. Bark won in 2012 (5:28:16) with Walsh just a minute behind. Last year, Walsh came out on top, winning in a time of 5:46:13 with Bark trailing by six minutes.

Enter 18-year-old Australian Lachie Lansdown and the men’s stock prone race could get even more interesting. M2O race founder Mike Takahashi said Lansdown has a strong paddling style that reminds him of 10-time champion Jamie Mitchell. This will be Lansdown’s first solo attempt.

The women’s stock prone race will be led by Coronado, California lifeguard Carter Graves. At 21, Graves won the 2013 Catalina Classic. This is Graves’ first attempt at M2O.

Graves will be joined by Mavericks big wave surfer Savannah Shaughnessy, 25, who will test the strength that propels her into one of the world’s heaviest waves against one of the world’s most unpredictable channels.

Going for 20
Matt Sack is humble for a guy who made his career as a North Shore lifeguard, saving people caught in powerful surf. He is equally humble about the record he has established over the past 18 years. At 43, the traditional stock paddleboarder has finished M2O every year since the race’s inception.

Visit Molokai2Oahu.com for more race information and follow live updates on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ all found at Molokai2Oahu.

Catching up with singer Charice

July 14th, 2014
By



Charice

Charice

She's small in stature - but huge in talent and charisma. Dubbed by Oprah Winfrey as "the most talented girl in the world", Charice released her first international studio album, Charice, in 2010.

The Filipina singer was part of the cast of TV series Glee as Sunshine Corazon, and is also a judges of the Philippine version of The X Factor.

Charice and me

Charice and me

Now, the international sensation has a new album out this summer called Chapter 10. I was lucky enough to spend time with her talking about it. She told me it's a nod to her new identity and image; last June she announced publicly she is a lesbian.

"Since I came out it's like a message I want to send to everyone: This is the real Charice. It's something I've been wanting to record and sing. Some of the songs are covers and one is an original that my friends and I wrote. It's very personal," she explained. "The idea of the album is like the theme song of my life."

She stopped in Hawaii over the weekend to play concert dates on her Charice World Tour 2014. It's her third time in the Aloha State, and she says she always enjoys visiting the Islands. "I love Hawaii. The beaches, you can never go wrong. It's just a beautiful place," she reflected. She also feels right at home because "everyone looks Filipino too!"

What does she do on her spare time? "Shopping, ukulele. I just learned last night how to play the uke. I've always wanted to play and I got a gift, and I love it. I love to say I learned it here in Hawaii," she smiled.

Her tour goes from March to August - and she says it's going well so far. "The traveling is tiring but when you get to then place it always makes you feel good. The people who come to the show, they're amazing."

Her fans would certainly say the same about her!

Monk seal rehabilitation on Hawaii Island

July 11th, 2014
By



A new hospital on Hawaii Island will be opening its doors to its first patients this week. But it's not of the human variety.

Courtesy: NOAA

This seal is one of the seals being treated. Courtesy: NOAA

 

It's the world's premiere facility dedicated to saving endangered monk seals, which are only found in Hawaii, and one of the most endangered species in the world. The monk seal population has been in decline for several decades, and scientists say this is one of the most proactive active recovery programs of any program in the world.

This seal is one of the seals being treated. Courtesy: NOAA.

This seal is one of the seals being treated. Courtesy: NOAA.

Rachel Sprague, PhD is the Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Coordinator from NOAA Fisheries Service. She talked to me about the first four patients. "There are two weaned pups from Pearls & Hermes Reef, and two juveniles from Midway Atoll and French Frigate Shoals."

They are all malnourished- victims of a population struggling largely because of human impact- tangled in fishing lines or injured from swallowing plastic. They've been in a prolonged decline over the last year.

This seal is not one of the seals being treated. It's an example of a malnourished seal. Courtesy: NOAA

This seal is not one of the seals being treated. It's an example of a malnourished seal. Courtesy: NOAA

Every summer, NOAA sends  a group of scientists to the Northwest Hawaiian Islands to monitor the population, disentangle seals, and perform a number of other recovery activities.This year they were able to identify a number of younger seals in great need of help.

Sprague explains, "Up until now we've run into a lot of seals, particularly in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, that are starving and that we think are going to die and we've had to turn our backs and walk away from them because we haven't had the facility to care for them."

Now, they will be the first patients at a new hospital in Kailua-Kona called Ke Kai Ola or The Healing Sea. It was built just to help save this species.

This seal is being treated at the hospital. All photos were collected under the following permits:  NMFS Permit No. 16632-00 and No. 932-1905-01/MA-009526-1. Courtesy: NOAA.

This seal is being treated at the hospital. All photos were collected under the following permits: NMFS Permit No. 16632-00 and No. 932-1905-01/MA-009526-1. Courtesy: NOAA.

Sprague continues, "This is a brand new hospital built by the Marine Mammal Center out of California. This is a $3.2 million facility built by one of the premiere marine mammal rehabilitation organizations in the world, and they built it here specifically to help us with monk seal recovery."

She believes it will greatly impact the population recovery, but even so, it will be years before the seals are able to get off the endangered list.

There are 200 monk seals in the main Hawaiian Islands and 900 in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The  seals living in the main islands are experiencing a population increase. Those living in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are seeing a population decrease. In order for the seals to make it off the federally designated endangered species list, there needs to be 2,900 seals total.

Doctors and volunters will feed the seals high protein fish shakes because the animals are malnourished and would have died if left alone. In two months the seals will be released back to their home. "What's going to be the most exciting is having them back in the wild where they belong, contributing to their species," notes Sprague.

How can you help? Scientists say if you see the seals at the beach, leave them alone. If you're fishing, properly discard any debris.

Also, NOAA has a 24-hour hotline that you can call to report an injured seal. That's 888-256-9840, or you can e-mail them at Pifsc.monksealsighting@noaa.gov.

Learn more about monk seals and you can help them at marinemammalcenter.org/hms.

 

 

Gratitude today

June 4th, 2014
By



Hi everyone!

Today, I'm grateful for:

A husband who wakes me up with a hug and laughter every morning and fixes our family breakfast.

A daughter who still wants to pick me flowers. A weed was never more beautiful than from her hands to my heart.

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New friends.

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Trini & Audra

Old friends.

Jen & me

Jen & me

Lea

Lea

Wonderful connections.

What about you?

Kailua clothing shop celebrates 5th anniversary

June 2nd, 2014
By



Reduce, reuse, refashion - that's the philosophy that Lilian McDonnell uses to guide the direction of her Kailua part-boutique, part consignment store. It's one that apparently works, as the charming corner store on Hekili Street celebrates its fifth anniversary this summer.

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As you would expect, the shop offers high-end consignment, such as ladies designer suits, accessories, shoes, and handbags - but the store also buys new items from local designers or from other stores going out of business, and offers them at affordable prices. You'll find locally made earrings, necklaces, art and aloha wear in between fancy Chanel suits.

McDonnell explains in her delightful Spanish accent that her store offers women a solution to shopping in an eco-friendly way. For this anniversary, McDonnell is offering many items at 50 - 75% off.

"In fact," she gestures, "I just bought out the rest of the inventory at a boutique at Aloha Tower that closed. I have shoes, ball gowns, jewelry, lingerie, swim suits, and bags - all new, and all for sale."

Here's a peek:

Terani dress, Reg. $439.99, now $50

Terani dress, reg. $439.99, now $50

Mary Frances bag, reg. $286, now $50

Mary Frances bag, reg. $286, now $50

 

Swanson bags, reg. starting at $40, now starting at $20.

Swanson bags, reg. starting at $40, now starting at $20

 

Cosabella swim suit, reg. $140, now $60

Cosabella swim suit, reg. $140, now $60

Juicy Couture bracelet, reg. $158, now $50

Juicy Couture bracelet, reg. $158, now $50

 

Betsy Johnson ring, reg. $78, now $30

Betsy Johnson ring, reg. $78, now $30

Ballgown brands include Cinderella, Aspeed, Chicas, and Fiesta. Lingere labels include Cosabella, Honeydew, and Paul Frank. The sale lasts through the end of June!

Kailua Verde, 111 Hekili St., Suite 101, (808) 261-6190